How long will the breast lift last? This is one of the most common questions from patients interested in breast lift surgery. Before we get into more detail, we should first consider why will the breast lift be necessary and when will breast augmentation alone not be sufficient to achieve a pleasing appearance.

Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure to improve the shape of the breasts. Most commonly, its purpose is to reduce ptosis, or droopiness, of the breasts. As an Albuquerque plastic surgeon, I have frequently been asked about breast lift.

I often find if useful to consider breast surgery in terms of two variables: volume and skin excess. Volume is also loosely known as the cup size. If the volume is too small, an implant may be needed. If too much, then a reduction should be considered. Skin excess is also know as droopiness or sagging. If too much skin is present, mastopexy, or breast lift is needed.

After her teenage years, a woman’s breasts generally start to lose their firmness. This is aggravated by pregnancies and breast feeding. Eventually the main shaping force of the breast contour is the skin. When we perform a mastopexy, it is mainly the skin that we tighten. Therefore, it is easy to understand when we ask “how long will the breast lift last,” we are actually asking how long the breast skin will resist stretching out.

Many factors affect the stretching of skin. Age, ethnicity, pregnancy and weight loss history will certainly play big roles. However, we cannot change these factors. The only variable that is within our ability to change is the size, and therefore the weight, of the implants that a patient desires to place in her breasts. The larger the total weight of the breasts (breast tissue plus implants), the more likely and quicker the breasts will droop.  While a breast life can last for many years, in some cases, drooping can occur in a matter of months.  In the case of breast lift without implants, reducing the weight of breasts can be also considered by breast reduction if that is appropriate.