Awake Breast Lift

Conveniently located to serve the areas of New Jersey

awake breast lift, Dr. Michael Gartner

An awake breast lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure that reshapes the breasts and lifts the nipples to a more youthful-looking position on the mound. The patient is not under general anesthesia but instead receives oral sedation and local anesthetic to keep them comfortable. Awake breast lift surgery allows patients to achieve their dream breast contour without the negative effects that general anesthesia can cause.

Dr. Michael Gartner is one of the few double board-certified plastic surgeons in the US who performs awake breast lift procedures. With over 20 years of experience performing awake breast lifts, and a wealth of knowledge, he performs cosmetic surgery of the breast, face, and body using meticulous techniques and stringent safety precautions.

Schedule your private consultation at Gartner Plastic Surgery and Laser Center today by filling out this convenient form or calling us at:

(201) 546-1890: Paramus, NJ

(212) 350-9998: New York City, NY

All About Awake Breast Lift Surgery

As women age and experience bodily changes such as pregnancy or weight loss, the skin around the breasts can develop ptosis. Defined as sagging, ptosis often leads to a flattening of the breast mound and downturned nipples. The skin stretches around the full breast contour, and if that fullness decreases rapidly, this skin does not have enough time to shrink to the new shape. The breast tissue shifts to fill the lower pole, leaving the upper pole deflated and extended. An optimal solution to ptosis is breast lift surgery. (1)

Referred to as mastopexy, this procedure safely and carefully removes excess skin and reinforces breast tissue to reshape the chest. Dr. Gartner offers the option to receive local instead of general anesthesia for a smoother surgery and recovery period.

Benefits of Local Anesthetic vs. General Anesthesia

Traditionally, plastic surgery procedures utilize general anesthesia to keep patients completely unaware and comfortable. However, recent trends have led to patients preferring “awake” procedures that require local anesthesia and oral sedation instead. This allows patients to respond and communicate with their medical team during surgery. For older patients, choosing local anesthetic can curb fears of deep sedation and postoperative delirium. (2)

This option opens the world of cosmetic procedures to a larger and more diverse group of patients. Dr. Gartner takes the necessary steps to make sure your awake breast lift is comfortable and safe. He administers preemptive anesthesia before the start of surgery. By infiltrating the body with pain medication and numbing solution prior to the first incision, he effectively curbs discomfort before it can even develop. Patients often experience smoother recoveries and less overall discomfort using this technique.

Benefits of Awake Breast Lift Surgery

The general benefits of breast lift surgery are as follows:

  • Corrects breast ptosis
  • Removes stretched and lax skin
  • Slight decrease in breast size
  • Lifted, rejuvenated breast appearance
  • Youthful nipple position
  • Provides long-lasting results
  • Easily combined with other breast procedures

Local anesthesia offers many benefits to patients including:

  • Functioning airway reflexes
  • Normal cardiovascular functioning
  • Reduced nausea and/or vomiting
  • Decreased surgical risks
  • General convenience
  • Low risk of hematoma
  • No need to fast beforehand
  • No hospital admission
  • Reduced surgical costs
  • Easier recovery

Ideal Candidates

Awake breast lift surgery is appropriate for patients with moderate to severe breast sagging. They have a desire to rejuvenate their breasts without increasing their size. Those with sagging or stretched breasts, enlarged or downturned nipples, and excess skin collection around the lower breast pole can benefit from this procedure. Candidates should be in good overall health with reasonable expectations for their outcomes. To qualify, they should be non-smokers or willing to quit for a period of time before and after surgery as these products negatively affect healing.

To see if you qualify for an awake breast lift, please schedule a private consultation with Dr. Gartner at his New York or New Jersey location today.

Personal Consultation with Dr. Gartner

At Gartner Plastic Surgery and Laser Center, we offer private consultations for each surgical patient. Dr. Gartner will meet with you to discuss your candidacy for an awake breast lift. He will perform a physical examination of your breasts and inquire about your medical history. This appointment will allow you time to ask questions about the surgical process, additional treatments, and the advantages of awake anesthesia. If you are a good candidate for awake breast lift surgery, he will create a customized treatment plan that will meet your cosmetic desires. A member of our staff will help you schedule your surgery at the end of this consultation.

awake breast lift, Dr. Michael Gartner


There are certain steps to take before your awake breast lift procedure. Please follow these closely for optimal safety and results:

  • Avoid blood-thinning medications
  • Refrain from tobacco and nicotine use
  • Avoid certain herbal supplements
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Stay hydrated
  • Schedule time off of work
  • Prepare your home for recovery
  • Pick up new prescriptions from Dr. Gartner
  • Ask a trusted adult to drive you and assist with your recovery

Awake Breast Lift Procedure

Dr. Gartner begins the process by administering preemptive anesthetic well before the surgery to ensure proper numbing. This provides long-term comfort and pain reduction even after the procedure is complete. Next, he measures and marks the treatment area with a surgical pen to map out his approach.

