A breast lift (mastopexy) is a surgical procedure that treats sagging breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the remaining tissue. The end result is less sagginess, along with more shapely and contoured breasts.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, it’s estimated that surgical breast lifts have gone up 70 percent since 2000. This procedure now surpasses other surgical breast treatments such as implants.
Despite their increased popularity, even more patients are opting for nonsurgical breast lifts.
In a nonsurgical breast lift, no cuts or incisions are involved. You also don’t have to be put under general anesthesia.
Nonsurgical procedures are arguably safer because they don’t pose the risks that a mastopexy might such as:
Nonsurgical breast lifts won’t provide the same dramatic results as a traditional mastopexy might. However, they’re still worth considering if you’re looking for a way to perk up your breasts with less risk and expense.
Here are 11 nonsurgical breast lift options that you can discuss with a dermatologic or cosmetic surgeon to see if they might be right for you.
The Aptos threading procedure is designed to physically move the skin around your breasts in an upward motion.
Aptly nicknamed the “breast feather lift,” this treatment uses small, barbed Aptos threads.
A cosmetic surgeon inserts the threads beneath your skin via a hypodermic needle. The threads are then secured together and pulled upward toward your collarbone.
Despite the use of implanted threads, the Aptos procedure is still a noninvasive breast lift, with results lasting up to 2 years.
Best of all, it doesn’t cause scars like traditional incisions, and the threads dissolve in 1 to 2 years.
The average cost of an Aptos thread lift is $2,250 according to a RealSelf survey.
First created as a form of muscle injury treatment, the Caci bust treatment targets your chest muscles. Using a handheld device, a surgeon focuses electric pulses on the muscles surrounding your breasts.
The end results are more toned chest muscles that help create a lifting and smoothing effect for your breasts.
Like any other form of muscle strengthening, your results are dependent on time and frequency. A surgeon will likely recommend sessions a few times a week for up to several weeks to see full results.
A package of Caci treatments can cost up to $2,000.
Laser therapy uses high-power energy beams to remove dead skin cells while also increasing collagen production. For this reason, laser treatments are commonly used for advanced wrinkle therapy, age spots, and scars.
Increased collagen production can slightly increase skin elasticity in your chest area, but any “lifting” results would be temporary and minor at best. And repeated treatments are necessary to see any visible results.
Part of the problem is that the ligaments in your breast tissue aren’t made in the same way as those in your face, so you may not get the same tightening results in your breasts that you would in facial skin.
Laser treatments carry the risk of:
Skin color changes are also possible.
The average laser treatment can range between $1,144 and $2,071.
Thermage is another type of collagen-stimulating procedure. It uses radio waves to help tighten the protein fibers within your skin.
During the process, a cosmetic surgeon uses a device called ThermaCool, which helps deliver radio waves to deeper skin layers. After a Thermage treatment, you’ll likely see tighter skin immediately.
Tightened collagen fibers in the chest area can also enhance your natural contours. However, you’ll need to repeat your treatment, as these effects are only temporary. Thermage works best in cases of mild sagging.
The average cost for Thermage treatment is $1,802 per session.
The Renuvion/J-Plasma device is a newer technology for less invasive tightening. Cold plasma energy promotes skin contraction as well as the production of new collagen.
The device carefully delivers rejuvenating effects to the target area and defines the natural contours of the body utilizing helium gas ionized with radio frequency (RF) energy.
Similar to Thermage, the procedure involves the plastic surgeon inserting a probe under the skin that needs to be tightened and treating it with plasma energy.
There are some minimal results immediately with longer-acting results taking several months as the new collagen is developed.
Only one treatment is usually necessary.
The average cost for Renuvion/J-Plasma treatment is between $3,000 and $15,000.
As a procedure using newer technology, cost estimates may be limited. For specific information regarding expected costs, talk with your plastic surgeon.
A vampire breast lift (VBL) is an anti-aging procedure that uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from your own blood. The overall goal of a VBL is to slightly lift your breasts, similar to that of wearing a push-up bra.
While this procedure won’t treat sagging breasts per se, it can give the appearance of a lift with the help of increased blood circulation along with less noticeable wrinkles and scars.
