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Breast Lift vs Augmentation: Achieving Your Desired Look

Published by Dr. Brandon Richland, MD

Breast lifts and augmentations are popular cosmetic surgeries that improve breast appearance but in different ways. A breast lift reshapes, lifts, and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening tissue. It can reposition nipples and areolas to a more youthful height. A breast lift corrects sagging breasts but does not substantially change breast size.

A breast augmentation uses saline or silicone implants or fat transfer from other parts of the body to increase breast size. It enlarges small breasts or restores the volume lost after weight loss or pregnancy. The surgeon creates a pocket and inserts the implant behind the breast tissue or under the chest muscles. An augmentation adds fullness but does not lift sagging breasts.

The choice depends on the patient’s specific goals and anatomy. A lift firm and reshapes, an augmentation enlarges. Many combine the two to increase breast size and lift position. A consultation with a plastic surgeon determines the best procedure or combination to achieve desired improvements.

Key Takeaways of Breast Lift Vs Augmentation

  • A breast lift is a surgical procedure that reshapes and repositions the breasts by removing excess skin and contouring surrounding tissues to raise them.
  • Breast augmentations use implants, either silicone gels or saline solutions, to increase breast size and fullness.
  • Before deciding, consult an experienced board certified plastic surgeon for goal assessment and comparison of techniques used in both procedures.

What is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that reshapes and repositions the breasts by removing excess skin and contouring surrounding tissues to raise them. This helps restore natural volume, producing a perky and more youthful looking appearance.

Breast lift surgery does not increase the size of the breasts. Instead, it eliminates loose and sagging breast tissue for an improved bust line shape without additional fullness or cleavage.

Image Credit: Staras / 123RF.com (Licensed).

What is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a type of surgery that increase the size and volume of breasts. This procedure is often selected by women who desire larger and fuller breasts, or by those who want to restore the natural shape of their breasts after pregnancy, weight loss, or other changes.

During the procedure, an implant saline or silicone is inserted under the breast tissue or chest muscles via small incisions around the nipples, in the armpits, upper breast, or below the breasts.

The use of implants can be combined with fat transfer to enhance fullness and symmetry. The results of this cosmetic surgery can improve projection, cleavage, and overall appearance, boosting self-confidence.

Differences Between Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation

Breast lift is a surgical procedure designed to reposition and reshape the breasts, thereby eliminating sagging or otherwise drooping breasts caused by aging, pregnancy, nursing, or weight fluctuations. It involves removing excess skin from the breasts to create a firmer and more youthful looking appearance.

Breast augmentation, on the other hand, uses implants, either silicone gels or saline solutions, to increase breast size and fullness. This procedure aims to achieve an improved shape, balance, proportion, and symmetry in the upper body for enhanced self image.

While both procedures may be used to improve contour and overall breast look, they each serve different goals. Breast lift focuses mainly on shape, while augmentation focuses on increased volume.

Techniques Used

For breast lifts, the anchor incision technique is most commonly used, as it can effectively reshape the breasts while allowing for flexibility in size adjustment. This involves an incision around the nipple areola complex, extending down to below where the crease of a woman’s natural breast tissue begins at her chest wall. Other options include periareolar mammaplasty and vertical mastopexy, which involve an incision only around the nipple area or extending vertically along each breast side from the armpit area to beneath the nipple, respectively.

Breast augmentations involve using either silicone or saline implants placed either submuscular or underneath muscle or sub glandular or on top of the muscle. Depending on individual goals and desires, such as adding projection, increasing cup size, or correcting any asymmetry between breasts, different approaches may be explored by your chosen surgeon when positioning your implant, such as dual plane placement.

Combining both a breast lift with an augmentation is known as augmentation mastopexy. This can create more impressive results than simply having one procedure alone but will require additional techniques such as downsizing implants or converting into a vertical mastopexy, depending on the existing degree of sagging.

