What’s Your Best Breast Lift Option? Some Factors to Consider

Mastopexy, commonly referred to as a breast lift, is a cosmetic procedure performed on women whose breasts sag or whose nipples point downward. Sagging can occur for several reasons, including genetic predisposition, pregnancy, gravity, and weight loss. When a mastopexy is performed, breast tissue is raised to a higher part of the chest, nipples are repositioned, and skin is tightened.

Key takeaways:

The size, shape, and symmetry of a woman’s breasts can have significant effects on her body perception and impact her self-esteem. Mastopexies are aimed at altering aspects of the breasts to overcome cosmetic concerns that make women feel unattractive or older than they want to appear. They can be tailored to the patient’s desires and are associated with a high degree of patient satisfaction.

How long do mastopexy results last?

While breast lifts tend to be highly effective at overcoming breast sagging, the breasts continue to be subject to forces that cause sagging after the procedure is performed. As a result, though the results of breast lifts can last several years, mastopexies are not considered permanent solutions for breast sagging. Nonetheless, research and advancements in surgical techniques continue to improve the longevity of breast lifts.

How long the results of a mastopexy last depends on several factors, including details of the procedure, the size of the breasts, weight stability, and overall health. For example, the results of mastopexy tend to last longer in those with small breasts, whereas larger, heavier breasts often resume their sag. Additionally, aging causes the skin to become more elastic, which can also contribute to breasts sagging again following mastopexy.

Mastopexy can do more than lift

Ideally, mastopexy achieves desired outcomes while minimizing complications. Complications are relatively rare, occurring in about 1 in 10 people. The most common complications are issues with scarring and problems related to the nipple or areola — the darker tissue around the nipples. These issues are usually cosmetic but may involve changes in sensation.

Surgeons usually want to reduce the overall weight of the breasts during mastopexy to improve functional outcomes and reduce the likelihood that the breasts will sag significantly in the future. During the procedure, the size of the areolae can be made smaller to match the new proportions of the breasts. In some cases, mastopexy may involve the addition of a breast implant, though combining a breast lift with augmentation increases the risk for complications.

Pregnancy can affect a breast lift

Women are often concerned about how pregnancy may affect their breasts lifts. While there is no known medical reason to avoid pregnancy following a breast lift, patients may be advised to wait to undergo mastopexy until they are done having children because the breast stretching that occurs during pregnancy can affect the results of a breast lift.

It is also important to recognize that breast lifts may hinder the ability to breastfeed, as the procedure can make it more difficult to produce milk. Research into the effects of an array of breast enhancement surgeries on lactation has shown that the most common lactation-related complication is insufficient milk production. Nonetheless, breastfeeding is considered possible following a breast lift.

Future options for breast enhancement

There has been some research into nonsurgical approaches for improving the look of the breasts, though the data are mixed on how effective these approaches are. One potentially promising solution is a mechanical bra system for enhancing the size of the breasts through negative pressure that appears to stimulate the growth of breast tissue.

More research will likely lead to the development of new options for lifting and enhancing the breasts. Your healthcare provider can help you navigate your options and choose a solution that is right for you.

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