What Causes Saggy Breasts

Causes and Treatment for Sagging Breasts

‘Saggy breasts’ is the common term we use to define breast ptosis. A natural phenomenon that many individuals experience due to a variety of reasons. Understanding the underlying causes of saggy breasts and the treatment options available is important to help you make informed decisions.

Dr Carmen Munteanu MD. FRACS (Plas) is a Melbourne plastic surgeon performing different breast procedures, including breast lift and breast augmentation.

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Identifying the Causes of Saggy Breasts

In the journey of understanding why saggy breasts (breast ptosis) occur, it is paramount to explore various elements that contribute to this natural process. Let us take a closer look at some of the most common causes:

Age

As you grow older, it is a common occurrence for the firmness of your breasts to decrease. This happens because:

  • The Ligaments Stretch: The Cooper’s ligaments, which are the connective tissues that help to maintain the structural integrity of your breasts, tend to stretch and lose their tight, supportive attribute over the years. This stretching process, happening gradually, diminishes the firmness
  • Skin Changes: The inherent changes in your skin that accompany ageing play a pivotal role. Over time, the skin gradually loses its collagen — a vital protein that grants it firmness and suppleness. This decline in collagen levels means that the skin becomes less elastic, and this is manifested in several areas, including the breasts, lending to a softer, less firm texture
  • Hormonal Fluctuations: Especially during significant periods such as menopause, hormonal fluctuations bring about substantial changes. The oestrogen level, a hormone intrinsically linked with female reproductive health and bodily features, takes a dip during menopause. This decrease not only affects the menstrual cycle but extends its impact to the firmness of your breasts, as it can lead to changes in breast tissue, consequently altering their appearance and feel

Genetics

Your genetic makeup plays a role in determining the firmness and shape of your breasts. Here’s how genetics come into play:

  • Inherited Traits: If the women in your family have experienced saggy breasts, there is a higher likelihood that you might too
  • Breast Density: Genetics dictate the density of your breasts, which can affect their tendency to sag over time

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

The beautiful journey of motherhood also brings about numerous changes in the body, including the breasts. The causes behind the change in breast firmness during and post-pregnancy include:

  • Hormonal Shifts: Pregnancy brings with it a surge of hormones which can affect the breast tissues
  • Engorgement During Breastfeeding: The process of breastfeeding can cause the breasts to enlarge and potentially sag post-weaning
  • Post-pregnancy Weight Fluctuations: Many experience weight gain during pregnancy and fluctuating weight post-pregnancy, which can affect breast firmness

Fluctuations in Weight

Maintaining a steady weight might be more important than you think when it comes to preventing saggy breasts. Consider the following:

  • Repeated Gain and Loss: Frequently gaining and then losing weight can stretch the skin and ligaments in your breasts, causing them to lose their firmness over time
  • Effect on Skin Elasticity: Constant weight fluctuations can affect the elasticity of your skin, including that of your breasts
  • Impact on Breast Volume: Losing a substantial amount of weight can reduce breast volume, leading to a saggy appearance

Smoking

Unfortunately, smoking has a multitude of negative effects on the body, including the potential to cause saggy breasts. The reasons behind this are:

  • Breakdown of Elastin: Smoking can break down the elastin in your skin, leading to loss of firmness
  • Reduced Blood Supply: Smoking reduces the blood supply to the skin, affecting its health and appearance
  • Accelerated Aging Process: Smoking can accelerate the ageing process, affecting various parts of your body, including your breasts
Carmen Munteanu Plastic Surgeon Cosmetic Blog - Solutions for Sagging Dropping Breasts Image of Classifications of Ptosis

Surgical Treatments for Saggy Breasts (Breast Ptosis)

For those looking into more definitive solutions, surgical treatments can be an option. Below, we explore various surgical interventions that can help in treating saggy breasts:

Breast Lift Surgery

This intervention is meticulously crafted to resurrect the vivacity and firmness that might have diminished over time. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a deeper insight into what entails this surgical pathway:

