The Surgeon Minute

An Enlightened Lift – The Structural Breast Lift

An Enlightened Lift – The Structural Breast Lift

If your breasts don’t look the way they did 5, 10 or even 15 years ago, you aren’t alone. Breasts change through the years, often due to life events like pregnancy, breastfeeding and weight fluctuations. However, there is a way to restore breast appearance using a revolutionary technique. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Q. Cook explains the procedure he developed called the structural breast lift.

The Structural Breast Lift

It’s often true that some of the greatest inspiration in life happens when we may not expect it. It was during a medical conference in Europe almost two decades ago that Dr. John Q. Cook came across a technique that has since been a staple in his plastic surgery practice in Chicago, Illinois. “I was at a meeting in Paris and there was an Italian plastic surgeon who presented a technique and I was just astounded by his results,” recalls Dr. Cook. Cook says he was so blown away by the procedure that he immediately began to refine it for his own patients. “I was so interested in what he was able to do that I took the time to figure out the operation, and I have been doing it for over a decade now.”

It didn’t take long until Cook mastered the procedure. Cook developed the technique into the structural breast lift, or structural mastopexy. According to Cook, it’s used to “restore tone, position and fullness to sagging breasts.” In other words, an enlightened breast lift.

How The Structural Breast Lift Works

Age, childbirth, breastfeeding and weight loss can all take a toll on the breasts. Breasts can lose their fullness and begin to sag, causing the supporting skin to stretch. Many women no longer like the appearance of their breasts and want to feel ‘whole’ again.

Normal Breast Lift - Dr. Cook.


The goal of breast lift surgery is to rejuvenate the breasts and restore lost volume. Dr. Cook says with a ‘typical’ breast lift, the skin is used to give the breast it’s new position. “With the normal breast lift, basically you’re relying on the skin to hold the breast in it’s new position,” he shares. “The problem is the skin of a breast that’s descended has lost a lot of its tone – so you are relying on a weak anchor to hold the breast in place.”

He says the top of the breast often hollows out, so a breast implant is used to fill the void – which not every patient wants. “So a lot of surgeons do fill that void with an implant, but it’s going to make the breast bigger and some patients don’t want that,” details Cook. He adds that some women don’t want breast implants. Cook says the structural breast lift avoids the problem of the conventional lift, because of the technique that’s used. “What I’m essentially able to do with a structural breast lift is take the lower segment of the breast in the middle of the breast and release it in a way, that I can tuck it up under the breast and anchor it high up, and that then gives the volume, just like a breast implant, but without an implant.”

Structural breast lift with Dr. Cook.

The Breast Bonus

Cook can outline for his patients several reasons why he thinks the structural breast lift is an improvement over the conventional lift. He says avoiding the use of a breast implant is high on his list, along with a natural look. “It gives a nice fullness in the upper portion of the breast with natural breast tissue and the breast is anchored at multiple levels,” Cook explains. “Because of that you have deep structural anchoring, so the skin is really a minor actor in the drama.” He says there’s also minimal scarring, which is a big bonus. “The scar is relatively limited.”

Structural breast lift before and after.


“The breast lift surgery can be life-changing, restoring confidence for women who might be embarrassed by the look of their breasts,” shares Cook. “There’s a lot of patients who when they have a breast descended they hate it because it’s out to the side, so we can make it compact and narrow again.” He says after the structural breast lift, many of his patients look so good, the results are mistaken for something else. “A lot of patients remark that they go to their physical and they say, ‘You’ve had breast implants.’ Well, no they haven’t, it’s natural tissue, which is always the best!”

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