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Breast Lift

Bay Area Breast Lift in San Francisco with Dr. Leonard Gray

Pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, heredity, and other factors may contribute to drooping or sagging breasts. While this condition can be challenging to deal with both mentally and physically, several types of breast lift surgery can significantly improve the breasts’ shape and position by excising skin and repositioning tissues. Breast lift surgery can provide lifted, shaped, and more youthful-looking breasts, along with elevated self-confidence.

model posing showing upper body curves

Dr. Leonard Gray of Bay Area Plastic Surgery is a double board-certified breast lift and breast augmentation expert. He has performed countless successful breast lift operations over the years from his San Francisco plastic surgery practice. Dr. Gray values patient education and will help you to decide which breast lift option best aligns with your aesthetic goals.

Learn more about breast lifts in San Francisco and the Bay Area by calling 415 434 8858 or filling out our online form!

What is a Breast Lift?

Breast lift surgery can reduce sagging, add shape, and raise the position of the nipples and the darker area surrounding the nipples (areolae). This can be achieved through several procedures using skin tightening, skin removal and suturing, and breast tissue repositioning. The areola size can also be reduced during the operation to keep them proportioned to the newly shaped breasts.

Breast lifts are not meant to add significant volume to the breasts. However, you can choose to include implants with your breast lift procedure, and a Vertical Breast lift with Tissue Transposition may also add some fullness to the upper breast using natural breast tissue. 

What Can a Breast Lift Address?

Breast lifts correct several different issues, including:

  • Sagging, flat, or elongated breasts
  • Downward pointing nipples
  • Stretched or large areolae
  • Breast asymmetry

What are the Benefits of a Breast Lift?

Each patient will experience unique benefits from their procedure. That said, breast lift patients typically enjoy:

  • A lifted breast appearance
  • Repositioned nipples
  • Tighter skin
  • More fullness (with a vertical lift or added breast implant)
  • A boost in self-image and confidence

To see how a breast lift will benefit you, you must first speak with Dr. Gray in a consultation. Here, he will help decide which breast lift method will help you reach your goals.

Stunning natural results

Dr. Gray’s training, precision, and personalized treatment plans provide genuinely outstanding results. Want to see for yourself? Follow the link below to view before and after pictures of Dr. Gray’s actual patients.

What are the Different Types of Breast Lifts?

There are various types of breast lift surgeries that work for certain patients. Despite popular belief, this surgery is not a “one size fits all” solution. Dr. Gray maintains expertise in several breast lift methods that can be tailored to meet each individual’s aesthetic preferences and goals.

Dr. Gray’s breast lift methods include:

Full Lifts

For patients who have moderate to severe breast sagging, nipples pointing downward, or lower breast stretching out, Dr. Gray offers two different full lifting methods: Vertical and Inferior Pedicle.

For those who want a full lift, less scarring, improved breast shape, and less risk of recurrent droopiness or “bottoming out,” a vertical lift is ideal. This option is Dr. Gray’s favorite lift for this patient subset. It can be performed with or without implants of varying sizes. Dr Gray can use tissue transposition using the patients own breast tissue to give upper pole fullness or an implant for increased fullness.  Dr. Gray can also add liposuction to the procedure for a breast reduction.

The vertical lift begins with removing excess skin from around the areola to resize it and lift it to a higher position.  If the patient has chosen the implant option, the augmentation portion is then performed.  Following this, a section of breast tissue in the lower pole of the breast is excised.  The breast tissue called “pillars” are then sewn to one another.  This gives internal support that is long lasting like an internal bra.  It also greatly improves breast shape.  If a patient has decided not to use an implant then the lower pole breast tissue is mobilized with its blood supply intact and transposed superiorly under the breast and secured in place.  This gives upper pole fullness without an implant. 

This method effectively reshapes the breast and provides breast fullness whether the patient chooses tissue transposition or the implant option. Scarring will be less than with the inferior pedicle. With the vertical lift there is only scarring around the areola and down. There is no large scar underneath the breast.

In the inferior pedicle technique, the patient is marked in a keyhole design. The areola is made smaller and skin is excised in the lower portion of the breast to the marks that have been made.  Breast tissue is sometimes removed with this breast lift but sometimes it is not. When this approach is used for breast reduction a large amount of breast tissue is removed. The areola is then repositioned and skin is sutured together.  There is no internal suturing of breast tissue for long lasting support. Sometimes a Galaflex mesh is used to help decrease bottoming out or stretching over time.

This procedure only alters the skin to lift the breast. This lift does work for the right patient, but there is a risk of the breast eventually bottoming out from beneath the tightened skin over time. There will also be a more prominent scar underneath the breast.

