Breast Lift vs. Breast Implants: Which Do I Need?

You may know that you’re not happy with the appearance of your breasts, but do you know exactly what you need to get the results you want? How do you know whether you need a breast lift (mastopexy) or breast implants (breast augmentation)?

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can use to determine which procedure, or procedures, is right for you. The first step is having a clear picture of what you want. The second, and perhaps most important step, is choosing a plastic surgeon you can trust, and communicating that picture effectively.

Aesthetics of the Breast

There are many factors that can affect the aesthetics of the breast. Here are a few that are important for your cosmetic surgeon to consider, and for you to understand, before making a decision about your treatment plan:

Skin vs. Volume

Think of your breast as being composed of two parts: an “envelope,” which is the skin that covers the breast and the “filling,” which is the fat and tissue that creates the volume within the envelope. A well-shaped breast has a good match between the size of the envelope and the volume of the filling.

Nipple Location

A good way to determine if the skin envelope is too big is to look at the position of the nipple compared to the fold underneath the breast (called the infra-mammary fold). Normally, if there is a good match between the breast envelope and volume, the nipple will be positioned above the level of the fold. As the skin envelope gets bigger, the nipple droops lower.

When Breast Implants Are Enough

If the skin envelope is relatively normal (not stretched out much by weight fluctuations or pregnancy) and the breast volume is relatively low, then adding volume will create a good envelope-to-volume match. In this case, a breast implant alone can give a great result.

When a Breast Lift Is Needed

If the envelope is significantly stretched out but the volume is good, a breast lift is needed. Removing the excess skin will create a nice envelope-to-volume match.

When Both Implants and a Lift Are Needed

If the skin envelope is too big and the volume is smaller than you want, combining a breast implant with a breast lift will give you the best results.   

Some women think if they get large enough implants, they won’t need a lift. Trying to avoid a breast lift by getting large implants is a mistake. Implants that are too big weigh down the breasts and stretch out the skin. Often, this calls for a second surgery to replace the implants with smaller ones, as well as a breast lift to return the breasts to their proper position.

Emory Aesthetic Center

If you’re considering a breast lift or implants, come see one of our expert cosmetic surgeons to discuss your options. Schedule a complimentary consultation with the Emory Aesthetic Center to find out what procedure, or combination of procedures, is right for you.

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or call us at 404-778-6880.