More Women Getting ‘Boost’ Jobs: Breast Lifts Increasingly Popular
by Cosmetics Expert Mike Dune
Sag happens. At some point, most women’s breasts will lose the fight against gravity. But more and more women are not willing to give up the fight that easily. Plastic surgeons are seeing an increasing number of patients who want cosmetic breast surgery — not for breast implants, but to elevate sagging breasts.
The increasing popularity of breast lift surgery (mastopexy) is confirmed by the most recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®. The 2013 ASPS data show the number of breast lift procedures increasing at twice the rate of breast augmentation surgeries. Last year, the number of breast lifts topped the 90,000 mark in the U.S. for the first time, a 70% increase since 2000.
“Many women are looking for a youthful breast by using the tissue they already have,” said ASPS President Robert X. Murphy, Jr., M.D.
Breast augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic surgery, according to the ASPS, with more than 290,000 women getting breast implants in 2013. That’s a 37% increase since 2000. And many women combine a breast lift with implants, especially moms looking to restore both volume and perkiness to breasts deflated after breastfeeding their children.
What’s the reason for the increased interest in breast lifts?
Dr. Murphy says more women are realizing they can restore the aesthetically pleasing appearance of their breasts with existing tissue.
“The ideal candidate for a breast lift is a woman who has a good amount of breast tissue left, who doesn’t necessarily want to have implants,” Dr. Murphy says. “Many women aren’t sure if they are a candidate for this type of surgery, but a simple pencil test can tell them if they are,” he said.
To perform the pencil test, a woman simply places a pencil horizontally under her breast. If the breast holds the pencil in place, it’s probably sagging enough to benefit from a breast lift.
Dr. Jose Rios, an Illinois breast augmentation and lift specialist, points out on his website that women with larger breasts can also benefit from a lift combined with breast reduction. Because larger breasts are more affected by gravity, they have a tendency to sag more than smaller breasts.
Besides having large breasts, other reasons for breasts drooping (a condition called ptosis) include:
- Fluctuating weight: Whether you’ve lost significant weight after pregnancy or as part of a diet or weight-loss surgery, the skin enveloping your breast tissue is probably stretched.
- Running and exercising without support: Running and other vigorous exercise causes the breasts to repeatedly swing up and down and sideways, wearing out the collagen that keeps breast skin firm. Ill-fitting sports bras don’t help, so women should carefully shop for bras that support breasts without crushing them.
- Aging: Whether or not you’ve had children, gravity ultimately may sap the spirit of even the perkiest breasts. For some women, that process begins sooner than later. It depends mainly on collagen levels. Collagen diminishes over time, and genetics also play a role. Certain women simply have perkier breasts because they have stronger collagen fibers.
It’s also interesting to note the results of an extensive study released in 2013 that concluded that wearing bras may actually lead to sagging breasts. The French study generated international attention because the results undermined the belief that bras helped prevent sagging. Stay tuned on that issue as further research develops.