A breast lift is intended to “lift” the breasts, returning them to a higher position on the chest, a position they occupied before pregnancy, breastfeeding, and simple aging got in the way. There is a perception that a breast lift can also make the breasts actually smaller, not just higher. The thinking is that a breast lift involves trimming a fair amount of excess skin, so the breasts must get smaller, right?
That exact premise was the focal point of a recent study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons on breast lifts and bra cup sizes. 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 this is where the study got interesting. It found that the difference reflects the changing profile of the breast rather than a true reduction in breast size.
Details of the study
Dr. Katie Elizabeth Weichman and her colleagues at New York University conducted the study, publishing 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.
For the study, researchers performed a follow-up survey of 20 women who underwent a breast lift 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.
Not a decrease, but a truer fit?
These results first pointed to the “smaller breasts after a lift” camp being correct. But when the researchers tried to find how this could be possible since the breasts were only lifted and not reduced, they pointed to behavior, not surgery.
The study’s authors chalked this up to the correct bra fit and patient comfort. It said, “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.” This is probably due to more of the breast 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.
Do you feel as if your breasts now hang and sag, occupying a far lower position on your chest than just a few years ago? Call Dr. Smith at 843-705-8940 and set up a consultation for a breast lift.