Despite the fact that breast lifts aren’t breast reductions (although they usually do remove some excess sagging skin), some people believe a breast lift actually makes the patient’s breasts smaller.
Answering that question was the focus of a recent study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons on breast lifts and bra cup sizes. Surprisingly, the report found that following a breast lift women reported they were wearing a smaller bra, with an average decrease of one bra cup size. But these results weren’t a result of the breasts actually being smaller, but are due to the changing profile of the breast rather than a true reduction in breast size.
Dr. Katie Elizabeth Weichman and her colleagues at New York University conducted the study and reported their results in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in July 2014. The sample size is far from dramatic, but the results are surely interesting.
In the study, the researchers conducted a follow-up survey of 20 women who underwent a breast lift, clinically termed mastopexy, at an average age of 47. All of the patients only had a breast lift, without augmentation or reduction. The study queried these women five years after their surgeries, asking about their bra cup size before versus after breast lift surgery. Weight changes and other relevant factors were taken into consideration.
The women reported an average decrease of approximately one cup size, for instance going from a D to a C. All of the women were wearing the same brand of bra, so there were no variations based upon manufacturer sizing differences.
Better fit, not smaller size
When looking at the results, the researchers wondered why, if the breasts were only lifted and not reduced, was there a change in cup size? The authors of the study chalked this up to the correct bra fit and patient comfort. In their results, the study authors noted, “It is well known that most women do not wear the correct bra size.”
The authors then attributed the bra size issues to the difference in the shape of the breasts before and after a lift. Women opting for a breast lift have ptosis (sagging) of the breasts from pregnancy, breastfeeding, and normal aging. The study says, “It is our contention that the ptotic breast fills out a larger (than actual) brassiere cup size.” Most likely this is because sagging breasts have more of their mass sitting lower on the chest. A larger cup-size bra may be more comfortable in this situation. When the breasts are raised, more mass sits higher, so women opt to have a smaller cup size for reasons of comfort.
So, it’s not a matter of losing size, it’s a matter of raising the breast mass to a higher profile, which is exactly the reason a woman opts for a breast lift. As a final note, all of the 20 women in the study said they were satisfied with the results of their breast lift surgery.
If you’re fed up with your sagging breasts either from childbirth and breastfeeding or simple aging, a breast lift with Dr. Saltz could be the answer. Call us at our Salt Lake City or Park City offices to schedule a consultation.