What is a Breast Lift?
A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a procedure to remove excess skin and reshape the breast tissue in order to lift and support is ptosis (pronounced: toe-sis). The degree of ptosis is classified according to the relationship between the nipple and the inframammary fold, the crease below the breast. In the normal breast, the nipple lies above the inframammary fold and on the mound of the breast.
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The degrees of ptosis are:
- First degree: minimal droop; the nipple lies at the level of the fold
- Second degree: moderate droop; the nipple is below the fold but is still above the lowest part of the breast.
- Third degree: major droop; the nipple lies below the fold and at the lower part of the breast.
- Pseudopodia: the nipple is above the inframammary fold, but the breast tissue falls below it.
Causes of Sagging Breasts
Whether breasts are large or small, ptosis is inevitable. No one is immune to the effects of gravity. All females who live beyond adolescence will experience some degree of sagging during their lifetime.
The degree of ptosis, however, does vary from woman to woman. A variety of elements contribute to this difference, the most significant of which is breast size. Because breasts consist of only ligaments, fat, and connective tissue and do not contain any actual muscle, breasts begin to droop over time. The ligaments and skin lose their elasticity and begin to stretch.
Although ptosis is inevitable, the rate at which it occurs also is affected by genes, diet, aging, and breast size. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause contribute to ptosis as well. Many childless women, however, also complain of drooping breasts. Ptosis is especially evident after significant weight loss.
Generally speaking, women with small breasts will not experience as much sagging as women with larger breasts. Women with smaller breasts have less breast tissue pulling the breasts down. Also, some women choose to enlarge their breast size or to return to an appearance of fullness with a breast lift and augmentation procedure. More information about the breast lift procedure is available on our breast lift preparation page.