Breast augmentation and breast lift surgeries are among the most popular procedures at my practice in Columbia, MO and all over the nation, with hundreds of thousands of women choosing them each year. Many women are unsatisfied with the look of their breasts, but until they become patients of a qualified plastic surgeon, they are not sure what they can do about it.
Let’s take a look at what each procedure accomplishes and how to know whether you are a candidate:
- Breast augmentation: This option uses saline or silicone breast implants to boost the size of the breasts. Many of my patients have always felt that they wanted larger breasts for a more feminine, hourglass figure. Others lose volume in their breasts after childbirth or weight loss and choose breast augmentation to restore them to a larger size. If you want larger breasts, this procedure may benefit you.
- Breast lift: This procedure is intended to correct breast sagging, which is common after pregnancy and weight loss but is also simply an effect of aging. Skin stretches with time, and a breast lift can remove excess skin to reposition the breasts to a higher position and perkier shape. Although every woman is different, a good rule of thumb to determine whether you would benefit from a breast lift is if your breasts have sagged below the fold under your breasts or if your nipples are pointing downward.
It is also becoming more common these days for patients to combine breast lift and augmentation into a single operation to achieve both perkier and larger breasts. This route can have nice results, but it is not the best choice for everyone.
Any time you combine procedures, the risk of complications increases. The primary concern when combining these procedures is that they involve competing forces. The breast lift reduces the breast and skin envelope at the same time breast implants are expanding the envelope, putting increased pressure on the tissue.
That said, a study of more than 300 combined procedures concluded that when patients were carefully screened, combining augmentation with a breast lift could be safely done and create nice results. Good candidates for combining a breast lift with augmentation are in good overall health and don’t smoke. Many of my patients considering the combined procedure have had children and aren’t planning to become pregnant again. Another important consideration is that the patient should be interested in only a modest increase in breast size, because larger implants will put more strain on the breast lift.
As you can see in these before-and-after photos, the results of combining procedures can be dramatic and impressive. This 45-year-old woman chose to undergo a tummy tuck in addition to a breast lift and breast augmentation.
The choice of having either a breast lift or breast augmentation — or both — is personal. The key is consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience performing both procedures and who keeps your best interest at heart.