Considerations for Choosing a Procedure

When deciding between a breast lift and augmentation, patients should consider their desired outcome, existing breast size and shape, degree of sagging, nipple position, and available breast tissue.

Desired Outcome

Determining the desired outcome is essential when deciding between breast lift or augmentation. A breast lift aims to restore the shape and contour of a woman’s breasts to create a more youthful appearance, while breast augmentation focuses on increasing the size by using implants.

Your plastic surgeon should discuss your personal goals to determine the right surgery for you, as they may vary from patient to patient.

Existing Breast Size and Shape

When considering a breast lift or augmentation, the existing breast size and shape play a critical role. Breast lift surgery raises and reshapes the existing breasts to make them firmer, more lifted, and shapelier by removing excess skin.

This procedure can address age related sagging and provide younger looking results for women with smaller breasts or minimal droopiness. On the other hand, breast augmentation adds volume to increase the size of the current breasts while improving symmetry.

Degree of Sagging

The degree of sagging that a person has in their breasts is an important factor to consider when choosing between a breast lift or an augmentation procedure. Breast implants alone do not prevent the breasts from sagging, although some degree of sagging can still occur due to natural aging or changes in body weight during pregnancy.

Nipple Position

One factor to consider when choosing between a breast lift and augmentation is nipple and breast position. Breast lift surgery aims to reposition the nipples, bringing them higher on the chest.

Breast Tissue

When considering the option of receiving a breast lift or augmentation, assessing the amount and quality of existing breast tissue is important. Women with ample amounts of existing breast tissue may not need implants for an optimal augmentation result.

Those with limited amounts of available breast tissue might require larger implants for adequate results. Excess skin must be trimmed with a surgical lift procedure to create more perkiness and shape. Having ample breast tissue with enough suppleness on hand can affect whether you receive a breast implant only solution or both lifts and augmentations together, causing longer recovery times.

Suppose insufficient matter is present at this stage to produce an ideal outcome. In that case, other solutions like fat transfer techniques are sometimes used instead, which involve transferring your own body fat from another area, usually from the abdomen, and injecting it into particular parts of the breasts during surgery.

Combination of Breast Lift and Augmentation

Combining a breast lift with breast implants is often recommended for women who desire fuller, rounder, and perkier breasts. Women who have suffered significant volume loss due to breastfeeding or weight fluctuation may benefit from the combination of augmentation and mastopexy, as they can address both sagging skin and mild breast ptosis.

The results of this combined treatment option may be less predictable than each procedure performed individually. However, patients who choose to undergo this treatment may expect to achieve upper breast fullness without any additional drooping present after the surgery.

Image Credit: 3kstudio / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Benefits and Results of Combined Surgery

When a breast lift is combined with an augmentation procedure, it can help women achieve fuller, rounder, and more youthful-looking breasts than with either procedure alone. The combination of surgeries enhances upper pole fullness and overall breast volume, resulting in the best possible shape and appearance.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Patients should research and select a board certified plastic surgeon with prior experience in performing breast lift and augmentation procedures to minimize the potential risks and ensure desired results.

Importance of Board Certification

Board certification is an important quality to look for when researching qualified plastic surgeons. Certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery, board certified surgeons have completed at least six years of approved surgical training, staying current in their knowledge and skills by maintaining board certification.

Patients can trust that board certified plastic surgeons have obtained high level qualifications necessary to perform surgery anywhere with full privileges. Choosing a board certified plastic surgeon offers the assurance that they possess extensive experience and expertise in their field, allowing patients to reap the maximum benefits from their chosen procedure.

Experience in Breast Surgery

When it comes to choosing a surgeon for breast lift or augmentation procedures, having an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner is of utmost importance. Qualifications should always be considered. Board certification in plastic surgery is the most basic requirement for any breast procedure.

A great way to determine experience and expertise in breast surgery is to look at their work, reviews, and recommendations from past patients, before and after images of previous clients results may offer insight on how a particular doctor will work on perfecting yours.

