Cooper’s ligaments are specific soft tissues which are vital in creating the shape and tone of the breast. These ligaments are also responsible to holding up and supporting the breast tissue on the chest wall. Ligaments are a type of strong connective tissue which link interior anatomical components. Other common names for these structures include fibrocollegenous septa and Cooper’s suspensory ligaments.
This essay details the importance of Cooper’s suspensory ligaments and why they play such a vital role in breast aesthetics.
Cooper’s Ligaments Functions
These specialized ligaments are responsible for maintaining the structure of the breasts. They play a major role in the shape of the breast and help define the firmness and anatomical placement on the body.
Tighter, shorter ligaments will produce higher, firmer breasts.
Longer, lax ligaments will allow the breasts to droop in shape and placement.
It is natural and expected for these specialized ligaments to lose structural integrity, due to aging and other lifestyle-related changes, such as weight gain or loss, breastfeeding and repeated high impact activity.
While lax ligaments will not cause any health problems, or affect the functionality of the breast structures, they will produce ptosis of the soft tissues, which can be very emotionally damaging for some women to endure.
Cooper’s Ligaments and Cosmetic Surgery
Inframammary incisions are commonly a cause or contributor to ligament degeneration. These surgical wounds compromise the strength of these sensitive supportive tissues and can lead to premature breast sagging and even the deterioration or lowering of the natural inframammary crease.
This is most evident during an inframammary breast augmentation procedure, since the cut is made, but no corrective measures are used to repair or reinforce the possibly damaged ligament. Additionally, gravity puts the full weight of the breast implant right over the incision and damaged ligament.
Although breast reduction and breast lift procedures also often employ inframammary incisions, the nature of the operation allows for considerable reinforcement and repair to the internal breast structures, preventing or even reversing degeneration leading to breast ptosis.
Cooper’s Ligaments Synopsis
Remember to consider you breast ligaments when planning any cosmetic surgery procedure. Once damage is done here, it will need to be repaired using additional surgical techniques.
Not all inframammary incisions will do damage to the ligaments, but it is certainly always a risk. Make sure to discuss ligament damage with your cosmetic surgeon to find out if it might cause long-term aesthetic issues in your future.
Problematic conditions, such as bottoming out and double bubble, can be the direct result of ligament damage and might require aggressive treatment to correct. It is far better to prevent these occurrences by considering how a given procedure might affect your supportive breast ligaments in advance.