When patients want to improve the appearance of their breasts, they may not know the difference between breast lifts vs. breast augmentation. Breast lifts and breast augmentation are two of the most popular cosmetic procedures, so before deciding on a breast treatment plan, it is important to understand the difference between them. Of course, your plastic surgeon will guide you toward the procedure that best fits your goals via a consultation, but let’s break down each procedure and figure out which one may be right for you.
What Is a Breast Lift?
As women age, the effects of time and gravity, as well as a loss of skin elasticity, can lead breasts to take on a sagging appearance. Breast lifts are a surgical procedure to correct sagging breasts, restoring their appearance to make them more youthful and perky. The procedure consists of the plastic surgeon making an incision in the breasts, followed by the removal of any excess fat and tissue that causes the breasts to sag. During a breast lift, the surgeon may also reposition the nipple and areola to make the breasts look as natural as possible. A breast implant may be used to help restore lost breast volume or increase breast size and may help to lift the breasts as well, reversing any adverse effects of aging. Depending on a patient’s skin and tissue quality and the desired breast size, an internal bra may be suggested as part of a breast lift. An internal bra is a biologic matrix that is placed during surgery and serves as a structural support for the patient’s own tissue and an implant.
What Is a Breast Augmentation?
Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the United States. Breast augmentation provides patients with bigger and more shapely breasts, reshaping them with the aid of silicone or saline implants. Breast augmentation can increase breast size, restore lost volume, and improve the symmetry between the breasts. The procedure is fairly straightforward, with the plastic surgeon making a small incision usually in the fold at the bottom of the breast and then placing a silicone or saline implant under the pectoral muscle behind the breast tissue. The exact placement of the implant and whether a silicone or saline implant is used depends on the circumstances and goals of the patient and will be decided during a consultation prior to breast augmentation surgery.
Breast Lifts vs. Breast Augmentation
There are a variety of different factors to consider when comparing breast lifts vs. breast augmentation. Below are some of the main differences between the two plastic surgery procedures.
Age of the Patient
Breast augmentation is a great option for any patient over 18. Patients must be at least 18 years old to get saline breast implants, and at least 22 years old in order to get silicone breast implants. Once the patient’s breasts have fully developed, they can opt for breast augmentation to increase the size or optimize the appearance of their breasts.
Breast lifts are usually reserved for older patients. The primary purpose of a breast lift is to restore the appropriate position of the breast and the breast size may stay the same, be reduced or can be increased by inserting a breast implant during the procedure. Outside of aging, significant sagging is usually present in patients who were pregnant or have recently lost a significant amount of weight.
When comparing breast lifts vs breast augmentation, it is important to know exactly what you want. Breast lifts do not add any size or volume to the breasts unless combined with a breast implant—it’s truly a lift to make breasts appear naturally perkier. If you want bigger breasts, or to alter the size of your breasts to make them more symmetrical or a more desirable shape, then you should probably go with breast augmentation. If for any reason you wish to reduce the size of your breasts, the size can be reduced by removing some skin and breast tissue during the breast lift surgery.
Can You Combine the Two Procedures?
If, when comparing breast lifts vs. breast augmentation, you find that both procedures are attractive to you, why not opt for both? Patients often choose to combine breast lifts with breast augmentation. For patients getting breast lifts, breast implants can actually provide extra support and help keep the breasts from drooping back down over time. That is why sometimes a plastic surgeon will actually suggest that women undergoing breast lifts also opt for breast augmentation. If the patient is primarily coming to a plastic surgeon for breast augmentation, it may be determined during the consultation process that a breast lift is also necessary in order to get the patient’s desired outcome.
The Importance of a Consultation
Choosing between breast lifts vs. breast augmentation should be a decision that is only trusted to a plastic surgeon who is board-certified and has significant experience. That is why it is essential to visit a plastic surgeon for a consultation prior to any cosmetic breast procedure. During a consultation, the surgeon will ask you questions to understand your goals, examine your breasts and look at your medical history. Once they have sufficient background information, they will partner with you to determine what specific procedure will achieve the desired goals.
Breast Lifts and Breast Augmentation with Dr. Lapuerta
Dr. Lapuerta is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon with over two decades of experience performing both breast lifts and breast augmentation. Dr. Lapuerta has an impeccable reputation for communicating openly with his patients, making sure he has an understanding of your goals and you have realistic expectations for the surgical results. Deciding between these two procedures can sometimes be complicated and Dr. Lapuerta’s extensive experience can help guide you to the right decision to achieve your final goals. If you live in Houston, Pearland, or Katy, Texas, and are interested in a breast lift, breast augmentation, or both, contact Dr. Lapuerta for a consultation today.