Breast Lift

What is a breast lift?

A breast lift is a surgical procedure that lifts, tightens and reshapes your breasts to make them look perkier and more youthful. It can also be used to ensure breast balancing. The main aim of the procedure is to improve the appearance of your breasts. You might be thinking about doing this because your breasts have changed due to things like weight loss, pregnancy and childbirth, or simply the effects of gravity over time.


Who is it for?

The reasons for thinking about a breast lift are entirely personal. Some of them may include:


  • Wanting to lift and reshape your breasts that have lost volume and shape.
  • You have nipples that point downwards, or are below the natural crest of your breast.
  • Your breasts are elongated or tubular in appearance.
  • Wanting to reverse changes caused by pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Reconstruction or nature sees one breast sit markedly lower than the other, and you wish to see your breasts balanced.


To gain the best outcome from a breast lift, it is best that you:

  • Are sure your breasts have finished developing.
  • Are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Don’t smoke or have recently quit (smoking impacts recovery from this procedure).



What happens during a breast lift?

Before surgery

The first step is to make an appointment to see Dr McMillan.

You will meet Dr McMillan at his private rooms in Fernbrae House, Dunedin or in Invercargill to discuss your personal goals, and talk through the different options for a breast lift. This is an important step; not only working out your expectations but also developing your relationship with Dr McMillan as you work together to achieve your goals.

A breast lift can be performed at the same time as other cosmetic procedures like breast reduction, breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). Discuss these options with Dr McMillan at the time of your consultation to decide if this is right for you.

Once you have decided on what needs to be done, a date will be booked for you to have your breast lift at Mercy Hospital.

During surgery

The procedure will involve having a general anaesthetic. Once you are asleep, a surgical cut will be made around your areola (the darker area around the nipple) to try and ensure this area maintains sensitivity. A cut then goes vertically down the breast and underneath, following the curve of the breast.

Any excess skin is then removed before reshaping the now elevated and balanced breast. The areola will have moved into a new, higher position and may be reduced if necessary.

If you have decided on also having a breast augmentation during your breast lift, then implants will be inserted during this time.

Stitches are placed along the surgical incision lines, and around the areola to bring the breast into its new position. You will likely have small drains placed under your breasts to remove any excess fluid over your hospital stay.

Your breasts will have dressings applied and be supported with a surgical bra.

Recovery process

The length of stay in hospital after your breast lift will depend very much on your own operation, but is usually 2-3 days.

Any drains and bandages will be removed prior to your departure from the hospital, but the surgical bra will be your friend for about 2 weeks after surgery while swelling and bruising goes down.

Although movement will be essential during your recovery, there will be a limit to your bending, lifting and exercise for the first few weeks. Depending on the type of work you do, you will need between 2-4 weeks’ time off for recovery.

As the surgery site begins to heal, your ability to move and exercise will increase, and at 4-6 weeks it is expected you will be back to normal.


Expected outcome

A breast lift gives you a relatively good immediate sense of the future appearance of your new breasts. As soon as you wake up from surgery, the overall size and shape will be apparent, even underneath the dressings.

However, it is expected that around 6 weeks after surgery, when most of the swelling will have gone down, you will have a really good idea of what your new breasts will look like.

You will have some scars from this procedure on your breasts. They will fade over time and at 6 months after your breast lift, the final results will be clear.


Risks and complications

As with all surgical procedures there are risks and potential complications with the breast lift procedure. Dr McMillan will discuss all of these with you during your consultation and answer your questions.



As breast lift surgery is not funded, there is a cost. The exact figure will depend on a range of factors but generally the cost is between $12,000 and $15,000 including hospital and anaesthetic costs.


Contact us

Start the journey to the new you; get in contact to make an initial consultation with Dr McMillan about breast lift.

Get in Touch

Contact Dr McMillan to make an appointment.

Dr Will McMillan Plastic Surgery in Dunedin

Useful Links