Breast Lift vs. Implants: Which Is Right for You?

Woman holding breasts with one arm, other arm extended holding breast implant in hand. (MODEL)

Breast lifts and breast augmentation with implants are popular procedures for patients seeking to improve their appearance, but the procedures are suited to different needs. Here’s what you need to know about breast lifts versus implants.

What Are the Differences Between the Procedures?

It’s natural to wonder how a breast lift and implants differ and which will give you the look you want. In a nutshell, breast lift surgery elevates the breasts to a perkier position, whereas breast augmentation increases breast size. Let’s look at each procedure and what it can accomplish.

Breast Lift

A breast lift raises, firms, and reshapes breasts that have started to sag or become deflated-looking over time. The procedure also repositions the nipple-areola complex and tightens the surrounding tissues that support the breasts.

Before & After Breast Lift Case 19 View #1 View in Birmingham, AL
Before & After Breast Lift Surgery

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation adds volume to the breasts using implants or fat transfer. No surgical lifting is involved, but the added fullness from implants can provide a slightly uplifted appearance depending on the degree of sagging (ptosis) before surgery.

Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation

The procedures can be performed independently or together. Many patients combine breast augmentation with a breast lift for optimal results. If you want to reduce the size of your breasts while lifting them, breast reduction can also be combined with a breast lift.

How Is a Breast Lift Performed?

Your surgeon will choose a breast lift technique to suit your individual needs, such as:

Lollipop Lift. Also known as a vertical lift, this approach is usually best suited to patients with relatively minor ptosis. In this method, the surgeon makes a small incision around each nipple and down to the crease under the breast. Through this incision, the surgeon removes excess tissue and skin, reshapes the breasts, and may reposition the nipple and areola.

Inverted “T” Breast Lift: Patients with more severe ptosis typically experience better results from a breast lift using a full inverted “T” or anchor-shaped incision. This procedure uses the lollipop lift incision pattern described above, and an incision is also made horizontally along the base of the breast in the inframammary fold.

Your surgeon will recommend the best approach for you, describe the location and degree of scarring, and advise how much improvement you can expect in the shape and contour of your breasts.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Implants?

Breast implants can be an excellent option for women who want to change the proportions of their bodies or restore breast volume lost due to pregnancy, weight loss, or aging. Additionally, they can offer a balanced appearance to patients with breasts of different sizes or shapes. But breast implants aren’t right for everyone.

Breast augmentation with implants is typically safe and effective when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon. Implants are designed to last more than 10 years and may even last up to 20 years, but at some point, you’ll need to replace or remove them.

If you’re considering breast augmentation, consider these questions:

  • Are you in good health?
  • Do you have realistic expectations?
  • Are you willing to make follow-up visits with your doctor as needed?
  • Are you willing to replace your implants or consider other options in the future?

What Are the Options With Breast Implants?

You have several choices to make when choosing your implants:

  • Implant size
  • Material (silicone or saline)
  • Placement (subglandular, subpectoral, or dual-plane)
  • Location of incisions (inframammary, periareolar, or transaxillary)

Your surgeon will recommend the best size, shape, and volume by examining your breasts and chest wall and considering your lifestyle, body type, and desired results. They may also use 3D and 4D imaging to show you what your breasts will look like with various implant sizes and styles. A good surgeon will discuss your aesthetic goals to help you make an informed decision about your options.

What Is Recovery From Breast Surgery Like?

Recovery from a breast lift or breast augmentation surgery will vary depending on the specifics of your procedure, your body, and your overall health. Your doctor will advise you about what to expect.

After surgery, you’ll experience some swelling, bruising, and soreness. You can expect to wear a specially-designed surgical bra in the weeks after surgery to provide support or compression around the clock. As with any surgery, it’s important to allow ample time for rest and healing before returning to your regular activities.

After your breast surgery, you’ll be given instructions on how to care for yourself at home. Your surgeon may recommend that you:

  • Rest for at least 24 hours after your procedure.
  • Sleep with pillows propped up behind your back or in a recliner
  • Take prescription pain medication as ordered by your doctor.
  • Apply ice packs to your breasts and chest after surgery to reduce swelling and improve healing.
  • Wear a surgical bra 24 hours a day for the first 1 to 2 weeks after your procedure.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for up to 6 weeks post-surgery.

Dr. Beckenstein is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in breast lifts, breast augmentation, and body contouring procedures. His Comprehensive Consultation includes a multimedia process that educates you about the procedures you’re considering. You can also browse the breast lift and breast augmentation before-and-after photo galleries to see photos of previous patients.

Request a Consultation

If you’re weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a breast lift versus implants, call our Birmingham, Alabama, office today at (205) 933-9308 or request a consultation.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.

Contact Shop Now