  • Procedure: The aim of this surgery is the removal of excess skin and the meticulous tightening of the surrounding tissue. Through different surgical techniques, Dr Carmen works to reshape the breasts, giving them a more contoured and uplifted appearance. This process might also involve repositioning the nipples to ensure a natural look that harmonises with the new breast shape
  • Recovery: Venturing into this surgical route necessitates a period of recovery, a time that your body requires to heal and adapt to the changes. Generally, the recovery timeline spans a few weeks, during which adherence to medical advice and guidelines is paramount. This might include wearing special supportive garments, taking prescribed medications to manage discomfort, and following a tailored routine to aid the healing process. While the initial recovery period is crucial, it is equally important to give yourself time and space to adjust to the new changes
  • Results: The outcomes of this procedure tend to be relatively long-lasting, bestowing your breasts with a firmer and more uplifted demeanour. However, it is important to note that while the results are enduring, maintaining a stable weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly enhance the longevity of the outcomes, allowing you to enjoy the results of the procedure for a much longer period

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation stands as a reliable option when you are looking to increase the size and enhance the shape of your breasts, aligning them more closely with your desired aesthetic. This procedure not only adds volume but also offers symmetry, bringing forth a harmonised, balanced appearance. Here is a closer look at what the breast augmentation procedure encompasses:

  • Implants: A significant part of the breast augmentation process involves the use of implants, which are specially designed materials that are placed in your breasts to add volume and achieve the desired shape. You have the option to choose from a variety of implants, such as saline or silicone, each offering a different feel and appearance
  • Natural Results: In the ever-evolving field of cosmetic surgery, the goal remains to offer outcomes that are natural-looking, seamlessly blending with your body’s unique contours. Modern techniques and technologies employed in breast augmentation surgery strive to respect your natural anatomy while offering enhancements that are subtle
  • Recovery: Recovering from a breast augmentation surgery shares similarities with recuperating from a breast lift procedure. Generally, you can expect the recovery period to span a few weeks. During this period, it is important to follow all the guidelines provided by your plastic surgeon to facilitate smooth and safe healing

Breast Reduction

In instances where you find that your breast size is causing discomfort, a breast reduction procedure stands as a viable solution. This process is designed to reduce the size of your breasts, bringing forth not only relief from physical discomfort. Here, we detail what this procedure entails:

  • Alleviating Discomfort: Large breasts can sometimes be the root of physical discomfort, causing issues such as back and neck pain. It can also lead to posture problems and skin irritations. Opting for a breast reduction can potentially alleviate these problems by reducing the weight and volume of your breasts
  • Improved Proportion: Aside from addressing discomfort, the breast reduction surgery is designed to offer an aesthetic benefit by reshaping your breasts to a size that is proportionate to your body
  • Recovery: Recovering from a breast reduction procedure generally follows a timeline akin to the other surgical procedures discussed earlier. It generally necessitates a span of several weeks for a full recovery. During this period, it is vital to follow Dr Carmen’s guidelines meticulously to facilitate a smooth recovery process

How to Prevent Saggy Breasts

Understanding the non-surgical avenues available for preventing saggy breasts can be a viable route for some. Here we will highlight some of the non-invasive ways that might help you in treating saggy breasts.

Proper Support through Well-Fitted Bras

Wearing bras that offer proper support can play a significant role in maintaining the firmness of your breasts. Here are some points to consider:

  • Right Size: Always choose bras that are your correct size to provide optimal support
  • Quality Material: Invest in bras made from quality materials that offer good support without compromising on comfort
  • Specialised Bras: Consider wearing specialised bras for workouts and sports activities to protect your breasts from undue strain

Maintaining a Stable Weight

A steady weight not only promotes overall health but can also help in maintaining the firmness of your breasts. Below are some ways you can achieve this:

  • Balanced Diet: Maintain a diet rich in nutrients to support a healthy body weight
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in a regular exercise routine to keep your weight in check
  • Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting: Steering clear of diets that cause rapid weight fluctuations can help in preserving the firmness of your breasts

Physical Exercises for Breast Lifting

Exercises targeting the chest area can be beneficial. Here is how you can go about it:

  • Push-Ups: Incorporate push-ups in your routine to strengthen the chest muscles
  • Chest Press: Engage in chest press exercises to work on the muscles under your breasts
  • Chest Flies: Exercises like chest flies can also aid in working the chest muscles

Developing a routine that focuses on chest exercises can potentially help in maintaining the firmness of your breasts.

