How Do You Know If You Need a Breast Lift or Augmentation?

Beautiful woman wearing a bralette and gazing to the side (model)

Patients choose cosmetic breast surgery for many reasons. Some want to enhance their naturally developed breasts for the sake of appearance or self-confidence. Others may have experienced changes to their breast shape or size following weight fluctuations with or without childbearing.

Most patients who’ve had this type of surgery say they feel better about their bodies and are more confident in their appearance after their procedure. But how do you know if you need a breast lift or augmentation? This post will describe the two surgeries and the differences between them to help you decide what may be best for you.

What Is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift is a surgical procedure that reshapes your breast tissue to optimize proportions and contours. It’s a popular choice for women who feel confident about how their breasts appear in a supportive bra but find that the shape and position of their breasts are disappointing without support.

The procedure involves removing excess skin from the breast, redistributing the position of the breast volume, and optimizing the position and size of the nipple-areolar complex. Although modern breast lifting techniques can improve the contours of the cleavage line, breast implants, fat grafting, or both are considered when more volume is desired.

The scars associated with a breast lift are a necessary component of the procedure. In most cases, scars are placed around the border of the areola, down the middle of the lower breast, and along the fold of the breast. Small improvements to the diameter of the position of the nipple and areola can be achieved with more limited scars. However, lifting the entire breast mound is often needed for the best final shape. Scars will fade with time as your body heals.

What Is Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure involving the use of breast implants, fat grafting, or both to enhance the volume of the breasts. It can be done to increase breast size, bring a more balanced look to patients whose breasts are of different sizes or shapes, and improve proportions.

Achieving the best results requires an evaluation of your tissues as well as your goals, combined with the expertise that comes with experience. Patients considering breast augmentation have several options to consider:

  • Implant style – cohesive silicone gel or saline filled
  • Implant size – a combination of implant diameter and projection
  • Implant positioning – behind or in front of the chest muscle
  • Incision location – armpit (axilla), along the areolar border (periareolar), or under the breast (inframammary)

Breast augmentation can be performed alone or combined with a breast lift.

What Is the Difference Between the Procedures?

A breast lift changes the shape of your breasts and improves the position of the breast tissue. The nipple and areolar size and position are optimized and the breast stays closer to the body when patients lean forward or they are active. The procedure can be done alone or combined with an augmentation using implants, fat transfer, or both. In some cases, a breast lift will be completed first and then an augmentation will be done after healing from the breast lift is complete. A breast lift on its own, however, will not increase the size of your breasts.

Breast augmentation using a breast implant increases the size of your breast. The final breast shape is determined by the combination of your breast tissues and the shape of the breast implant.  Specific implant placement techniques can elevate the nipple position on the breast slightly. However, breast implant augmentation usually achieves a larger and more rounded version of your current breast shape. Fat grafting is a good option for targeting augmentation of the cleavage line or upper breast when smaller degrees of breast enhancement is desired.

In many patients who have experienced significant weight fluctuations, both breast size and shape are concerns. The combination of breast augmentation and breast lifting is one of the most challenging cosmetic procedures performed as well as one the most satisfying for patients. At YES, you can rely on our experience and expertise in cosmetic breast surgery to customize Your Esthetic SolutionTM.

Browse our before-and-after breast lift and augmentation galleries to see the results we’ve achieved for previous patients and get an idea of what to expect.

Request a Consultation

If you want to speak with one of our experienced plastic surgeons about whether a breast lift or breast augmentation would best meet your needs, call our Langley office located in the geographic centre of metro Vancouver at (604) 888-9378 or request a consultation using our online form.

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