Just as the skin on our face begins to lose elasticity with age, so too does the skin on our body – particularly in the areas with less muscle mass and more fat tissue. Unfortunately, because our breasts are made up of fat tissue and ligaments and lack muscle, the skin in this area is particularly susceptible to stretching and sagging over time. The lack of muscle within our breast tissue also means that no amount of exercise will help to tone and lift the breasts.
But what other factors cause breasts to sag in the first place? And what treatment options are available to lift breasts that have already begun to sag? Here we look further into some of the most common causes of sagging breasts, as well as the surgical procedures that may help to restore or ‘fix’ sagging breasts once the natural ageing process has begun.
What are the most common causes of breast sagging?
Without doubt, the most common cause of sagging breasts is ageing. With age, ligaments within the breast tissue start to lose elasticity and become stretched. Coupled with diminished fat cells, breast tissue loses volume and the breast position drops. The hormonal changes that occur during menopause may accelerate the process yet further.
We all know that over exposure to the sun’s harmful U.V. rays can damage the surface of the skin, but fewer people are aware that overexposure to the sun can also negatively impact the skin’s structure beneath. Sunburn can be a major cause of the ‘crepey’ skin many of us experience on our delicate decolletage and is also responsible for causing a loss of elasticity.
Fluctuations of weight, particularly those which occur quite quickly, such as during pregnancy and post-partum, can cause breast skin to become stretched, in some instances resulting in stretch marks. Whilst there is a preconceived notion that breastfeeding can cause breasts to sag, research shows that sagging is caused not by the breastfeeding itself, but by changes to the breast size whilst feeding.
Thanks to gravity, unsupported breasts are more prone to sagging than breasts that are properly supported in a professionally fitted bra. Ill-fitting underwear for day-to-day wear or failure to wear the correct type of sports underwear whilst exercising, are both known to cause stretched, sagging breast skin.
How to ‘fix’ sagging breasts
There are a number of surgical treatment options available to lift and add volume to sagging breasts, depending on the needs of the individual seeking improvement. The most common types of breast surgery are listed below –
- Breast uplift surgery (or mastopexy)
- Breast uplift surgery with implants (or mastopexy augmentation)
- Breast reduction surgery (or reduction mammaplasty)
What are the differences between the procedures?
Whilst all of the types of breast surgery listed above may be appropriate treatment options for sagging breasts, they vary greatly in terms of the extent of the benefit they offer and indeed level of invasiveness. So what treatment should you choose? That all depends on your personal concerns, goals, and expectations.
Whilst primarily designed to reduce volume and alleviate excess weight in the breast area, when a breast reduction, or a reduction mammoplasty is performed, patients often experience a much more lifted appearance. By removing excess skin, fat and tissue, breast size is reduced and breast position is improved. This procedure is beneficial for women whose breast sagging has been worsened by heavy breast tissue.
By comparison, a breast lift or mastopexy, is beneficial for women who have sagging breasts but who are not concerned by their size or weight. The procedure is designed to reshape and support the breast tissue to achieve an uplifted breast position. Because a breast uplift is achieved by removing excess skin, breasts can appear smaller. For patients who are keen to maintain or indeed increase breast size and volume, a breast uplift can be combined with the insertion of implants (a mastopexy augmentation).
How do I know which surgery is right for me?
Prior to undergoing breast surgery or any other procedure at Coppergate Clinic, you will have multiple consultations offering the opportunity to chat to your surgeon in person about the full range of options available to you. During these appointments, there will be chance to discuss every aspect of the procedures you are considering. Your surgeon will call on a wealth of experience and expertise to guide you through the pros and cons of each treatment, ensuring if you decide to opt for surgery, you do so feeling fully informed. If you would like to find out more about the full range of breast procedures at Coppergate Clinic, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly front of house team today.