When you lose five pounds, you might notice your pants fit better in the thighs and at the waist. Maybe for you, it’s your behind that responds to weight loss! To find out how losing weight affect breasts, we turn to three board certified plastic surgeons who specialize in breast surgery.
Does Weight Loss Mean Smaller Breasts?
“When I’ve gained and lost weight, my rings fit different, my watch fits different,” shares Dr. Shaun Parson of Scottsdale, Arizona. “We gain and lose weight everywhere on our body. Breasts aren’t any different.”
The truth about weight loss and weight gain, explains Parson, is that any fluctuation in weight will result in changes all over our body, even if it is more noticeable in one specific area than in others.
Anatomy of a Breast
Breasts are composed of the following:
- Fatty tissue
- Specialized breasts tissue, which includes ducts and glands
- Other tissue, including nerves, muscle, and connective tissue
While the basic components of a breast remain constant across all women, the amount of fatty tissue compared to the amount of specialized breast tissue varies.
“Women have a different percent of breast tissue to fatty tissue sometimes,” says Parson. This explains why some women gain and lose weight more noticeably in their breasts while others may notice it more elsewhere in their body.
“There are thin people who have large breasts, and there are people that are overweight and have small breasts,” adds Dr. Ned Snyder of Austin, Texas. “Most people have something that’s in between. They have a breast size that fits their body size, and as they gain and lose weight in their belly, they gain and lose weight in their breasts.”
Pregnancy and Breast Changes
“Another time that women gain and lose weight is during pregnancy,” points out Snyder. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can change both the composition and appearance of women’s breasts.
“Just like some moms have babies, and they have stretch marks, some moms have babies and they have changes with their breasts, while some moms don’t,” explains Parson. “Everybody is different.”
How Weight Loss Impacts Breast Surgery
Fad diets and weight loss programs are extremely popular. Many patients seek cosmetic breast surgery as a result of changes in their weight. Gaining and losing weight can have an effect not just on the number we see on the scale, but also on the quality of our skin.
If someone has lost a lot of weight and their breast skin is loose as a result, they may decide to have a breast lift to tighten and lift the skin, and they may opt for an implant to restore some lost volume.
It’s very important for plastic surgeons and patients to take the time during a consultation to discuss past weight changes and any future plans to lose weight.
“We always discuss, ‘Are you going to remain at this weight?’,” explains Dr. Robert Whitfield, partner to Dr. Snyder at the Breast and Body Center of Austin. “A ten to fifteen or twenty pound weight loss will change the breast volume and the skin laxity.”
To avoid a situation where a patient has breast surgery and then loses weight and has an undesired outcome as a result of loose skin in the breast, Dr. Whitfield encourages his patients to be at a stable goal weight for three to six months prior to any breast procedure.