Is Breast Lift or Breast Augmentation Right for Me?

A question I hear frequently from women seeking to improve the appearance of drooping and/or sagging breasts is whether a breast lift or breast augmentation with implants would be more appropriate for their needs and desires. Though the answer to this question will ultimately depend on the patient’s specific breast anatomy and cosmetic goals, a few general principles can often be applied to the majority of individuals.

Breast lift surgery – also referred to as mastopexy – is designed to tighten and/or remove loose, excess skin while elevating the breasts to a more youthful position, namely lifting the nipple position above the breast crease. As a result, mastopexy can be a great breast enhancement option when a moderate to significant degree of drooping and skin laxity is present in the breasts, but the patient does not desire to increase the volume of her breasts. Conversely, a breast augmentation with implants is performed to increase the size and enhance the contour of the breasts for an improved overall aesthetic. Although implants may be able to correct a minor amount of drooping and skin laxity, a breast augmentation by itself is typically the best option for patients who are solely interested in enhancing the volume and shape of their breasts, and the position of their breasts is good. Ideally, the nipple position should be above the level of the breast crease.

For individuals who desire to correct a significant amount of drooping in addition to increasing the volume of their breasts, implants can often be placed at the time of the mastopexy procedure. Not only can this combination lift the breasts and reduce excess skin, it can also add volume and fullness for a rejuvenated look and feel.

Ultimately, all available breast enhancement options can be discussed in thorough detail during a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon, and recommendations for which procedure(s) may be appropriate for the individual’s unique needs and goals can be made based on one’s current breast volume and position.

Behzad Parva, MD

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