Breast augmentation has long been a popular procedure for women. In 2013, it was the most commonly performed plastic surgery in the US, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Although breast augmentation remains popular, another surgery, the breast lift, is gaining in popularity.
There were more than 90,000 breast lift surgeries performed in 2013, an increase of 70 percent since the year 2000, according to the ASPS. If you aren’t happy with the shape and size of your breasts, plastic surgery can give you the look you’re after. It’s important to understand the difference between a breast lift and breast augmentation so that you can make the right choice for your body.
What a Breast Lift Can Do
Before going into what a breast lift can do, it’s important to understand what the surgery can’t do. Typically, a breast lift won’t increase the size of the breasts. In fact, since the procedure involves removing excess skin, it typically results in a smaller cup size. When performed on its own, a breast lift is ideal for women who already have fuller breasts or who are content with their size.
The goal of a breast lift, also called mastopexy, is to raise up breasts that are sagging or that have lost their shape. It can make the breasts look more youthful and perky. A woman might consider the surgery if her breasts have become saggier following pregnancy or if she’s lost a significant amount of weight with age. Along with restoring the shape of the breasts, the procedure can also reduce the size of an enlarged areola.
What Implants Can Do
Unlike a breast lift, the goal of breast augmentation is to increase the size of the breasts, using implants made of either saline or silicone. Implants can be added to make the breasts more symmetrical or even, too. For example, if one breast is an A cup and the other a B cup, the implant on side can be larger than the implant on the B cup side, to create a more balanced appearance.
There are a number of reasons why you might not be happy with the size of your breasts. Some women have naturally small breasts, for example. Other women might be happy with the size of their breasts to start, but might lose volume in the area after weight loss or pregnancy.
Many patients want to achieve a natural appearance when they get implants. Testing out the implants before the surgery will give you a good idea of how they will look and feel once they are placed in your chest.
Making the Decision
Whether a breast lift or augmentation is the right choice for you depends on what you want done to your chest area. It might be that a combined procedure that both lifts the breasts and adds implants is the right choice for you. During a breast lift with augmentation, the surgeon will usually reposition the breasts so that they are higher up and add implants to increase the volume.
Your surgeon can help you decide which surgery is the best for you, or if a combination surgery would help you reach your goals. Once you’ve decided on a procedure, you can begin to prepare for it. Preparation for breast augmentation usually involves trying out implants in your bra while wearing a shirt that shows off your figure. Photographs can also help you decide which implant is the right size for you. Your surgeon can also help you decide between saline implants and silicone implants.
If you are getting a breast lift, either on its own or with augmentation, your surgeon will let you know which procedure is best for you based on the degree of sagging in the breast area. Some patients only need a minor lift, which typically involves making an incision around the nipple. A major breast lift is for severely drooping breasts. It often involves an anchor incision, which leaves a horizontal scar under the breast crease.
Dr. George Bitar at the Bitar Institute near Washington, DC, has years of experience performing both breast augmentation and breast lift procedures. To learn more about your options, call (703) 206-0506 for to schedule a consultation at their practice.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.