American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Perk up for spring: Why breast lifts are getting bigger than implants

why breast lifts are getting bigger than implants

Spring is the perfect time to perk up! No, we're not talking about spring cleaning. We are talking about breast lifts. Breast lifts are on the rise and slowly getting bigger than implants.

The latest statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show almost 300,000 patients underwent breast augmentation in 2022, a 4% gain over 2019. While breast augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic procedure, 143,364 breast lift procedures were performed in 2022, a whopping 30% increase over 2019.

What is causing the increase in breast lifts?

It is safe to say the popularity of breast lifts is on the rise, and for a good reason.

"First, the growing popularity of semaglutide weight loss medications, like Ozempic and Mounjaro, is causing dramatic weight loss that affects both the breast and body aesthetics," said ASPS Member Surgeon Anna Steve, MD. "Rapid weight loss causes changes to the breast that mimic post-pregnancy and breastfeeding changes, specifically droop, loss of volume, lowered nipple position and loose skin. For this reason, we are seeing a rapid increase in breast lifts among younger women who have never been pregnant or breastfed."

Dr. Steve also noted that some women are choosing to have their breast implants removed and are opting for a lift to reshape the breast and remove excess skin after the implant removal.

Other plastic surgeons are seeing similar trends in their offices as well.

"Breast lifts alone are becoming increasingly popular for women who have had children, those who have had weight fluctuations and those whose breasts have begun sagging with gravity and aging," said ASPS Member Surgeon Umbareen Mahmood, MD. "Many surgeons, including myself, use an auto-augmentation technique where we are able to preserve as much breast tissue as possible to maintain volume and give the illusion of a small implant, without the implant."

What is a breast lift and who is a good candidate?

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that helps raise the breasts by removing excess or loose skin and tightening the surrounding soft tissue to reshape and support the breast. Breastfeeding, dramatic weight loss, genetics, gravity and the natural aging process all take their toll on the skin and soft breast tissue.

Over time, women can experience sagging, drooping, loose skin and an overall change in their breast size and shape. Women may also see a "drop" in their nipples, to where the nipple does not sit in the center of the breast. For women who are happy with their size but unhappy with how their breasts look and feel, a breast lift is the ideal solution.

"Ideally, women who are done with childbearing or young women not planning on having children within the next two to three years, with a stable weight, who are nonsmokers, have no significant medical problems and have appropriate expectations of what the procedure can achieve are ideal candidates," said Dr. Mahmood.

While breast lifts are increasingly popular with the "mommy" demographic, Dr. Steve said those who have experienced dramatic weight loss and those who want to remove their breast implants are also good candidates. Patients considering a breast reduction may also want to pair that procedure with a breast lift for maximum results.

Can you expect perky results?

A breast lift doesn't increase the size of a woman's bust, but it can perk up the breasts, restoring a natural shape and "perky" aesthetic.

"With a breast lift, you can expect your breasts to be reshaped to a beautiful round contour, the tissue to be tightened and elevated on your chest, symmetry to be improved and the areola to be resized if it is enlarged," said Dr. Mahmood.

So, while a breast augmentation focuses more on size, a breast lift targets shape.

"Unlike an implant, a breast lift does not predictably restore volume to the upper portion of the breast," said Dr. Mahmood. "A breast lift creates a more natural-looking, sloped aesthetic on a profile view."

The consensus is a breast lift is an ideal way to change the natural shape of your breasts, maintaining their size while enhancing their shape and giving them the lift you'd expect from a wired push-up bra.

Spring break? How about spring recovery

Like any surgical procedure, expect to pencil in some downtime into your calendar following a breast lift. While you may feel like yourself again in as little as one to two weeks, be gentle with yourself and give your body time to heal.

"Patients are always surprised at how smooth the recovery for a mastopexy is," said Dr. Mahmood. "Pain is minimal, and most patients only need over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol. There are no drains, the stitches are all dissolvable and they just have to wear a surgical bra for about four to six weeks."

Dr. Mahmood said some patients feel ready to return to daily activities in only one or two days but cautions women against heavy lifting and working out for at least four weeks.

As always, it is important to remember that selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon who is an ASPS Member Surgeon specializing in breast procedures is vital to any good breast lift result and recovery.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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