When women undergo weight gain, the skin which surrounds the breast undergoes expansion due to extra fat pushing the skin outwards. The connective tissue framework is stretched as a result of the accumulation of excess fat. Genetic influences can play a key part in determining the amount of breast sagging and loss of breast firmness as a result of weight gain followed by weight loss. Women who have large breasts will generally have increased breast sagging compared with women who have much smaller breasts or may even be flat-chested. This is due to the weight of the breasts which contributes to skin stretching. Pregnancy can also contribute to an increase in breast sagging.
The female breasts are composed primarily of fat and glandular tissue contained within a framework of connective tissue and supporting ligaments. These supporting ligaments become stretched when the breast enlarges with weight gain and do not return to their original length once breast volume has decreased as a result of weight loss. The end result is the development of permanent sagging breasts with a loss of breast firmness leading to the appearance of drooping breasts. The definitive treatment for the correction of sagging breasts caused by weight loss is a breast lift procedure also known as a breast uplift or mastopexy. For patients who are also keen to increase breast volume along with an improvement in shape, the options of breast augmentation with implants or fat transfer breast augmentation are highly effective surgical techniques for increasing the size of the breasts.
When patients gain weight as a result of a poor diet and/or inadequate exercise, excess fat is deposited in all parts of the body including the breasts. Women may notice their breasts increase in size when they gain weight and this contributes to the stretching of the ligaments and connective tissue within the breast itself. The subsequent loss of weight especially over a short period of time does not lead to correction of the stretched ligaments despite the loss of the excess fat in the breast.
The breasts often look visibly deflated and droopy after dramatic weight loss with an associated loss of breast firmness. The resulting unsightly appearance of the breasts can lead to a significant loss of self-confidence for many women affected by sagging breasts as a result of weight loss.
Breast sagginess that has developed as a result of weight loss can be effectively corrected with cosmetic breast surgery which is designed to improve the size and shape of the breasts. There are three main techniques used by how expert surgeons at Centre for Surgery:
- Breast lift (mastopexy) – breast lift surgery effectively reshapes the breasts with enhanced firmness and the elimination of breast sagging
- Breast augmentation with implants – the size of the breasts can be effectively increased using the latest generation of breast implants. Breast firmness is increased as a result of the implants stretching out the skin envelope
- Fat transfer to breasts – natural breast augmentation can increase the size of the breasts using your body’s own fat. Fat is first removed using liposuction before being injected into the breasts for enhancement of breast volume and the reduction of breast sagginess
Breast lift surgery is commonly combined with breast augmentation whether using implants or fat transfer for improvement of both breast shape and size. At your consultation with a specialist breast surgeon, you will be able to ask the questions which you need to gain a full understanding of the right treatment for you.
Can weight loss cause sagging breasts?
Women who previously had perky breasts may find that this is lost following a significant amount of weight loss. Generalised weight loss can affect fatty tissue in the breasts leading to smaller breasts although a saggy appearance is not uncommon. This is due to the connective tissue ligaments which support the breast being unable to return to the original length. The end result is a saggy looking breast that can often look deflated and with an associated loss of breast firmness.
Can saggy breasts be treated in women who have undergone weight loss?
Sagging breasts can be very effectively treated with cosmetic breast surgery including a breast lift, breast augmentation and fat transfer to the breast. These techniques can be used in combination for an even more dramatic improvement and restoration of a perky looking breast.
Can breast sagging be prevented?
The occurrence of breast sagging over time cannot be prevented. The natural ageing process will cause a loss of volume in the breast and the ligaments and connective tissue will gradually stretch over time. The best treatment for the correction of breast ptosis is surgery for the preservation of a youthful-looking breast.
The firmness and elasticity of the breast can be effectively improved with breast lift surgery which is designed to remove redundant stretched tissue and surgically reposition the remaining tissue to optimise the appearance of the breast mound and the nipple-areola complex. Your surgeon will take extra care to preserve the vascular supply to the nipple during any type of breast lift surgery. After any type of breast lift surgery, the position of the breast will naturally migrate downwards to a small extent once the swelling has settled down. Your surgeon will compensate for this by positioning the nipple higher than intended. The expected outcome of breast lift surgery is a more youthful-looking and perky breast with increased upper pole fullness which looks natural and harmonious with the rest of your body anatomy.
Depending on the size of your breasts, your breast lift surgeon may also perform breast reduction surgery or breast enlargement to decrease or increase the size of the breast respectively. These procedures can be carried out at the same time as the breast lift procedure and accurate treatment planning will take place at your face-to-face consultation.
The appearance of female breasts differs significantly between individuals and in the same individual over time. The ageing process, weight loss or weight gain, pregnancy and breastfeeding and hormonal changes can affect the size and shape of the breast over time.
Many patients can achieve very modest improvements in the shape of the breasts by eating sensibly and carrying out regular exercise to strengthen the chest wall muscle which helps in developing better posture. However, these changes can take a long time to develop. The only effective way to improve the appearance of sagging breasts is with breast uplift surgery.
How do I get firmer-looking breasts?
The improvement of breast firmness and the reduction of breast sagging for a more youthful appearance can only be achieved with breast uplift surgery. Breast uplift surgery involves the surgical removal of redundant skin and soft tissue followed by repositioning of breast tissue to improve the appearance of the nipple and breast mound so that they sit higher up on the chest. Breast lift surgery on its own is not a treatment for the enhancement of breast volume. The only way to increase the volume of the breasts is with a breast augmentation involving implants or fat transfer breast augmentation.
Despite optimum correction of breast shape and size, women will still undergo the ageing process which could lead to changes in the shape of the breasts after a number of years. Breast lift surgery however is considered a long-term solution for the improvement of sagging breasts.
Our surgeons would recommend having a breast lift procedure at the appropriate time to get the best results and to maintain them over time. Pregnancy and childbirth could affect the results of any previously performed mastopexy surgery due to stretching of the breast. It is best to have breast lift surgery once a woman has completed her family. For women who have been breastfeeding their baby, women should wait at least six months before having a breast lift to allow the breasts to heal and allow the breasts to reach a stable shape.
The best way to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for breast lift surgery is to have a face-to-face consultation with an expert breast surgeon at Centre for Surgery in London. Your surgeon will listen to your ideas, concerns, and expectations for breast uplift surgery and will carry out a comprehensive clinical assessment to determine the best treatment for you.
Centre for Surgery is a specialist cosmetic surgery clinic based at 95-97 Baker Street and we are renowned for our expertise in all aspects of cosmetic breast surgery using the safest and most advanced techniques to ensure optimal patient outcomes. To learn more about breast lift surgery, we would recommend a consultation with a top breast lift surgeon at our London clinic.