Breasts can sag and droop due to many factors, leading to breast ptosis (where the nipple position lies lower when compared to the inframammary crease (the lower breast crease which meets the chest wall).
Often weight changes, pregnancy and lactation and factors that reduce dermal collagen and skin tone and cause breast volume deflation tend to accelerate breast sag. Most of the time, the breasts sagging/drooping cannot be prevented, but a breast lift can reduce the signs of breast ageing and breast ptosis/sagging. But how long can the breasts remain lifted?
Some surgeons would argue that a breast lift/mastopexy lasts a long time. Others believe it is not long lasting as some of the factors that cause breast ptosis still remain after a lift and over time, the breasts will sag again, but perhaps not to the same degree.
The longevity of a breast lift depends on both patient and surgical factors.
The patient factors include the patient’s skin tone and elasticity, the weight of their breasts and lifestyle.
Women with poor skin tone (due to genetics, age, sun damage, significant weight loss etc) will have a higher likelihood of the breasts sagging sooner than those with good skin tone. Also, recurrent weight loss and future pregnancies may cause recurrent breast ptosis (breasts drooping/sagging).
Women with larger breasts will have a higher risk of their breasts drooping sooner after a mastopexy compared with the same patient with smaller breasts. This is due to gravity.
Of course, those with medical conditions that affect skin quality such as Diabetes and Connective Tissue Diseases and those who smoke and have sun damaged skin are more likely to have poorer skin elasticity and hence have breasts that may droop over time despite a breast lift.
The surgical factors that affect how long a breast lift lasts include the breast lift/mastopexy technique and whether the breast is enlarged with a breast implant or the breast are reduced at the same time.
A breast lift that relies on tightening the skin envelope alone probably will not last as long as one where the breast gland is reshaped and repositioned and where the lift does not rely on the skin envelope being tightened.
Placing a breast implant at the same time as a lift may decrease the longevity of the lift compared to a lift alone due to the effects of gravity on the added weight of the breast. The contrary applies when reducing the breasts.
Overall, a breast lift should last years but varies from individual to individual. It must be expected that even after a breast lift, gravity and the effects of ageing will always impact on our breasts sagging again – hopefully not to the same degree though.