Benelli Lift

We also see patients who also have not experienced excessive drooping of the breasts but who would like to reduce the size of their large areolas. Dr. Gray can perform the Benelli lift, also called a donut lift or areola reduction surgery, with or without implants although it is most often performed with an implant. In this operation, the areola is precisely marked with a circular tool.  An incision is made on this mark. A second circular incision is made along the outside edge of the large areola. Redundant areola is then removed. A “purse string” of the permanent suture is then placed along the outside edge cinched down and tied so that the outside edge is now the same size as the new areola. The skin is then sutured closed with dissolvable buried sutures. 

The Benelli lift does provide some moderate lifting, as the newly sized nipple will lift up to the top edge of where the larger areola was. However, Dr. Gray does not recommend this lift to those with more severe breast drooping and who need a more dynamic lift. Scarring with a Benelli lift will only be a circular one along the new areola’s edges and where the excess skin was removed, meaning it will be minimal and easily concealed with a bra or swimwear. For many patients, the scar should eventually fade and begin to blend in with the areola.

The recovery time needed after the Benelli Lift procedure is typically one week. However, strenuous physical activities should be avoided for at least 6 weeks after the procedure to avoid skin damage and the stitches’ tearing.


Some patients visit us because their nipples have begun to sag just a few centimeters. These patients often have not experienced excessive drooping or stretching or developed very large areolas, they would like to raise their nipple to a more aesthetically pleasing position. For these patients, Dr. Gray recommends BodyTite skin tightening.

BodyTite works with either local anesthesia and oral medications or full anesthesia, depending on the patient. Dr. Gray will numb the entire breast by injecting a numbing solution through a small puncture on the tip of the nipple. He will then insert a portion of BodyTite’s applicator under the skin. As a bi-polar radiofrequency heater, BodyTite uses precise energy below the skin with temperature monitoring above and below the skin. It operates at a safe yet effective temperature. BodyTite’s internal temperature monitor keeps the device ten degrees below the safety limit and automatically shuts off if the temperature rises to this mark. Dr. Gray will address each quadrant of the breast to ensure the results are balanced and optimal. Lastly, Dr. Gray will use Dermaflex glue to close the puncture site on the nipple.

Many patients see an immediate skin shrinkage of about 15%, but this percentage often increases to about 40% between about four months to a year. Many studies indicate that skin tightening will continue for about 1.25 years. This device allows for the nipple to lift roughly two centimeters on average without the need for more invasive surgery. Patients will likely have some bruising and swelling for two weeks, but downtime is generally minimal with BodyTite. Many patients return to work within a few days after this procedure.

Dr. Leonard Gray

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Instilling Beauty
Inspiring Confidence

Dr. Gray is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience conducting surgical procedures of the breast, body, and face. His emphasis on patient education and attention to detail have made him the top choice for plastic surgery in the Bay Area. Dr. Gray invites you to meet with him for a friendly and informative consultation.

What Can I Expect During my Breast Lift Recovery?

Because there are multiple breast lift methods, recovery timelines will not look the same for each patient. Less invasive methods, such as BodyTite, will have much less recovery time than a more involved breast lift that requires tissue and skin removal.

You may be ready to return to work after about a week after a surgical procedure; however, to help your body heal correctly, you should refrain from your full daily activities for at least 2 or 3 weeks. Wait at least 6 weeks before more taxing exercise. Avoid pushing, pulling, lifting, or any other strenuous exercises during this time.

Dr. Gray will discuss your expected recovery timeline when you have a good idea of your breast lift plan.

Learn More About Breast Lifts with Dr. Leonard Gray

If you are interested in seeing if a breast lift is the right procedure for you, you are invited to reach out to Bay Area Plastic Surgery for a consultation. Here, you will have a one on one consultation with Dr. Gray in which you can ask questions, learn more about the procedure, and see how a breast lift can improve your life both mentally and physically.

Dr. Gray and Bay Area Plastic Surgery invite you to contact us online or call 415-434-8858 to schedule your San Francisco breast lift consultation today.

Bay Area Breast Lift FAQ

Despite common misconceptions, lollipop lifts are not vertical lifts. Lollipop lifts only focus on skin and do not address breast tissue as vertical lifts do. Dr. Gray has found that vertical lifts are much more effective for most patients in that they improve the breast shape and provide significant internal support. However, there are some patients who would benefit from a lollipop skin lift.

The cost of your Bay Area breast lift will depend on the type of procedure you choose, the operation’s complexity, and many other factors. Dr. Gray and his team can provide you with a detailed estimate after you have spoken with him in consultation.

During pregnancy, your breasts engorge and continue to be like this during breastfeeding. After breastfeeding, the breast decrease in size. Most women don’t need a lift after breastfeeding but some do. If a patient gets pregnant after a breast lift, it’s possible that they would need a second breast lift but it’s also possible that they would not.

Yes, many patients who want to both lift and add significant volume to their breasts can opt for a breast augmentation with lift, which you can learn more about by following the link. Dr. Gray can also add some fullness to the upper part of the breast in a vertical breast lift with tissue transposition if an implant is not wanted. He will discuss whether a breast lift, breast augmentation, a combination of both, or another cosmetic breast surgery is best for you during your consultation.