Like other cosmetic procedures, a VBL is performed by cosmetic and dermatologic surgeons. The results are seen gradually within a few months, with the overall results lasting a couple of years.
The VBL isn’t recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those who have a history of breast cancer.
On average, a VBL costs $1,700.
Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections work by relaxing the muscles underneath your skin. This helps to create a smoothing effect on the skin’s surface.
Botox was first introduced on the market for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles. Since then, it’s also been approved to help treat chronic migraine.
While some physicians may use Botox injections in the pectoral area to prevent slouching shoulders, this treatment isn’t FDA-approved as a breast-lifting method. The results are minor and last up to 4 months.
The average cost of Botox injections is $376 per treatment. Chest exercises could produce similar results at a much lesser cost.
Other injections typically used for the face are also being considered for the breast area. These include hyaluronic acid (HA)-based dermal (soft tissue) fillers, such as Juvéderm and Restylane.
The most common dermal filler for this use is Sculptra, which is a poly-L lactic acid. It lasts several months when injected. It stimulates the body to produce new collagen in the area that’s treated. It usually requires several treatments to see any results.
While not invasive, cosmetic fillers aren’t considered go-to treatments for the breast area due to a lack of long-term studies on their efficacy.
Also, please note that all the dermal fillers listed here
Cosmetic fillers are charged by the syringe, so your overall cost would depend on how many are used for breast lifting. In 2018, the average HA syringe costs $682.
Exercise not only helps shrink body fat cells, but certain types of exercise can also strengthen and tone. Upper body exercises, such as push-ups and triceps dips, help strengthen the chest muscles.
If you want to further target the muscles in your chest, the American Council on Exercise found that the top three chest exercises are:
While chest exercises strengthen and tone your muscles, no workout will give you the same lift in the breasts that surgery and other cosmetic procedures can.
Instead, you might consider chest exercises if your skin elasticity is intact overall and you have minimum to mild sagging. Consider working with a trainer if you’re new to strength training exercises.
Bras are used for comfort and support, and you may even opt for versions with different colors and fabrics for fun.
When it comes to lifting your breasts, though, a new bra can be one of the most affordable and accessible options available. Wearing the right bra can also help prevent your breasts from sagging in the first place.
The only way you can know whether you need a new bra size is by determining the right fit for you. Consider these fitting tips here.
If you’re still unsure, make an appointment with an expert at your local bra boutique.
Just as there are anti-aging creams to help minimize the appearance of sagging skin on your face, there are shaping creams designed for your neck and chest.
These creams promise to help tone your skin while minimizing fine lines and age spots.
While less expensive options in the short run, shaping creams can’t actually lift your breasts. Instead, the skin treated around your breasts might look firmer and feel softer.
While nonsurgical breast lifts are far less invasive than surgical options, they can still come with a few side effects. So, even though you’ll be able to get back to your daily activities without any downtime, don’t be surprised if you notice irritation, redness, or discomfort after your procedure.
Here are a few of the most common complications that can arise after certain types of nonsurgical breast lifts.
With some kinds of nonsurgical breast lifts, irritation such as redness, bruising, swelling, or discomfort can occur in the days that follow the procedure.
With Aptos threading, for instance, you may notice redness in the areas where the threads were inserted. Or, with caci bust treatment, you may feel slightly sore after your session. Even wearing a new bra can cause some skin irritation or muscle soreness.
In most cases, however, the irritation should be temporary. If you notice pain, swelling, or skin irritation that lasts longer than a few days, we recommend speaking with your doctor.
If you opt for a Botox treatment on your breasts, normal Botox complications can occur. These include:
- minor bruising
- allergic reactions
Most Botox reactions are temporary and mild, but if you notice side effects that concern you, contact your provider immediately.
If you decide to strengthen and tone your chest muscles with exercises, be careful not to overwork your muscles. Excessive exercise on one muscle group can lead to strains or pulled muscles.
Nonsurgical breast lifts won’t offer the same results as traditional surgery, but they may be worth considering if you don’t want to undergo a full mastopexy.
If you don’t want surgery, ask your plastic surgeon about other breast lifting options for which you may be a candidate.
Regardless of what you decide, it’s important to work with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon.
Beware of any procedure that promises dramatic lifting to your breasts with little work. If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is.