Time, pregnancy, weight fluctuations... All of these factors can change your body shape, particularly the shape of your breasts. One of the most difficult changes for women to deal with is breast ptosis, or sagging breasts. What is breast ptosis? What are its causes and, most importantly, how can it be treated?
Breast ptosis: what is it?
Breast ptosis is caused by a drooping mammary gland and slackening skin. It happens when the mammary gland slides down to the lower part of the breast, meaning the upper section looks empty and the nipples are too low.
There are different degrees of breast ptosis, which lead to different types of scars:
- Slight ptosis: the breast is starting to sag and the nipple is located on a level with the fold under the breast.
- Moderate ptosis: the nipple is slightly tilted downwards and is located beneath the fold under the breast.
- Severe ptosis: the areola is below the fold under the breast and the nipples are pointing downwards.
The purpose of classifying the ptosis as such is to enable the treatment of your breast ptosis to be adapted to your needs. As a result, the size of your scars will depend on the severity of your ptosis: an upside-down T, an anchor, or around the areola.
The causes of breast ptosis
There are many causes of breast ptosis, including hormonal variation, weight changes or sagging skin over time. In all these cases, breast ptosis is a source of insecurity. Many people therefore decide to have cosmetic surgery to correct their sagging breasts and re-create a shapely, revamped bust.
Significant weight gain
Excess pounds are distributed all over the body, including the chest, where fat can constitute up to 80% of the breast size. Excess breast tissue can cause the skin to sag. As a result, the skin can no longer do its job of containing the tissue. The skin sack sags and the chest droops.
Reducing glandular tissue
After significant weight loss, the upper section of the breast may appear ‘empty’, with a distended flap of skin that is disproportionate to its contents. Hormones have an impact on the mammary gland, primarily during pregnancy or menopause.
During pregnancy, the mammary ducts enlarge to prepare for breastfeeding. After weaning, the mammary ducts shrink again and the breast returns to its original size.
During menopause, the glandular tissue shrinks and is replaced by fatty tissue.
Your skin's qualities influence whether breast ptosis occurs or not. Elastic skin will reduce the severity of breast ptosis, while delicate skin will become unable to continue supporting the breast tissue.
With age, the skin loses its elasticity and firmness. This means the breasts tend to sag, as the skin can no longer adequately support the breast within.
Treating breast ptosis: mastopexy
Breast ptosis can only be corrected with a breast lift known as mastopexy. This procedure aims to firm up your bust when it is starting to sag. It lifts drooping breasts, fills in any hollow areas of your cleavage and resculpts the shape and firmness of your chest.