One of the most common complaints I get from patients is how their breasts have “lost life” after breast feeding or weight loss. Many women come into my clinic requesting a simple solution for their breasts – “can’t you use an implant to fill them back up?” If only it was that easy!
In most circumstances, age, pregnancy or weight fluctuations affect the anatomy so much that using an implant to address breast sag, would not be enough to fix the problem. The best results often require a breast augmentation in combination with a breast lift, referred to as a mastopexy-augmentation.
To appreciate why you can’t always treat breast sag with an implant alone, it is helpful to understand the anatomical reasons why women’s breasts sag in the first place.
The size and shape of your breasts are determined by the amount of fat and glandular tissue present. Obviously, the more tissue underneath the skin, the larger or rounder the breasts become. Breast position is determined by the ligaments supporting your breasts against your chest wall (imagine suspenders holding up pants up).
When women’s bodies change with pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight gain, their breasts will often increase in size, stretching the skin that surrounds the breasts. This stretch also causes the suspensory ligaments supporting the breasts to weaken and stretch as well, leaving looser, hanging breasts.
When a woman stops breast feeding, her breasts shrink and the damage to the skin and ligaments has already been done. These areas are not elastic enough to return the breasts to their previous shape and position on the chest wall.
During breast augmentation surgery, an implant alone may restore the size of the breasts, but more often than not, an implant will not correct the breast sag, leaving the nipples pointing down. This is where the mastopexy (breast lift) comes in.
Mastopexy surgery involves the removal of excess skin and reshaping of the breasts, which restores them to their upright and youthful position. A breast augmentation, in combination with a mastopexy, results in complete breast rejuvenation by increasing the fullness of the breasts while restoring a more youthful position on the chest.
If you’re considering breast augmentation surgery, it is important to see a plastic surgeon who is well trained and experienced. Having a physician that encourages open dialogue, understands your unique anatomy and listens to your desired goals will make the process seamless and even quite fun!
Want to see how a mastopexy and augmentation might be able to help you get your breasts back? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Boudreault at Illuminate Plastic Surgery in Palo Alto, today.