This Article Has Been Medically Approved By

Dr. George H. Sanders


Women often come to a plastic surgeon’s office for breast lifting. Breasts droop because of pregnancy, weight loss, age, cigarette smoking, and menopause. A drooping breast is generally felt to be less attractive than a perky breast, so breast lift surgery is frequently requested.

Most women who ask for only a breast lift do not wish their breasts to change in size. They want a lift of the breast and hopefully some fullness in the upper part. On the surface of things, one would not expect that a mere lifting of the breast would cause the breasts to decrease in size by a significant amount. It has been my experience, however, that this often occurs. Curious! Why should a mere lifting decrease size?

One possibility is that the amount of skin removed accounts for a decrease in size. To reduce the breast by 1 cup size, however, one needs to remove about 200 grams of tissue. The typical amount of skin removed, however, weighs about 50 grams – not even close! A recent paper published in the September issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery analyzed this issue. A group of 20 women who underwent breast lift – also known as mastopexy – were interviewed after mastopexy surgery. They noted a 1 cup size decrease in bra size after surgery. Importantly, they did not change their weights, take hormones, or change bra manufacturers after surgery. The average amount of skin and breast tissue removed was about 60 grams, not even 1/3 of a cup! So why the decrease?

The authors conclude that it’s because women with drooping breasts who are fitted with a bra tend to select a larger bra size because it fits more comfortably. They are in effect fitted with a bra that is 1 cup size too large! After surgery when the lifted breast fits into a snugly fitting bra more comfortably, a smaller cup size is chosen.

The bottom line: Any woman who is considering a breast lift should understand that she is probably wearing a bra that is 1 cup size larger than her actual bra size. After surgery a newly fitted bra will fit more snugly and will thus more accurately reflect her true cup size measurement – probably 1 cup size smaller than what she wore before.

Comments? Feel free to leave them.

George Sanders, M.D.