Breast ImplantsBreast enhancement is often associated with implants, but there is more than one way to improve your silhouette.

There are two primary procedures utilized to improve the bustline: breast implants, also known as augmentation, and breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy.

Different factors come into play in deciding which surgery will provide the look you want. Implants primarily focus on the size and firmness of the breast, while a lift addresses the breasts’ positioning on the chest.

Three different factors are considered when deciding which surgery to choose, or if both are necessary. These, include:

  • Nipple position in relation to the fold of the breast. Breasts that sag with the nipple pointing downward can be lifted to a more youthful position. A lift can tighten the skin and tissue, enhancing the breast contour.
  • Breast volume. This refers to how full the breast appears. Weight loss, age, breast size increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding can all result in breasts looking deflated. If so, a breast implant can restore volume to the chest.
  • Breast size or shape. While breast implant surgery can slightly lift the breast, implants are primarily for breast shape and size changes. A lift surgery should be used to address sagging that is moderate to severe.

Both procedures are carried out in similar ways, but the location of the incisions are different.

With breast augmentation, saline or silicone implants are placed behind the breast tissue or underneath the muscle. The incisions are made under the breast crease, in the armpit or around the areola.

With a breast lift, excess skin is removed and the breast is reshaped. The nipple may be repositioned, and incisions can be only around the areola (donut lift), around the areola and down to the breast fold ( lollipop lift) or around the areola, down to and along the breast fold (anchor lift).

Breast augmentation and mastopexy can be performed at the same time but there are instances where it may better to separate the two. This is known as a “staged” procedure.

To determine whether augmentation, a lift or both are right for you, contact a board-certified plastic surgeon for consultation.

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