What Are the Different Types of Breast Lifts?

Do you fondly remember a time when your breasts were firmer, rounder or perkier? Or perhaps they’ve never had the fullness you desire.

If so, now is the time to consider mastopexy – a.k.a. a breast lift. In this procedure, a plastic surgeon can raise and reshape your breasts to give them the look you desire.

The surgeon can also remove extra skin around your areola, if so desired, to reduce the size of it.

Different types of breast lifts serve different purposes. The one that’s best for you will depend on the appearance of your areola and level of ptosis – the medical term for sagging.

Why Do Breasts Sag?

Most women experience sagging at some point in their lives.

Pregnancy is one big culprit. During pregnancy and nursing, the breasts become engorged with milk. Once milk production ceases post pregnancy, the breasts decrease in size – often resulting in drooping. This is exacerbated with each additional pregnancy.

Weight loss can also create sagging. The skin and support structures of the breast accommodate for weight gain. Similar to pregnancy, once that weight is shed, if the tissue doesn’t have enough elasticity, the breast can’t regain its shape and will droop.

Of course, age is a factor – in both the above situations and just in general. Over time, gravity causes breast tissue to stretch downward. Plus, tone and elasticity decrease as we age.

Finally, in some cases, ptosis is congenital. Some adolescent girls develop breasts that sag and have downward pointing nipples – leaving them to feel extremely self-conscious about the appearance of their breasts.

The Three Grades of Ptosis

To simplify, there are three components to a breast.

First there is the nipple and the skin that surrounds it (the areola). Second, there is the glandular tissue and fat that compose the breast, known as the parenchyma. Third, there is crease underneath the breast which is referred to as the inframammary fold.

In a youthful breast, the nipple and parenchyma sit above the inframammary fold.

When there is mild sagging and the nipple lies at the level of the inframammary fold with the parenchyma below it, this is considered Grade 1 Ptosis.

With Grade 2 Ptosis there is more moderate sagging. In this case, the nipple sits below the level of the inframammary fold, but is still above the lowest hanging part of the parenchyma.

It’s considered Grade 3 Ptosis when the sagging is severe enough that the nipple lies well below the inframammary fold and at the bottom of the breast. At this stage, it is situated at the lowest hanging part of the parenchyma along the inferior contour of the breast.

Once the grade of ptosis is determined, then the surgeon can recommend a specific type of breast lift.

Different Types of Breast Lifts

There are basically four types of breast lifts.

A crescenteric lift is performed on patients whose breasts sag minimally.  This is often the lift of choice when the areola needs to be raised around 0.5 to 1 cm. A crescent shaped incision is made at the top of the areola margin.

With a periareolar lift, the size of the areola can be reduced. It also helps to correct a mild degree of sagging. In this procedure, a donut of skin is removed around the areola to centralize the nipple-areola complex at the center of the mound. Approximately 1.5 cm of lift is achieved while reducing the diameter of an enlarged areola.

Designed for women who require a medium amount of surgical correction, two dimensions of skin can be changed with a lollypop lift. Both the nipple areola complex location and the perkiness of the breast (reducing transverse excess skin) are addressed in this procedure.

A full lift is recommended when there is excessive sagging and a long hanging breast. In this procedure, all three dimensions of the skin envelope can be tightened along with nipple areola position, perkiness, and the  inframammary fold scar to reduce the vertical excess.

What About Breast Implants?

An implant alone increases projection and fills out the skin envelope or loose skin but does not lift a sagging breast.

As such, it’s not uncommon to combine an implant with any of the above lifts. This will depend on the level of ptosis, as well as degree of deflation (the volume loss which requires an implant, fat, or auto-augmentation to correct).

Could a Breast Lift Be Right for You?

If sagging breasts or overly large nipples are making you feel self-conscious, let us help.

Contact us today to learn about the different types of breast lifts and which one may be right for you.

And head into the spring and summer with restored self-confidence and a “lift” in your spirits.