How to Get Your Perky Breasts Back
Myths, Facts and Secrets about the Perpetual Battle against Gravity
Dr. Ronald K. Downs
They come in all shapes and sizes: big, small, round, oval. Unfortunately, most women's breasts will all share one thing in common eventually – the toll of gravity.
Yep, I'm talking about sagging breasts, also called breast ptosis (pronounced toh-sis). Whether they’re busty or bitsy, all natural breasts are made up of ligaments and connective tissue that stretch over time. It happens to every woman.
As a board certified plastic surgeon, one of the most frequent questions I hear from women is: "What's the easiest way to get my breasts to look the way they did when I was 20?" Well, I have good news and bad news. Both will probably surprise you.
The topic of how to make your breasts perky again is one destined to leave many women disappointed, not because effective treatments don't exist, but because so many false claims do. A quick Google of "nonsurgical treatments for breast ptosis" will turn up page after page of articles about pills, lotions, massages, workout devices--the list goes on. I can only imagine what women must think when they read about these options: "Is it really that easy?"
The answer is no. Like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So before we get to the good news, let's get the bad out of the way once and for all: there is no tried and true nonsurgical treatment for breast ptosis, at least, not at this point in time. And you should be wary about any offer that claims otherwise.
For example, you might read about how exercises like push-ups and bench presses will help firm up your breasts. The truth is that chest exercises will only strengthen the muscles beneathyour breasts. At most, stronger pectoral muscles can provide better support for the breast tissue on top, but the difference will be visually negligible.
Another popular claim is that increasing blood circulation with massages, lotions, oils or breast pumps will stimulate breast rejuvenation. Sadly, good blood circulation is helpful for many reasons, but tightening the ligaments and connective tissue responsible for breast ptosis isn’t one of them.
How Nonsurgical Treatments CAN Help
Hang on, don't be discouraged yet. Just because there’s no magical nonsurgical solution to breast ptosis doesn’t mean there aren’t simple things you can do to feel better about your body. After all, isn't that what you really want?
Probably the easiest and most effective way to improve your silhouette is – you guessed it – a push-up bra. No surprise there. A good, supportive brassiere elevates your breasts and gives them that youthful, perky shape.
Also, you might be surprised how much of a difference good posture can make. Try this experiment: stand sideways in front of a mirror and then pull your shoulders back and lift your chin. You’ll notice how that tiny adjustment raises your breasts.
Last, but certainly not least, is exercise. While getting in shape won’t return your breasts to their original perky positions, it will do wonders for your confidence. And when you’re confident, you’re more attractive.
For women who still aren't satisfied, there is a more permanent treatment option. A breast lift (mastopexy) is the surgical procedure of removing excess skin from your breasts and tightening the tissue. Not to be confused with a breast augmentation, a lift doesn’t increase the size or modify the fullness of your breasts. Its purpose is simply to elevate them. Chances are you’ve heard of this procedure, but here's something you might not know: there are several types of breast lifts, and not each one is right for every woman.
The most commonly performed breast lift is often called an "anchor lift" because the incision looks like an anchor – one around the areola, one that runs vertically from the areola to the bottom of your breast and one horizontally along the base. Anchor lifts are particularly beneficial to women who suffer moderate to severe breast ptosis because the surgeon removes more skin and has more room to work within the tissue than other types of lifts.
A "lollipop lift" involves only two incisions (one around the areola and one down to the base of your breast). Lollipop lifts are usually recommended for women with mild to moderate breast ptosis.
Some surgeons also perform "scarless breast lifts." Despite their name, these lifts do in fact leave scars, but they’re usually much less noticeable than traditional breast lifts. For example, during a "donut lift," a surgeon accesses the breast through a single tiny incision around the areola. Another type of "scarless" procedure involves an incision under the armpit.
It's important to note that not every woman is a good candidate for a breast lift. Your family genes, diet, bodyweight and the size and sagginess of your breasts can all play a role. Before making any decisions, always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to determine whether or not a breast lift is right for you.
My Best Advice
As a plastic surgeon, I meet a lot of women concerned with how they look. It's my job to help them understand their options for "improving" their appearance, both surgical and nonsurgical. And it doesn't matter if you want a slimmer tummy, fewer wrinkles or perkier breasts, there’s one thing about treatment options I want you to know most of all – be sure you're pursuing them for the right reason.
If you're considering doing something about, say, your breasts, don't make any final decisions until you know it's what you want. Whether it’s an advanced surgical procedure or a simple push-up bra, try not to satisfy some popular image or another person’s idea of how you should look. Remember that only your opinion matters. That's the secret to finding the right treatment for you.