Breast Lift vs Implant: Which is Right for You?

If you’re considering altering the size or shape of your breasts, then you may have found yourself standing in front of the mirror trying to envision your desired results. If you’re like many other women, you may have wondered, “Breast lift vs implant surgery: which one is right for me?”

If that sounds like you, and you would like to learn more about either procedure, the following guides will describe breast augmentation, or implant surgery, and breast lift surgery. Dr. Stephanie Teotia will also explain why these two surgeries are commonly performed together to achieve optimal results for many patients.

Dr. Stephanie Beidler Teotia, MD

Should you choose to pursue altering the appearance of your breasts, your board-certified plastic surgeon will be able to help you determine which surgical procedure or combination of procedures will give you the results you want. Patients must be cautious and highly selective when you are choosing a surgeon to perform your breast lift or breast implant surgery. Dr. Teotis can provide you with numerous examples of her beautiful, natural results.

If you are not fully happy with the appearance of your breasts, there are multiple surgical procedures that Dr. Teotia may perform to alter breast size, shape, and droop. By far the two procedures that are most commonly requested are augmentation, which increases breast size, and breasts lifts, which alter the amount of skin supporting the breast tissue so that the breast sits higher on the torso.

Breast Augmentation: Who Is It For?

Breast augmentation, or breast implants, are the best option for women who want their breasts to have more volume.

If your breasts are naturally small or have become smaller or deflated due to pregnancy or weight loss, you can choose breast augmentation to address these concerns.

Breast Augmentation: What It Will and Won’t Do

Breast augmentation will give your breasts more volume and also enhance their shape by filling the upper portion of the breast that loses volume with pregnancy and aging as well as through lost elasticity associated with unprotected UV exposure.

A breast augmentation will not significantly raise your breasts. A breast augmentation will lift the nipple line one to two centimeters. This may be sufficient to create the results you desire, but if it is not, a breast lift may be indicated.

Breast Augmentation: The Procedure

There are three types of incisions that can be used for breast augmentation: under the fold of the breast (inframammary), in the armpit (trans-axillary), or around the nipple (periareolar). The inframammary approach results in minimal scarring and is the safest technique, so whenever possible, this is the method that Dr. Teotia prefers.

Saline and silicone implants are equally safe, but the pros and cons of each type of implant warrant your careful consideration. Saline implants are less expensive than silicone types and can feel realistic in patients who already have ample natural breast tissue. However, silicone implants do feel the most realistic, and they’re the gold standard for women who have little natural breast tissue.

Breast Lift: Who Is It For?

If your breasts have lost elasticity over time, have stretch marks, or if your nipples point downward, a breast lift is the only remedy. As mentioned, breast implants will only lift your nipples a centimeter or two.

Breast Lift: What It Will and Won’t Do

A breast lift will restore a more youthful appearance and bring your existing breast tissue up higher on your torso. However, you may perceive the loss of skin as a reduction in breast size. If you desire fuller or larger breasts, a breast lift alone will not be sufficient.

Breast Lift: The Procedure

There are three surgical approaches to breast lifts: vertical breast reduction, periareolar, and inverted-T incisions. When patients have moderate drooping, a vertical breast reduction incision follows the natural nipple line and extends below to give a more significant lift. Minor drooping can be corrected using only the periareolar approach. The most commonly-used approach is the inverted-T incision; it gives the greatest lift, the most predictable results, and is usually indicated for patients who seek breast lift surgery.

Which Is Better? Which Is Right For You?

These procedures can be combined in a multitude of ways for a wide range of results. A highly skilled plastic surgeon like Dr. Teotia and her staff will work with you to plan and carefully blend these techniques to give you the results you desire.  Often patients want fuller breasts that also sit higher on the torso, or may have asymmetrical breasts that require slightly different approaches when greater symmetry is desired.

Keep in mind that implants will not correct sagging or drooping breasts and a breast lift will not add volume to your breasts. If you are concerned about only one or the other of these issues, your surgeon will likely focus only on size/shape or drooping. Otherwise, your surgeon will discuss your options during your consultation and design the surgery that is just right for your body.

Remember, your body will continue to change over time even after your procedure. If you gain or lose weight, your breast lift or augmentation may no longer give you the results you once had. Breast implants usually do not last a lifetime and will need to be replaced on a schedule you and your surgeon will choose together. As you age, your breasts will continue to droop, even if you choose implants, a breast lift, or both.

If you undergo surgery with realistic expectations and a full understanding of the potential risks and benefits, you should be very satisfied with your results. Proper ongoing attention to your body size and shape will preserve your results for the longest possible period of time.