Deciding to have cosmetic plastic surgery is a deeply personal, often reflecting individual desires for self-improvement. Among the most common cosmetic procedures, breast lifts, and breast augmentations stand out as pivotal choices, each offering its own set of aesthetic benefits. As a board-certified plastic surgeon by the Americian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) with over 10 years of experience in breast surgery, Dr. Amir Ghaznavi from AMG Plastic Surgery in Herndon, VA will dissect the nuances of these surgical options, aiming to shed light on the scales one may tip in favor of a breast lift or a breast augmentation or a combination of both.

Defining the Procedures

Breast Lift: This surgical technique, or mastopexy, repositions the nipple higher on the chest and removes excess skin to reshape the breast. Typically, no breast tissue is removed, but existing breast tissue is rearranged and repositioned. It is ideal for those who have sagging breasts due to aging, pregnancy, or significant weight loss.

Breast Augmentation: In contrast, breast augmentation focuses on increasing the breast size using breast implants or, in some cases, fat transferred from the patient’s body. It is often sought after to enhance one’s breast shape and size, generally among women who want a more voluptuous figure or to restore volume post-partum or post-weight loss.

The Natural ‘Lift’ or the ‘Enhanced’ Aesthetic?

Breast Lift for a Natural Rejuvenation

A breast lift surgery, in essence, offers a more rejuvenated version of your natural breasts. It corrects moderate to severe drooping or breast ptosis and leaves behind a more youthful silhouette without actually increasing breast volume. This method is often preferred for individuals who appreciate a more natural look and a more youthful position of the breast.

Breast Augmentation for an Enhanced Volume

In contrast, a breast augmentation procedure focuses on increased volume and fullness. The purpose is to enlarge smaller breasts or to restore balance for those with breast asymmetry. This approach aligns with those who seek a more obvious change and are comfortable with a higher enhancement level.

The Combination Approach

Can these two seemingly opposite surgeries be aligned for a tailored cosmetic outcome? The answer is a resounding yes. Combining a breast lift with an augmentation allows a single procedure to address both sagging and size. This can produce a more youthful contour and a fullness that complements the lift.

Comparative Perspectives

Breast Lift with Augmentation: Balancing the Scales

When considering a combined procedure, it is crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages. The lift component may lead to a more natural appearance but also involves additional scarring and, in some cases, nipple repositioning based on the breast lift incisions used.

On the other hand, augmentation with implants adds volume and can significantly impact the upper pole fullness of the breast, creating a more structured appearance.

Standalone Breast Lift:

The benefit of opting for a breast lift without augmentation is that it offers the most natural result possible. However, women with deflated breasts after pregnancy or weight loss may find that a breast implant is necessary to achieve their desired volume and structure, making the lift a less favorable standalone option.

Standalone Breast Augmentation:

Breast augmentation alone can cater to those who desire increased fullness but may not necessarily need a lift. By using your own fat or a implant, one can fill out the breast skin envelope, providing a satisfied result without the need for removing skin and reshaping the breast mound through a breast lift procedure.

Surgery Specifics

Incisions and Approaches:

Typically, the breast lift incisions are more extensive than those used in augmentation, involving a ‘lollipop’ , ‘anchor’ shape around the areola and down to the breast crease. Some patients are candidates for just a ‘circular’ incision just around the areloa.

Conversely, breast augmentation usually requires smaller incisions through the breast fold, underarm crease or around the areola which the implants are inserted. Both procedures leave scars, but their visibility and development over time can vary.

No Implant breast enhancement procedure:

It is worth noting that fuller breasts can also be performed without breast implants. Fat grafting, a procedure where liposuctioned fat is re-injected into the breasts, is a natural alternative. This technique, however, is limited to a modest increase due to the amount of fat that can be safely reabsorbed by the body as well the possible need to repeat the procedure to achieve the desired cup size.

Determining the Best Treatment

The Definitive Lift Decision:

A breast lift surgery becomes the clear choice for women dealing with significant breast sagging. It is not about increasing size but about repositioning the breast tissue to a more youthful location on the chest, often involving removing excess skin.

As simple test has been dubbed the “pencil test,” can be used to evaluate breast ptosis. A pencil or pen is placed horizontally under the breast along the breast fold. If the pencil or pen is held in place or if the nipple is below the level of the pencil, then there is significant breast sagging and a lft should be considered.

Augmentation for Volume and Shape:

When volume loss is the primary concern most commly in the upper pole of the breast, and the nipple position and skin tone are relatively good, breast implant may suffice. This can address not just size but also issues with shape, such as tubular or constricted breasts and asymmetry.

Recovery Roadmap

Breast Lift versus Augmentation Recovery:

Typically, the recovery from breast implant surgery is quicker and less painful than that of a breast lift. The latter involves more tissue manipulation and, as a result, may require a longer healing process, including a few weeks of avoiding strenuous activities.

Inquiring About Contraindications

Are There Cases Where a Lift is Contraindicated?

Multiple factors may make a lift less advisable, such as smoking, obesity, or a previous history of poor wound healing or a prior breast lift. In these cases, a staged approach or alternative techniques might be recommended.

Contraindications for Augmentation:

Contraindications for augmentation are often related to the use of breast implants, such as a patient’s underlying medical health, predicated scarring issues, or personal preferences against the use of a medical device. Avoiding implants can reduce these concerns but may limit the degree of enhancement that can be achieved.

Can You Dodge the Lift with Just an Augmentation?

Limited Options for Lift Avoidance:

In some cases, attempting to avoid a lift by solely choosing an augmentation can lead to less-than-ideal results.

The ‘double bubble’ effect, where the natural breast hangs below the implant, can occur without a lift in breasts with significant sagging. A ‘waterfall’ breast may also occur where the nipple sits well bellow the implants creating an oddly shaped breast.

Age and Tissue Quality:

Younger patients with good elasticity may achieve favorable results with an augmentation alone, while older patients may need a lift to achieve their desired shape. Tissue quality significantly determines which procedure, or combination thereof, will provide the most natural looking results.

Parting Thoughts on the Decisions

Deciding to have cosmetic surgery needs careful consideration and a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon by the Americian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The choice between a breast lift and breast augmentation is not an either-or proposition but rather a nuanced calculation of desired outcomes, anatomical features, and procedural specifics. By understanding the intricacies of each option, patients make a shared and informed decision that will lead to satisfaction and confidence in their body transformation.

From the initial consultation and though out of your follow up visits, Dr. Amir Ghaznavi prides himself on helping patient achieve their aesthetic goals; whether it’s the natural, rejuvenated look that a breast lift offers or the enhanced volume a breast augmentation brings.

With proper research and guidance from Dr. Ghaznavi, patients can achieve their desired self-image and embrace their unique beauty. So remember, take your time, do your research, and trust in yourself to make the best decision for you and your body.

At AMG Plastic Surgery, we believe that confidence is power ! Keep striving towards empowerment and self-love through every step of your aesthetic journey.