Many women who come into the office are not 100% sure of what they want—they look to us for suggestions. One question we hear a lot is, “What’s the difference between a breast lift and a breast augmentation.” One procedure makes the breasts larger, the other lifts them, but there are some more subtle differences patients should be aware of. One way to think about the difference between these procedures is to consider the different results each procedure is trying to achieve.
Breast augmentation, technically known as augmentation mammaplasty, is a surgical procedure that enhances the size of a woman’s breasts. Because it involves implants, it technically also reshapes the breast—the surgeon has to decide how high to place the implant. Breast augmentation is a good choice for women who are looking to enlarge their bust line and are comfortable with an increase of at least one cup size.
Augmentation is not recommended for women who have excessive sagging. Sagging is determined by the level at which the nipple sits relative to the mammary fold (the fold of skin on the underside of the breast). If the nipple is lower than the beginning of the mammary fold, a lift should be considered instead of, or simultaneously with, augmentation.
Breast lift surgery is designed for women whose breasts have lost their elasticity over time. When that happens, a “deflated” look medically known as ptosis can make the breasts appear as if they’re drooping.
Over time, breasts can begin to droop or sag due to aging or childbirth; when sagging is moderate to severe, and an increase in size isn’t desired, a breast lift is the an ideal solution. A simple test to determine if a breast lift is needed is to place a pencil under your breast—if it stays there, you are likely a good candidate for a breast lift.
During breast lift surgery, excess skin is removed from the breasts, and the remaining skin is tightened. The goal of breast lift surgery is to help a woman attain firmer, younger-looking breasts that are proportionate to the rest of her body. A breast lift can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.
A Powerful Combination
It is quite common for the breasts to have suffered a loss of volume and have significant sagging. In these cases, performing an augmentation and a breast lift together will help some patients achieve the look they desire.
The lift is usually performed first, to remove excess skin/tissue and to ensure the nipple is centered on the breast. Once that procedure has been executed, implants can then be inserted. The procedures can be done in a single session so that multiple surgeries are not necessary.
Have a question about whether a breast augmentation or a breast lift (or both) are right for you? Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.