Do you need breast implants, a breast lift, or both?
I do a lot of breast surgery- in fact it’s my number one most common type of surgery. And the question of breast implants vs. lift comes up nearly every day. Most women know they want a fuller, perkier look. But they’re not quite sure how to achieve that look. So here’s a breakdown of the discussion we have in my office during the consultation.
A breast lift reshapes the breast.
The goal of a breast lift is to get the breast tissue back up centered on the chest, where it should be. Breast shapes very quite a bit, so if you were born less than perky, that’s totally normal. Losing weight and having kids can also leave breasts looking a little deflated. A breast lift will restore the ratio of skin to breast tissue by removing some of the stretched out skin. It also has the benefit of making the breasts look fuller by reshaping the stretched out breast tissue into a mound.
Breast implants add volume.
I realize this is an obvious statement. But it’s still worth noting. The entire goal of an implant is to make the breast larger. It won’t actually lift the breast. It just makes it bigger. Yet if you look at before-and-after photos of breast implant surgery, the breasts may look perkier in the after photos. So what’s going on?
The whole “perkier breast after adding an implant” phenomenon goes back to the ratio of skin to breast tissue. During pregnancy and weight gain the breasts enlarge, stretching out the skin. After losing weight or having the baby, the actual amount of breast tissue decreases. The skin shrinks up as well, but often not as much. So the end result is too much skin for the amount of breast tissue.
This results in a ptotic (i.e. saggy) breast. But adding the volume back with an implant can fill out the excess skin, resulting in a breast that looks perky again.
Why do some women need both a lift and implants?
The whole question of breast implants vs. lift is a complicated one. But in general, if you’re happy with your size but would like your breasts perkier, a lift will do the job.
If you want your breasts perkier AND larger then things get trickier. The end result depends on the degree of ptosis (how much sogginess there is) and how much bigger you want to go. Sometimes it would take such a large implant to fill out the skin envelope that a lift is inevitable. And sometimes going up slightly in size can negate the need for a lift.
Communicating your goals to your surgeon is critical!
When it comes to breast implants vs. lift, would you rather stick with a specific size and have a lift? Or are you okay going slightly larger if it means no additional scars from a breast lift? Being clear about your goals helps your surgeon tremendously when achieving those goals.
Even in my experienced hands it’s not always clear prior to surgery if someone will need a lift or not. In those cases I counsel patients about both options, and thoroughly discuss their goals. Then I make the final decision about a breast lift after the implants are in.
I hope you found this discussion helpful. If you’re interested in breast implants or a breast lift then scheduling a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the first step. If you want to learn more about each type of surgery you can head over to my practice website. I explain the cost, recovery time, and have plenty of before and after photos!.