Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

The Top 8 Questions You Need to Ask Before Having Breast Uplift Surgery

In this page you can find out the following:

  1. What makes breasts sag?
  2. How do I know if my breasts are sagging?
  3. Does pregnancy and breastfeeding make breasts sag?
  4. I am young and have sagging breasts, is this normal?
  5. Breast implant vs breast lift – What’s the difference?
  6. How do breast uplifts work?
  7. Are there alternatives to breast uplift surgery?
  8. How much does a breast uplift cost?

1. What makes breasts sag?

Breasts are made up of fatty tissues and milk glands. There are no muscles in the breasts so this can make them susceptible to sagging.

The four main reasons why breast sag:

  1. The ageing process causes breasts to sag because the ligaments that hold the breast tissue to the chest stretch over time and lose elasticity. Investing in a well-fitting bra, particularly during pregnancy and after childbirth, may help prevent some sagging.
  2. Fluctuations in weight, including weight gained and lost during pregnancy, can cause the breasts to shrink and lose their shape. Maintaining a consistent weight can help prevent this.
  3. Elastin is the protein that gives our skin its elasticity. Smoking breaks down elastin and this can cause the breasts to droop. Stopping smoking will prevent further damage to the skin.
  4. Strenuous exercise, such as running, can also put excess pressure on these ligaments –although this is only a minor factor. Toning exercises won’t help firm up breasts as breast tissue contains no muscles. However, strengthening the muscles underneath the breasts (pectorals) can give the breasts the appearance of being slightly lifted.

2. How do I know if my breasts are sagging?

The three stages of sagging breasts are illustrated below. Breasts tend to sag with age and after periods of weight gain and loss – pregnancy being a prime example – so it’s less likely that a young woman who hasn’t had children will have sagging breasts.

Post-menopausal women may require a breast lift as oestrogen levels drop permanently, causing the network of mammary glands and ducts to shrink – making the breasts look and feel deflated.

Sagging breasts are completely normal but if you are unhappy with the shape of your breasts then you may want to speak to a surgeon about having a breast uplift.

The 3 stages of sagging breasts

Stage 1

Stage 1 refers to breasts where the bottom of the nipple is the same level as the inframammary fold. This is the crease where the base of the breast joins the chest. At stage 1 the breasts are just beginning to sag.

Stage 2

At this stage, the nipple sits below the inframammary fold and below the majority of the breast tissue.

Stage 3

In stage 3 breasts, the nipple points downwards and sits far below the inframammary fold.

3. Does pregnancy and breastfeeding make breasts sag?

Pregnancy can be a contributing factor to sagging breasts. This is due to the weight gain experienced during pregnancy putting pressure on the ligaments and skin that support the breast tissue.

During pregnancy, most women’s breasts will gradually grow larger (often by at least one cup size), then grow even bigger after the baby is born and the breasts start producing milk. The more pregnancies a woman has, the more likely she is to experience sagging breasts.

A study has shown that breastfeeding doesn’t cause the breasts to sag, and most women find their breasts return to their pre-pregnancy shape after finishing breastfeeding.

Is now the right time for a breast lift?

If you think you may have more children then it’s best to wait to have an uplift until you have completed your family. This is because the changes to the shape of the breasts as a result of pregnancy may mean that you will require another uplift after any subsequent pregnancies.

4. I am young and have sagging breasts, is this normal?

Absolutely, although breast sagging is usually caused by the ageing process, young women can also experience drooping breasts and often this is down to genetics. This could be because during puberty breasts can grow very quickly, putting pressure on the ligaments and skin that hold the breasts in place. 

5. Breast implant vs breast lift – What’s the difference?

The purpose of breast uplift surgery is to lift and reshape breasts that have drooped. Implants alone will not prevent breasts from sagging. A breast lift does not increase the size of the breasts, unless you opt to have implant surgery as well.

Whether a breast lift and/or breast implant surgery is right for you will depend on a number of factors:

  • Breast lift – the best candidates for a breast lift include women who are happy with the size of their breasts but unhappy with the shape. Often, women who require a breast lift have breasts that are drooping, with nipples that are very low or even pointing downwards.
  • Breast enlargement – women who are happy with the shape of their breasts but who would like them to be larger are good candidates for a breast enlargement procedure. This can help small amounts of droop.
  • Both procedures – women who would like larger, less droopy breasts can have both procedures done during the same operation. This will make the breast larger and more elevated.

6. How do breast uplifts work?

During a breast lift procedure, breast tissue and the nipple are elevated from below the inframammary fold to above the fold. A ‘flap’ of skin from the upper part of the breast containing the nipple keeps the blood supply and nerve supply to the nipple intact. Excess skin and breast tissue is removed, before the remaining breast tissue is reshaped. The results are perkier, better proportioned breasts.

You can find out more about the process involved in a breast uplift on the page Breast Lift – Improve the shape of your breasts.

7. Are there alternatives to breast uplift surgery?

There are claims that certain creams can help lift the breasts but none of these have the same impact as a surgical breast lift or have been proven to work.

Products such as uplift tape and a well-fitting bra can offer a short-term solution to sagging breasts.

8. How much does a breast uplift cost?

Stephen McCulley’s costs for a breast uplift are as follows:

From £3,450 for one breast

From £4,950 for both breasts

From £5,975 when including implants

For more information on the costs of the procedure and on breast lifts in general, please visit the page Breast Lift – Improve the shape of your breasts.

To make an appointment for a consultation with Stephen McCulley, contact the clinic here.

Related Content

You can find out more about breast enlargement procedures with our frequently asked questions.

Read more about the risks involved with having a breast procedure in Your Guide to Breast Augmentation and the Associated Risks.