After administering local anesthetic and oral sedation, he places his incisions. There are three main incision patterns for mastopexy:

  • Circumareolar: The incision extends around the outer edge of the areola. If Dr. Gartner reduces the size of the nipple-areolar complex, this incision creates a more proportionate shape for the patient.
  • Vertical: Also referred to as a “lollipop” breast lift, this pattern includes the circumareolar incision as well as one that extends down toward the breast crease.
  • Inverted-T: Also known as an “anchor” incision, this pattern includes both circumareolar and vertical incisions while adding a horizontal incision along the breast crease.

Dr. Gartner chooses the incision pattern based on the degree of breast ptosis and your personal preferences. After making his incisions, he removes excess skin and places internal sutures to secure the remaining breast tissue into a natural shape. He then sutures the skin and repositions the nipple in a lifted position. Finally, he places a compression garment around the chest to provide support and curb swelling. An awake breast lift typically takes around 3 hours to complete.

Recovery & Results

The healing period after an awake breast lift is often shorter and less debilitating than one using traditional general anesthesia. Dr. Gartner makes sure to administer enough local anesthetic to keep you comfortable for up to 10 hours after your procedure. Any residual pain may require prescription or over-the-counter pain medications. As the sedation wears off, you will not feel nauseous or disorientated. As soon as it is safe, we discharge you and you are free to go home to recover. Keep your compression garment on at all times until Dr. Gartner says otherwise. You may experience swelling and bruising during the first couple of weeks of recovery, but this will subside quickly as you heal.

The results of a breast lift are immediately visible. Your breast contour may be overly high at first, but the chest settles with time. As your swelling subsides, your breasts will remain in their new youthful-looking, and structured position. This procedure corrects sagging and lifts the breasts for long-lasting results that are completely apparent after about 1 year of healing.

Corresponding & Complementary Procedures

Patients often combine a breast lift procedure with a breast augmentation to increase the size and projection of the upper pole. Augmentation using implants or fat transfer can balance breast shape and size. During this procedure, Dr. Gartner places a silicone breast implant beneath the breast tissue (above or below the pectoral muscle) to add volume to the area.

If using fat transfer, he can contour other areas of the body to improve your physique while decreasing stubborn fat deposits. With liposuction, he removes fat from the abdomen, thighs, or flanks and transfers it into the breasts. Depending on which method you prefer, he can advise you on combining these surgeries during your consultation.

If you are curious about other cosmetic surgeries, read our blog to learn more.

Cost of Awake Breast Lift in New Jersey and NYC

The cost of an awake breast lift varies between patients, however, the use of local anesthesia greatly reduces the total price of this procedure. Dr. Gartner offers a comprehensive cost breakdown during your private consultation. To schedule yours, please fill out this form or call the location closest to you at:

(201) 546-1890: Paramus, NJ

(212) 350-9998: New York City, NY


Is an awake breast lift safer than one using general anesthesia?

Though general anesthesia is widely believed and proven to be safe, some patients may have a better experience using topical anesthetic. General anesthesia causes uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, blurred vision, and dizziness. Staying awake but sedated during a breast lift allows the patient to be present yet still comfortable and completely painless throughout the surgery. In other words, both are considered safe and have separate pros and cons.

What if I prefer to be asleep during a breast lift?

That is completely fine and understandable! Plastic surgeons routinely perform procedures with patients under general anesthesia. Talk to your surgeon about your options to determine which one works best for you.

How long do the results of a breast lift last?

The results of a breast lift can be long-lasting, but they are influenced by factors such as the natural aging process, pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and gravity. To maintain the results, it is important to maintain a stable weight and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Are breast lift scars noticeable?

The incisions made during breast lift surgery are carefully placed to minimize the visibility of scars. Over time, incision lines tend to fade and become less noticeable.


  1. Ramanadham SR, Rose Johnson A. Breast Lift with and without Implant: A Synopsis and Primer for the Plastic Surgeon. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open. 2020;8(10):e3057. doi:
  2. Seify H. Awake Plastic Surgery Procedures: the Use of a Sufentanil Sublingual Tablet to Improve Patient Experience. Aesthetic Surgery Journal Open Forum. 2022;4. doi: