Implants will only make your breasts fuller. They will not lift your breasts, but they can create the illusion of a lift.
If your breasts are mildly droopy, a saline or silicone gel implant placed behind the pectoral muscle might help create the appearance of perkiness. That’s because as the implant fills out the upper portion of the breast, it also fills out the lower part, making it look as if the nipple has moved higher on the breast. It hasn’t. A silicone gel implant placed in front of the pectoral muscle might create the same illusion.
If your breasts are moderately to severely droopy and you get implants, it could look as if you have four breasts – with the breast implants up high and your natural breasts down low. A breast lift (mastopexy) would be a better choice. It would raise and firm up your breasts, giving them a more youthful look. I would accomplish this by moving the nipples to a higher position, removing excess skin, and then reshaping the breasts.
In medical lingo, ptosis is the word for a drooping body part; breast ptosis is classified as mild, moderate or severe. Hint: The “p” is psilent.
To determine your degree of droopiness, try the pencil test: Place a pencil horizontally along the crease under your breast, where your bra band would rest. Look in the mirror. Is the position of the nipple itself (not the areola) above, at or below the pencil?
If your nipple hangs below the pencil, you would need a breast lift to raise and reshape your breasts. If your nipple is at the crease, the approach is not as clear-cut; it depends on how much of a pick-me-up you are hoping for.
How do you know if you need a lift and implants? Put on your bra and look in the mirror. If you are satisfied with the size of your breasts, then a breast lift alone might be the right procedure for you. If you wish your breasts were bigger, you are probably a candidate for a breast lift and implants (an augmentation mastopexy).
Obviously, there are other measurements done during a consultation – without a pencil – to help you determine the best option for you.
Breasts can start drooping at any age depending on your genes, the elasticity of your skin, and if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight. If the skin doesn’t retract when some of the fat disappears from your breasts, you could be left with saggy or empty-looking breasts. It’s not uncommon for teens to have droopy breasts; some girls say that they were “born with saggy breasts” or that they “just developed this way.”
Age and pregnancy also take a toll. When you are pregnant, the developing placenta stimulates the release of hormones, causing your milk glands – and your breasts – to grow and swell. This rapid growth can also cause the skin to stretch. When the milk is gone, some women are left with less breast volume and/or droopiness. The same thing happens as women age: The skin naturally loses its elasticity, and breasts lose their shape and firmness.
Illustrations by Anoki Casey.