Every woman's breasts are unique in shape and size, lending a distinctive body shape. Sagging breasts are among the leading aesthetic concerns related to a woman's physique. It's an issue that can be treated using an array of methods, from surgery to non-invasive procedures. Let's delve into the solutions that doctors and industry experts stand by.
What causes sagging breasts?
Sagging breasts occur when skin, connective tissue, and the ligaments that uphold the breasts lose their structural integrity due to factors such as aging, fluctuations in weight, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. This reduction in skin elasticity can lead to a decline in firmness and potentially, a surplus of skin.
A considerable number of women encounter the issue of sagging breasts, medically known as breast ptosis. If your breasts aren't positioned as they once were, take comfort in knowing that you're in good company. The severity of breast ptosis is categorised by plastic surgeons, with the most extreme stage identified by the nipple being situated at the lowest point of the breast; even such severe ptosis is relatively common.
Contrary to urban myths, physicians affirm that wearing a bra does not induce the sagging of breasts. Bras provide support to the breasts and breast tissues and may help in delaying or averting sagging by controlling the ligaments and skin from overstretching. It's not a foolproof solution, but opting to go braless, particularly for those with larger breasts, may potentially expedite the sagging process.
Surgical procedures to lift saggy breasts
The only enduring and effective measure to restore the previous firmness of drooping breasts is plastic surgery. The composition of breasts includes fat, glandular tissue, and ligaments, but no muscle. Therefore, although exercises targeting the chest, such as bench press, can enhance the muscles underneath, giving breasts a slightly bigger appearance, they can't truly lift the breast tissue.
Here are some surgical procedures supported by surgeons for their outstanding results.
Breast lift: Also known as mastopexy, this procedure eliminates surplus skin while shaping and tightening up the skin, resulting in improved appearance and nipple positioning.
A breast lift can enhance a woman's breast contour by moving the breast higher on the chest and relocating the nipple and areola on the breast mound. If sufficient breast tissue is present, surgeons can execute a very visually appealing mastopexy, without adding extra size, by internally adjusting the breast tissue and removing extra skin. If a boost in volume is required, particularly in the upper region of the breasts, we can consider fat transfer or breast implants.
If you are especially concerned about saggy skin and believe that your breasts are overly large, pairing a breast lift and breast reduction can be a good fit.
Breast lift surgery is carried out under general anesthesia, and you are usually discharged from the hospital on the same day. Your return to work typically depends on the nature of your job, but most patients can resume work within 5 to 7 days.
While the results are instantly noticeable, it might take up to a year for all the swelling to fully subside.
Breast Lift with Implants
If your goal is to not only elevate the breasts but also to regain volume, a combined approach of breast lift with implants (mastopexy augmentation) may suit best. The procedure involves lifting the breast through a doughnut, lollipop, or anchor incisions, followed by implant placement.
Breast lift surgery is particularly effective for individuals with adequate breast tissue, that can help construct a prominent 'breast mound.' However, for many patients, it is challenging to sustain volume in the upper breast region with a mastopexy alone. This limitation is especially evident in those who have experienced significant breast deflation post-pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Breast implants, filled either with silicone gel or saline, can be positioned either above or underneath the muscle. Your surgeon will assist you in selecting the most suitable method and implant size, predominantly guided by the width of your chest.
Breast fat transfer
The process of breast fat transfer includes liposuction to extract fat from a specific area of the body, which is then purified and injected into the breast. If you desire a subtle volume boost (roughly one cup size), a breast fat transfer might be the perfect fit for you.
Breast fat transfer on its own does not raise drooping breasts or enhance the look of stretched or crepey skin. Thus, for optimal perkiness, it may be necessary to pair fat transfer with a breast lift. Good skin tone and elasticity are also essential for successful results.
The procedure leaves minor scars from the incisions. Post-procedure, you can anticipate some swelling and bruising in the breasts, but most patients are able to resume work after a week.
Be mindful that the increase in size can be unpredictable, as only about 50 to 70% of the transferred fat will survive after a year. If you undergo weight loss, the grafted fat will also reduce, leading to a decrease in breast size. Conversely, weight gain will cause the fat to expand, resulting in larger breasts.
Other treatments for saggy breasts
If your breasts are only sagging slightly, you might find that non-surgical breast lift treatments can provide some relief. While the outcomes won't be as striking as those achieved via surgery, if you're a suitable prospect with realistic expectations, the amount of lift could be sufficient to postpone or even bypass surgical intervention.
Treatments employing radiofrequency energy, such as Thermage or BodyTite, can tighten the skin and provide a lift of approximately an inch. Although the tightening effect takes a few months to manifest, the results can be satisfying. The procedure involves heating the skin to stimulate collagen production and is performed in the provider's clinic with IV sedation and local anesthesia.
Laser breast lifts, generally conducted with YAG lasers, can moderately tighten and firm breast tissue with heat, leading to the contraction of collagen fibres. The heat also sparks the production of new collagen in the ensuing weeks and months, resulting in both immediate and longer-term lift, particularly after multiple treatments.
Breast thread lifts employ tiny threads inserted just beneath the skin and drawn tight to provide instantaneous lift and promote new collagen growth. The body absorbs these threads after roughly 2 years.
Can topical skin care lift sagging breasts?
Medical professionals affirm that there are no lotions capable of providing lasting lift to the breasts. Certain moisturizers might cause the breasts to swell and result in a temporary lift, but the effect is transient.
Considering that many of the suggested procedures for addressing sagging breasts involve incisions, investing in topical scar creams that decrease scar visibility is a wise choice.
Products available without a prescription, such as Stratpharma Strataderm and Skinuva Scar, integrate silicone into their formulation to lessen the visibility of both fresh and existing scars. For optimal outcomes, it's crucial to apply these products consistently each day.