Are Breast Implant Surgeries Taking A Back Seat To Lifts?
March 31, 2014

Are Breast Implant Surgeries Taking A Back Seat To Lifts?

[ Watch the Video: Breast Lifts Outpace Implants 2 To 1 ]

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

While breast implants are still the most popular plastic surgery among women, breast lifts have been growing in popularity in recent years, according to new statistics released on Monday by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

"Many women are looking for a youthful breast by using the tissue they already have," said Dr. Robert X. Murphy, president of the ASPS, in a press release.

"The breast lift procedure is way up in my practice," said Dr. Anne Taylor, an ASPS-member plastic surgeon in Columbus, Ohio. "More women are coming to us who've had children, whose breast volume has decreased and who are experiencing considerable sagging. For many of them, we are able to get rid of excess skin and lift the breasts back up where they're supposed to be."

According to the society’s own statistics, breast lift operations have grown by 70 percent since 2000, outpacing implants two-to-one. The ASPS also said women between the ages of 30 and 54 made up nearly 70 percent of the more than 90,000 breast lift procedures performed in 2013.

Many women lose breast tissue as they age and coupled with natural sagging over the years – some women may feel they need cosmetic surgery to address the issue. A breast lift procedure, also known as mastopexy, involves raising the breasts by removing skin and reshaping the surrounding tissue. In its official website, the ASPS warns that a breast lift does not increase the size of the breast or round out the upper part of the breast.

"The ideal candidate for a breast lift is a woman who has a good amount of breast tissue left, who doesn't necessarily want to have implants," Murphy said. "Many women aren't sure if they are a candidate for this type of surgery, but a simple pencil test can tell them if they are.”

Murphy said a pencil test is self-test that can be performed by a woman simply placing a pencil under her breast.

"If the breast tissue holds the pencil in place against the chest, that implies that there's a hanging nature to the breast that can be fixed with a lift,” Murphy said.

According to the ASPS statistics, less than 53,000 breast lifts were performed in 2000. Last year marked first time that number eclipsed 90,000. However, breast implants are still the most popular plastic surgery procedure for women. In 2013, there were more than 290,000 breast augmentation procedures conducted by ASPS member surgeons – representing a growth of 37 percent since 2000, just less than half the rate of breast lifts.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the rate of breast reconstruction after mastectomy has increased over the years, up more than 20 percent since 1998.

While some said the news was a positive sign that more women are becoming aware they have the option of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, some surgeons said it might not all be good news after all.

“It is great to see that more women are becoming aware of the option for breast reconstruction after mastectomy,” said Dr. Chet Nastala of the PRMA Center for Advanced Breast Reconstruction. “Unfortunately, the study also suggests that women are mostly being offered breast implants rather than tissue flap techniques.”