Breast Lift vs. Breast Implants- Which Procedure is the Right One for You?

Posted November 24, 2021
Difference between breast lift and breast implants

People may mistake a breast lift with a breast augmentation with implants, interchanging one over the other. And although both surgeries have the same intention of enhancing the look of breasts, each procedure solves very different issues a person faces with their breasts. 

A way to determine the difference between the two cosmetic surgeries is by asking yourself, "Do I want bigger breasts?" or "Do I want to fix the sagging look of my boobs" or both?   

A breast lift fixes the look of drooping breasts versus a breast augmentation with implants, helps by increasing your bust size.  

But what if you take issue with having both saggy boobs that you wish were larger?

We answer all these questions and further explain the difference between a breast lift vs. a breast augmentation with implants.   

What is the Difference Between a Breast Lift vs. Breast Implants?

A breast lift eliminates the look of drooping breasts by surgically removing excess skin and tissue, while a breast augmentation surgery adds volume by inserting implants into the breasts. 

It's good to note that a breast implant surgery doesn't solve the look of sagging skin, and a breast lift may decrease your breast size. Although the breast may appear to look more toned and positioned higher, a breast lift changes the chest's size due to the removal of the extra skin.

So, if you have the challenge of a deflated and flat chest, there is a procedure that includes a breast lift with breast implants simultaneously (we share this information a little further below), but first, what is a breast lift? 

Breast Lift Explained

breast lift is also known as a mastopexy, a surgical procedure that raises the breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning the nipples to project upward. 

An ideal look for breasts is when the skin is taut, making them look perky, and the nipples point upward. A breast lift addresses the loose skin and downward-pointing nipples that can come with aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or a major weight loss. These dramatic changes to the body can cause the skin of the breast to become stretched out, ultimately changing the shape to droop.

There are three techniques and methods for a breast lift: 

  • Standard Lift – A procedure involves the surgeon creating multiple anchor-shaped incisions around the areola (the border around the nipple), the base, and the breast crease to help tighten the areas by removing the extra skin. 
  • Donut Mastopexy – is a technique requiring less skin removal than the anchor incision method, resulting in less scarring and a faster recovery. The surgeon makes circumferential incisions around the areola and nipple to remove smaller amounts of skin tissue. This procedure is not ideal for patients with severe sagging breasts because the small amount of skin removed limits the lift.
  • Lollipop Lift – This lifting technique is also known as a vertical mastopexy. A surgeon makes an incision around the nipple and areola that travels down to the breast base (why it's called the "lollipop" lift). The surgeon removes the extra skin and sutures the incision close. 

Each technique addresses the sagging skin, but a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon will determine which method is the best one to perform. They will help recommend the type of breast lift that will help resolve a drooping breast issue. 

But what if sagging breasts is not the issue you are facing with your breast but the lack of size? That would call for a breast augmentation with implants.

Breast Augmentation with Implants Explained

Breast augmentation with breast implants aims to increase the size of the breasts. This procedure is one of the top cosmetic surgeries performed every year. A breast implant surgery can be purely cosmetic or reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients.  

There are many factors to consider when opting for a breast implant procedure. However, the most critical decisions to make are what type of implant is used, size, and where the implant is inserted. 

The different types of breast implant materials: 

  • Saline, a sterile saltwater solution
  • Silicone, a gel-like substance made from medical grade silicone

The patient ultimately decides the type of implant, but the surgeon should recommend the implant material that aligns with the patient's ideal outcome. 

Breast implants enter through one of four basic incisions:

  1. Inframammary is when the implant goes under the breast
  2. Peri-Areolar, the implant is inserted through the areola 
  3. Transaxillary, when the implant enters through the armpit
  4. Transumbilical is when the implant inserts through the belly button  

Deciding where the implants enter the patient varies from person to person. It is a decision that is discussed during a consultation and examination with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They will be able to advise the optimal method of breast implant surgery. 

Can You Have a Breast Lift and Implants? 

If you want to address both a saggy chest and smaller boobs, then a breast lift with a breast implant is a viable procedure to solve both issues.

A breast lift with breast implants can safely be done in one procedure. The benefit of this all-in-one surgery is reshaping the breast to be rounder and increasing the size from the implants.

A breast lift with breast implants will vary from patient to patient. The method of lift and insertion will depend on the size, shape, and amount of lift needed before the surgery. 

We always recommend discussing your options and the details of a breast augmentation with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon. Together, you will choose the ideal method to achieve the look you envision from your breast enhancement procedure. 

To find a board-certified cosmetic surgeon experienced with various breast augmentation procedures, take a look at our "Find a Doctor" navigation tool. 

- VM


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