Reviewing Before and After Photos

When researching plastic surgeons, it is important to ask them about their patient’s before and after photos to better understand the skill of the surgeon and potential outcomes.

Before and after photos can help provide a visual representation of how successful different procedures have been in giving desirable results. These photos are confidential, but they should be available upon request by potential patients provided that appropriate privacy regulations are observed.

Patient Testimonials and Referrals

Patient testimonials and referrals are important aspects to consider when deciding on a surgeon for breast lift or augmentation procedures. Testimonials from former patients can provide valuable insights into the surgeon’s expertise, experience, and patient satisfaction.

Cost Considerations

Average Cost of Breast Lift

A breast lift procedure can cost between $8,000 and $15,000. This cost can vary depending on factors like the type of technique used, your location in relation to surgeon’s fees and overhead costs, and if any additional treatments are necessary.

On average, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2021 it was estimated that surgeons charged around $5,012 for this procedure.

Average Cost of Breast Augmentation

The cost of breast augmentation surgery depends on several factors, such as the type of implants used, surgical technique chosen, and geographical location. Breast augmentation average cost $$4,516 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Saline implants are less expensive than silicone implants, with their average price range is from $6,000 to $7,500 while other fees such as anesthesia or operating room facilities could bring this up even higher.

Additional expenses may include medications and any follow up visits and post care needed after the procedure has been completed. It’s important for prospective patients to understand all costs associated with breast augmentation before beginning their journey toward a more enhanced look.

Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Lift vs Augmentation

1. What is The Difference Between a Breast Lift And Augmentation?

A breast lift will not change the size of the breasts. It simply reshapes and lifts them to appear more youthful. A breast augmentation involves adding volume through either an implant or fat transfer to make the breasts look fuller and rounder.

2. How Do I Know If I Need a Breast Lift or Augmentation?

It depends on what you would like to achieve for your body shape overall. If you are looking for enhanced contours that project out from your chest wall, then a combination of both procedures may be best for aesthetically pleasing results. Consult with your plastic surgeon so they can help determine which procedure or combination would best suit your goals.

3. Are There Any Risks Associated With These Procedures?

All surgeries have some degree of risk involved. Most people find the cosmetic enhancement very rewarding without experiencing too many complications afterward, especially when under care from experienced surgeons who follow strict safety protocols with the operation and during the recovery process. Discuss options thoroughly before undergoing either operations with a medical team.

Image Credit: Iakovenko / 123RF.com (Licensed).

Conclusion and Summary of Breast Lift vs Augmentation: Achieving Your Desired Look

Deciding between a breast lift and augmentation can be a difficult decision. It is important to consider your desired outcome, existing breast size or shape, degree of sagging, nipple position, and available tissue before making a choice.

Both procedures have different goals, techniques, and results. However, combining the two surgeries may provide the best of both worlds and optimal outcomes.

It is crucial to select an experienced surgeon specializing in breast surgery with board certification to ensure safety and successful outcomes. Other important factors to consider when choosing the right doctor for your procedures include reviewing before and after photos, patient testimonials, or referrals.

Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your treatments, please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the appropriateness and safety of such changes.

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About the Author

Dr. Brandon Richland, MD is a respected Board Certified Licensed Plastic Surgeon in Orange County / Southern California specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

Driven by his passion for medicine, Dr. Richland obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the prestigious program at Saint Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine in 2013. His exceptional skills were recognized when he received the McGraw Hill / Lange Medical Student Academic Achievement Award, and graduated top of his class with Honors. For his undergraduate degree, he attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with Honors in 2009.

To further enhance his surgical expertise, Dr. Richland completed his Residency in Plastic Surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) from 2013 to 2019 earning the Academic Achievement Award twice during this period. A total of 14 years in dedicated schooling and medical residency.

Dr. Richland is actively involved with healthcare and medical societies, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Contact Dr. Richland today by visiting RichlandMD.com, scheduling a cosmetic consultation, or by calling 714-241-0646 or 949-945-0025 directly.