Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity take their toll on a woman's breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. In many cases with mild sagging, the simple insertion of a breast implant can camouflage sagging by adding roundness and fullness to the upper breast. However, when the nipple hangs below the fold beneath the breast, or points downward, a breast lift is necessary.
Breast lift, mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts--at least, for a time. (No surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity.) Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. If your breasts are small or have lost volume--for example, after pregnancy, breast implants inserted in conjunction with mastopexy can increase both their firmness and their size.
The best candidates for the procedure are women with very small, sagging breasts who are realistic about what the surgery will accomplish. Breast lift surgery may be performed on women with larger breasts, but the effects may not last as long. Breast lift surgery may be performed on women of any age, but most plastic surgeons advise women to wait until after they have had children since additional pregnancies will usually stretch the skin again and reverse the effects of the procedure.