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“Breast tissue develops over time,” he said. “This glandular tissue is very dense, but then as people age, it turns into fatty tissue which is much less dense.” Thus, breasts begin losing some of their perkiness.
Breasts also are supported by Cooper’s ligaments, connective tissue that essentially suspends breasts from the clavicle. “The way we’d remember them in med school was by calling them Cooper’s droopers,” Tran said, explaining that these ligaments do stretch over time from factors such as age, weight changes, number of pregnancies, hormonal changes and smoking.
Sagging, he said, “is an inevitability. Cooper’s ligaments aren’t discrete, like an ACL, but are all these tiny ligaments throughout the breast tissue. There’s really no way to tighten them.” Exercises to strengthen pectoral and back muscles may have an effect, but mostly because they result in improved posture.
The show must go on
Queenie von Curves, whose real name is Renata Shaffer-Gottschalk, has looked at bosoms from both sides now. As a company dancer with Ballet of the Dolls, she straps hers into submission with a heavy-duty sports bra, “and I’ve even been known to bind them with an ace bandage,” she said. “It’s a matter of comfort, just to be able to do the choreography.
“But in burlesque it’s, ‘How can I make these even more obvious to the crowd?’ ”
Happily, she’s found that her stage work holds some solution to the perils of sagging as she’s learned better techniques for manipulating her pectoral muscles.
“I feel I’ve evolved better muscles through tassel-twirling,” she said. “I’ve actually noticed a lift.”
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185