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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 124

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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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 2 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.

Breast lift is usually the best answer for sagging breasts

The problem with sagging breasts is usually a combination of two issues - 1. loss of volume to the breast and 2. loss of elasticity of the skin that holds the breast tissue up. The way to correct breast ptosis (sagging breasts) all depends upon which of the above factors is most causative of the problem. I have heard many patients who want to simply replace the loss of volume to "perk up" their breasts by putting in a breast implant. (And I have heard and read many plastic surgeons who say that this will work.) But if the major problem is that the skin is too weak to hold up the existing breast tissue, adding more weight in the form of an implant just is not the right solution. It may improve things for a short term, but will actually make things worse down the line. Using breast implants alone to correct ptosis is only advisable in a very small subset of patients whose only problem is a loss of volume that makes their breast appear deflated. Completing a mastopexy with or without breast implants is more often the best way to achieve long lasting results. I would caution taking advice from anyone suggesting placing implants (especially big implants) in the subglandular position to try and fix breast ptosis. Not only does this most often undercorrect the problem, it often compounds the issue in just a short amount of time. 

William T. Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Perkier needed?

The important question that you must ask, our future pregnancies plans, and are you finished having additional children. It does not make any sense whatsoever to commit yourself to surgery if you are going to proceed with another pregnancy which will only worsen the condition that you presently have. The next question is whether or not you would like to have an implant or have your breasts uplifted without one, or even a combination of the both. These are questions that only you can answer, and not the surgeon. An uplift results of scars that can be inconspicuous and placed in a variety of areas depending on the technique used. If you use an implant, statistically you'll need additional operation sometime later during your lifetime. In any event, returning true original question, there is no way to uplift your breasts without some type of additional surgery.

John E. Sherman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 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 38 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!

Jennifer L. Walden, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Breast Lift after Pregnancy

It would be great if there were some kind of exercise or magic wand that could perk up the breasts after pregnancy.  For most women, there will be some kind of sagging or loss of volume regardless of breastfeeding.  From the surgical standpoint, the best option for rejuvenating the breasts after pregnancy is either a breast augmentation and/or a breast lift.  Sometime a combination of the two procedures will provide the best results possible.  


Dr. Joshua Kreithen, M.D.
Sarasota, FL

Joshua Kreithen, MD
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.