Nutrition and Diet

The food you consume can affect the health of your skin and, by extension, your breasts. Consider the following tips:

  • Hydrate Well: Drinking sufficient water can aid in maintaining the elasticity of your skin
  • Vitamin C and E: Incorporate foods rich in Vitamin C and E in your diet to support skin health
  • Protein-Rich Diet: A diet rich in proteins can potentially help

What to Consider Before Opting for Treatment for Breast Ptosis

Before making a decision about undergoing a treatment to address saggy breasts, there are several important aspects to ponder upon. Here are the considerations that should be kept in mind:

Discussing the Options with a Plastic Surgeon

An important step is to discuss the possible treatment options with your plastic surgeon. Dr Carmen can guide you on:

  • Suitable Treatments: Based on your health history and current condition, she can recommend the most suitable treatment
  • Expected Outcomes: Discuss what you can realistically expect from each treatment option
  • Potential Risks: Every procedure comes with its risks. Make sure to understand these fully before making a decision

FAQs about Causes and Solutions for Saggy Breasts

FAQ Plastic Surgery

Are saggy breasts preventable?

  • While completely preventing saggy breasts might be unattainable due to unavoidable factors such as the natural ageing process and genetic predispositions, there are certainly ways to potentially delay this process and maintain the firmness of your breasts for a longer period. Adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes managing your weight effectively, can prevent undue stress on the breast ligaments. Similarly, wearing bras that offer good support can be a simple yet effective strategy to provide the necessary uplift and delay the onset of sagging. Furthermore, steering clear of smoking can be beneficial, as it helps maintain skin elasticity, preventing premature ageing.

Can exercises fully restore the firmness?

  • While engaging in regular exercises can indeed aid in enhancing the appearance and firmness of your breasts, it is important to note that exercises alone might not be sufficient to fully restore the firmness that has been lost over time. Despite this, they offer notable benefits, including the strengthening of muscles that lie beneath the breasts, offering a natural lift and enhancing the overall contour. Additionally, maintaining a regular exercise routine can facilitate improved posture; a straighter, upright stance can potentially make your breasts appear firmer and more lifted. To maximise the benefits of exercise in this regard, it would be beneficial to consult with a fitness expert.

Can I combine breast lift and breast reduction surgeries?

  • Absolutely, combining a breast lift with a breast reduction is a common practice. Doing so allows you to not only reduce the size of your breasts to a more comfortable and proportionate size but also elevate them. It is always best to discuss your expectations and concerns with your plastic surgeon to develop a surgical plan that is tailored to meet your unique needs.

What are the potential risks associated with breast reduction surgery?

  • Just like any other surgical procedure, breast reduction surgery comes with its own set of potential risks and complications. Some common risks include infection, adverse reactions to anaesthesia, and changes in nipple or breast sensation. Other potential complications might involve difficulties in breastfeeding, asymmetry in the size and shape of the breasts, and scarring. It is fundamental to have a thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon about all the potential risks and to follow all the post-operative care instructions to minimise the chances of complications.

Further Reading about Breast Procedures with Dr Carmen

Medical References about Causes and Treatment for Sagging Breasts

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Dr Carmen Munteanu – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

She is one of Melbourne’s most experienced and sought-after female Plastic Surgeons who offers aesthetic breast surgery and body contouring. That includes Breast Reduction, Breast Lift, Breast Implant Surgery and Body Surgery.

With over 25 years of surgical experience in Plastic Surgery, Dr Carmen firmly believes that a good surgeon is first a good doctor. She will always take into consideration all the health aspects and personal circumstances of each patient.

A dedicated Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr Carmen is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

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– Dr Carmen Munteanu

M.D. FRACS(Plas) Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon

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