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Dr. Brooke R. Seckel

Vertical Breast Lift the Best Lift

Many of my Boston patients are reluctant to have a mastopexy or breast lift because they do not want to have the long scar underneath the breast. The vertical breast lift is a newer breast lifting technique which has several advantages and does not create the long scar underneath the breasts associated with the traditional mastopexy:

Vertical Mastopexy or Breast Lift with no scar underneath the breast
Vertical Mastopexy or Breast Lift scar with no scar underneath the breast


The traditional breast lift is called a Wise pattern breast lift, which causes a scar around the areola down the front of the breast with a long-curved scar underneath the breast.  This is called an Anchor lift because the scar has the shape of a traditional marine anchor:

Wise Pattern Mastopexy leaves long scar under breast
A Wise pattern breast leaves a long scar underneath the breast

Advantages of the Vertical Breast Lift

When compared to the traditional Wise pattern mastopexy, the vertical breast lift’s scar does not extend into the fold underneath the breast. In addition, the vertical breast lift lifts the entire breast gland to a higher position on the chest wall. This provides increased fullness above the nipple areola, and a much more youthful breast appearance. The traditional breast lift does not actually lift the gland but tightens the skin underneath the gland to raise the breast.  In time this older method results in the breast sagging again within a few months.

Blood supply and tissue health

The vertical breast lift is a safer breast lifting technique because it provides a stronger blood supply to the nipple areola. The traditional Wise Pattern technique provides blood supply from below the nipple areola, which when interrupted can result in tissue loss or nipple areola death. Vertical breast lifting allows for a stronger supply for blood to the nipple areola tissue, which significantly reduces the risk of complication versus the traditional method.

Increased safety when included with a breast augmentation

The benefits of increased blood supply with the vertical breast lift will provide a much safer procedure for patients who elect to combine their procedure with breast augmentation (implants). When a Wise pattern Mastopexy is done with implants patients may experience a reduced rate of blood supply which can result in tissue loss of the nipple and areola.

What is the indication for a Vertical Breast Lift?

Mammary Ptosis or sagging of the breast is the indication for Mastopexy or breast lift. There are 3 grades of mammary ptosis:

Grades of mammary ptosis or sagging of the breast
The three grades of mammary ptosis or sagging of the breast
  • Grades 2 and 3 Mammary Ptosis – Patients with grade 2 and grade 3 mammary ptosis, that is when the nipple is below the level of the fold under the breast, will likely need a vertical mastopexy to properly lift the breast

How can I test to see if I have grade 2 or 3 mammary ptosis?

  • The Pencil Test – Place a pencil in the fold underneath the breast. If the pencil does not drop to the floor, then you may have grade 2 or grade 3 mammary ptosis and may need a breast lift
  • See your plastic surgeon for an exam – The pencil test can be falsely positive in grade 1 mammary ptosis and not indicate the need for a vertical breast lift – your plastic surgeon can make a proper diagnosis

What causes sagging of the breast?


Post pregnancy and breast feeding

The breast gland enlarges during pregnancy and stretches the breast skin. After breast feeding the breast gland shrinks and becomes smaller but the skin does not tighten. The result is a smaller breast lying within a larger skin envelope and the result is a sagging breast. This happens more frequently with excessive weight gain during and after pregnancy.

Rapid or significant weight loss

A breast contains a significant amount of fat. With significant weight gain the breast becomes fuller due to increase of adipose tissue. With significant weight loss the breast gland shrinks but the skin envelope remains large and the breast sags or drops into the larger breast skin envelope.

A superior breast lift technique

The new vertical breast lift or vertical mastopexy is a significant improvement in breast lifting techniques. Not only is this technique safer with better blood supply to the nipple areola but also avoids the long scar under the breast seen with the traditional Wise pattern breast lift.

In addition, this newer technique actually lifts the breast gland to a position higher on the chest which gives the breast more fullness above the nipple areola.

Schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon

As with any surgical procedure, it is important that you are examined and consulted with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures that your surgeon meets the high standards of safety and surgical skills required by the society.

Contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Seckel to learn more about the vertical breast lift and find out if you are a candidate for this procedure.


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