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Sagging Breasts: How to Perk Things Up

after babies and i guess aging :( my breasts sag more than i'd like. is breast lift or plastic surgery my only option for getting them perked up again?

Doctor Answers 141

Improving sagging breasts with mastopexy

An unavoidable consequence of aging is the loss of elasticity, or tone, in skin and soft tissues. This process, which may be compounded by changes, which occur during and after pregnancy, will ultimately lead to 'drooping' of the breasts. A variety of surgical breast surgery techniques can be used for restoring the breasts to a more youthful position and shape. The goal is to both relocate the nipples to a higher position, and to restore breast projection (and to maintain projection for the long term).
Having abreast lift operation involves making a decision to trade an improved breast shape and contour for some (well-placed and concealed) surgical scars on the breast. For the patient who is displeased that her nipples are downpointing, it may be a relatively easy decision. The surgical incisions are strategically placed to be as minimally noticeable as is possible. One component is around the areola, which is usually well concealed by the color difference between breast skin and areolar skin. The second component extends vertically from the '6 o'clock' position of the areola to the fold below the breast, and as the majority of this scar faces downward, it is usually quite acceptable.
Traditionally, breast lift or mastopexy surgery has involved a long, horizontal incision below the breast (in addition to the circumareolar and vertical scars), but a relatively new technique allows elimination of this incision completely.
The 'vertical scar' breast lift
For several years I have been using a 'vertical scar' technique for most breast reductions which eliminates the long, horizontal incision in the inframammary fold below the breasts. I have also adapted this technique for breast lift surgery, and have been extremely pleased with the results. As with breast reduction patients, this new technique not only eliminates the horizontal incision, but also creates more impressive breast projection and maintains it better over time. The breast lift procedure I perform not only removes breast skin but also moves some lower pole breast tissue to a higher position, increasing the projection of the nipple/areola area.
Breast lift surgery works well for patients with enough existing breast tissue to build a projecting 'breast mound'. However, in most patients it is difficult to create sustainable fullness in the upper poles of the breasts by means of a mastopexy alone. This is particularly true in patients who have experienced significant deflation following pregnancy and lactation. For patients who indicate that they wish to achieve a fair amount of fullness in the cleavage area as a result of their breast lift surgery, I recommend that they undergo augmentation mastopexy This surgery combines a breast lift with the placement of a breast implant usually of modest size, which produces the most youthful breast profile possible.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Sagging Breasts-How to Restore and Lift Your Breasts after Pregnancy

Thank you for your question. You are not alone as many women experience loss of breast fullness and sagging of the breast after having children.

Plastic Surgery can restore breast shape and size after pregnancy using one of three techniques:

  • Breast Augmentation with Breast Implants-If the nipple-areola is above the crease under your breast-the Inframammary Crease- then often a simple Breast Augmentation using Breast Implants can restore the breast to a full lifted appearance. Typically the implants are placed under the breast gland and not under the chest muscle.
  • Breast Lift or Dermal Mastopexy- When there is significant breast sagging and the Nipple-Areola is below the crease under your breast, a surgical Breast Lift or Dermal Mastopexy is usually required to adequately lift the breast. With the Breast Lift, visible scars around the Areola and usually on the underside of the breast are required.
  • Combination Breast Lift and Breast Implants- When the Nipple-Areola is below the crease under your breast and the breast gland has deflated a combination Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation is often required. This procedure is a common part of the "Mommy Makeover."

Be sure to consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is experienced in Breast Surgery.

Fixing sagging breasts with implant placement

In my extensive experience I find that sagging breasts can be lifted WITHOUT the need for the additional scarring of conventional breast lifts. When implants are placed in front of the muscle, they will lift the breasts quite adequately; under the muscle they will not.

Howard T. Bellin, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
2.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Breast sagging can consist of two things: Loss of...

