Are your nipples pointing south? Do you hate the look of your sagging, droopy breasts? You are not alone. Many women across Australia suffer from ptosis of the breast. As we age, our skin loses elasticity, causing gravity to drag our breasts down. Other factors such as smoking, significant weight loss and pregnancy can stretch and thin the skin past the point of it “bouncing back”. So what exactly are ptotic breasts and how can we combat them?
Ptosis of the Breast
Aging breast glandular tissue results in breast laxity, meaning that as you age your breasts may feel or look “empty” as the glandular tissue inside them reduces. Your breasts are made of tissues including heavy glandular tissue – that helps produces milk – and fat. Some women have a larger ratio of tissue in their breasts meaning theirs are heavier. Heavier breasts will tend to sag faster and further over time. Others feel their breasts have been left empty after breastfeeding as the amount of breast tissue reduces.
There are different levels – or grades – of ptosis. The first grade is known as mild-shape malformation. The second grade is known as moderate ptosis and many women at this level have difficulty with bra support and active sports, like running. Grade three ptosis usually results from significant size change, most likely due to pregnancy or serious weight loss. Grade four is known as Allotrophic skin as the breasts have poor collagen strength.
What Can Be Done?
Most patients seek breast lift due to moderate or severe stages of drooping. Mild to moderate drooping can be remedied with a breast implant or a breast lift with implants. However, you have many options when it comes to fixing breast ptosis.
Some women opt for a breast lift with no implants, also known as a mastopexy. Others prefer a breast lift with implants to give them a larger size. This is also known as a masto-augmentation procedure. Finally some women with very mild ptosis opt for a breast augmentation – which involves inserting a breast implant without a breast lift.
It is important to remember, however, that the more severe your breasts ptosis is, the more complicated procedure you may need. Discussing your case with your surgeon is important to decide whether you need a series of staged surgeries or a variation of any of the breast surgeries we’ve already mentioned.
Tell Me More about Breast Lifts!
A breast lift without implants repositions the breasts into a higher position on the chest. The result is similar to the look of wearing a bra, without one. The breasts look better and are returned to their original position. The downside is, naturally, scarring and that you will not increase fullness, firmness or size.
A breast lift with implants is similar to a breast lift, but also involves improving the fullness, firmness and size of the breast. The downside is, again, scarring. You may also need to replace your breast implants, with some women needing replacements every 10 years or so.
To find out more, visit our Breast Lift page.
Tell Me More about Breast Augmentation!
Breast augmentation involves the insertion of an implant without a lift. It increases the size, fullness and firmness of the breast, especially those that feel their breasts have become “emptier” after pregnancy or aging. Breast augmentation is mostly used in cases where there is not enough tissue but the skin is not too loose.
To find out more please visit our Breast Augmentation page.
How Do I Know Which Procedure is Best for Me?
It is best to discuss your situation with a professional plastic surgeon like Dr. Drielsma. However, there are some tests you can try at home. Breast augmentation is not right for you if you can fit two fingers behind the breast that the crease (also known as the inframammary fold). If you can place a pencil under your breast, in this fold, and it does not fall, you will also need a lift along with your augmentation.
Don’t have a pencil or pen to test with? Try putting your hands on your head. If your breasts still sag, you will need a lift. Look at the position of your nipple. If it falls below the fold and/or points to the ground, you will need a lift as well as augmentation and possible nipple placement surgery.
What About Scars and Post-Op?
Any surgery will leave a scar and it is important to understand your potential level of scarring by discussing it in depth with your surgeon.
Breast lifting has undergone considerable refinement over the years with reduction of scars and improvement of shape. Dr Drielsma was one of the first surgeons in Australia to introduce the “lollipop” minimal scar technique. This method gives a superior natural look with minimal possible scarring.
it is important to follow all your post-operative instructions to help improve your scar results as well as aid your healing. If you feel good, you will natural heal better. Scars will fade with time, and it will take your breasts about 12-18 months to fully settle into their final position.