Breast sagging can consist of two things:

  1. Loss of volume
  2. Downward descent of the nipple and areola

The volume loss is treated by using an implant. The downward position of the nipple requires some form of a breast lift to place it back on the front of the breast mound, well positioned above the crease below the breast.

Unfortunately, an implant does not lift the breast; it only makes it bigger. There are several kinds of lifts that can be performed depending on how much of a lift is needed to get the proper shape back in the breast.

A breast lift is the perfect solution for sagging breasts

A breast lift operation can be done alone or with an augmentation.  Alone the breast and nipple is lifted and tightened which may have developed over time or due to pregnancy and breast feeding.  Surgery is the only option to correct this.  With an augmentation, the new cohesive gel implants give a soft natural result and may even lift the breast in patients who are experiencing some ptosis or slight sagging of the breast.  Be sure to discuss which option is best for you with your surgeon.

Lifting the breasts after having kids - surgery or a bra?

Most Moms have some sagging and deflation of their breasts after having children. This is normal, and unfortunately permanent.

The options to lift and perk up the breasts after they sag are two-fold:

1. Invest in a sturdy, well-padded bra that does the trick!

2. Invest in a permanent surgical procedure to lift your breasts.

Surgery to lift the breast may include rearrangement of the breast tissue and removal of excess skin, decreasing the size of the areolas and lifting them to a higher and more aesthetically pleasing position on the breasts. This is known as a breast lift.

Occasionally, a breast implant is placed to add back volume lost with pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Be sure to visit a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon who is well-experienced with breast lift to learn more!

Karen M. Horton, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Surgery is the only answer for sagging breasts

Unfortunately, there are not any non invasive options for lifting the breasts except for the classic push up bra.

An implant may lift your breasts with minimal incisions on the breast . Look for surgeons that perform a vertical breast lift to minimize scarring on the breast if you decide to pursue surgery.

Pramit Malhotra, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Sagging of the breasts is caused by a variety of...

Sagging of the breasts is caused by a variety of factors; such as hormones, genetics, age, and childbearing. There are no other options besides a surgical procedure to improve or prevent the sagginess of your breasts.

Women who have lost the fullness of their breasts due to age, genetics, childbirth or breastfeeding are good candidates for the breast lift procedure. If you are happy with the size of your breasts, but not the location, you may be a good candidate!

Without surgical techniques utilized in the breast lift procedure, ptosis (or sagging) of the breasts is not preventable or fixable. Of course, your favorite Miracle Bra can fix the sagging breast problem quickly if surgery is not in the horizon for you!

Breast Lift and /or Implants Remain the Gold Standard.

There are hopeful,  experimental and developmental techniques to lift the breast.  To date, nothing is as reliable as mastopexy and or implants when appropriate.  

On RealSelf, 97% of augmentation patients said that augmentation is worth it.  
95% of Breast Lift (mastopexy) patients said that breast lift was worth it.. 

No other treatments come close to that level of satisfaction....yet.  
Things change. But that is where we are today. 

Lifting with or without implants

Good morning!

This is obviously a very common question with no one right answer- so much depends upon your tissue characteristics as well as your goals as far as shape and size.  After the influx and subsequent drying up of milk glands after pregnancy, most women experience some deflation of the breast tissues- especially in the upper pole of their breast.  Some women get used to the fullness in their breasts with pregnancy and lactation and are disappointed when this fullness does not persist after lactation.

I wish I could tell you that the various potions/pills/creams/ etc. one sees advertised will help your breasts regain that fullness- they do not work and some may even be harmful.  These companies prey on women like yourself that are frustrated with their breast shape and size post partum and are looking for a solution that does not involve surgery.  Do not fall for these scams.

Though the results are usually pretty minimal, starting with chest wall muscle exercises are always a good first step.  Strengthening of the pectoralis muscle may give you a small uplift and that may be enough to satisfy you.  If that does not give you enough to make you happy, I would recommend a consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to at least hear about your options for your particular body type.

I hope this helps.

Robert Steely, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.