Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Understanding the Difference and Choosing the Right Procedure

Breast augmentation and breast lift procedures help women regain their confidence by restoring their figure’s lost glory. Learn which procedure is best for you.

As women age, their bodies undergo a series of changes, and the most significant is weight loss and weight gain due to hormonal changes and childbirth. As such, this affects their breasts; sometimes, they can become droopy or take weird shapes. This dramatically impairs their confidence such that undressing in front of their partner or wearing a bikini becomes a daunting task.

With the emergence of cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation and breast lifts, women can now regain their confidence. This article explores both approaches, their benefits, reasons behind them, and possible complications, allowing you to decide on which procedure best suits your needs.

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Understanding the Difference and Choosing the Right Procedure

What is a Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgery that aims to enhance the size and shape of your breasts. This procedure is sought after by women looking to achieve a more proportionate figure, restore breast volume lost due to factors such as pregnancy or weight loss, and boost their self-confidence.

Breast augmentation surgery is the safest, fastest, and most secure procedure to increase your breasts’ size, symmetry, and overall appearance. During the implantation procedure, the implants are inserted under the pectoral muscle.

What is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift is also known as mastopexy. It is a procedure designed to remove excess skin and tighten your breast tissue to elevate your bust. It’s primarily used to reshape drooping breasts.

Most people do a pencil test to determine eligibility for a breast lift. You place a pencil under your breast fold; your breasts are droopy if it doesn’t fall. If your nipple falls below the pencil, your case is severe and referred to as ptosis.

A breast lift has three approaches. These include:

Periareolar: With this approach, the incision follows the shape of your areolar. This approach is best suited for women with large areolas and minimal signs of breast drooping.

Vertical breast reduction: With this approach, the incision is the shape of the areola and down the areola, allowing for a better lift for moderate drooping.

Inverted-T incisions: This approach includes both the periareolar and vertical breast reduction approach and another incision is made within the breast fold. This is the most used approach, allowing optimal breast lift results.

Note: The type of approach depends on the level of breast sagging, breast volume, and tissue.

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Know the Differences

A breast lift is more expensive than breast augmentation as it requires more work, such as removing the excess tissue, repositioning it, and fixing the nipple position. A breast lift costs approximately $12,000. On the other hand, a breast implant ranges between $ 8,000 and $10,000.

Breast augmentation is meant to increase the size and shape of your breasts, while a breast lift is meant to fix droopy breasts by restoring their firmness and shape.

Breast augmentation involves adding implants to increase the size and volume. It can also be done by transferring fats from other parts of your body to your breasts. A breast lift requires the removal of excess tissue for reshaping and tightening the tissues to restore their youthful look and appeal. Some doctors also reposition the nipple and areola.

A breast lift procedure takes longer to complete ( 2-3 hours) since it requires the removal of excess skin, tightening, and contouring of the breast. Breast augmentation takes less time (1-2 hours) since it involves making the incision, inserting the implant, and closing it.

Breast lift recovery takes 6 to 12 weeks, while breast augmentation takes 4 to 6 weeks.

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Understanding the Difference and Choosing the Right Procedure

Types of Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation can be done following the two approaches below.

  1. Breast Implants
  2. Fat Transfer procedure

Breast Implants

One of the most critical components of breast augmentation is breast implants. The implants come in different sizes and materials to cater to your unique preferences.

Fat Transfer Augmentation

Another technique gaining popularity is fat transfer augmentation. This innovative approach involves harvesting excess fat from one part of your body and transferring it to your breasts, resulting in a natural enhancement.

Types of Breast Implants

Below are the different types of breast implants.

Silicone Implants

Silicone implants are popular among women seeking a soft and natural feel. These implants are filled with silicone gel, which closely mimics the texture of natural breast tissue. The result is a seamless blend between the implant and your existing breast structure, yielding a natural-looking feel. They are ideal for women over 22 and can also be used in breast reconstruction.

Saline-Filled Breast Implants

Saline-filled breast implants are ideal for women over 18 years. These implants are inserted empty and filled with sterile saline solution to achieve the desired volume. The flexibility in adjusting the saline content allows for fine-tuning the size and shape during surgery, thus, accommodating individual variations and preferences.

Breast Tissue Expanders

These are ideal for women who have undergone mastectomy. It aims to rebuild injured or deformed breasts. The breast expander is used to expand the breast tissue in preparation for breast implant insertion.

Breast tissue expanders are thick-walled silicone balloons that are either smooth or textured. They are inserted under the breast skin. This insertion is done about six months before the implantation surgery. And once the surgical incision is healed, the balloon is inflated using saline or carbon dioxide gas.

When the right size of expansion is achieved, the breast expander is removed because leaving it in your body for an extended period can lead to skin thinning, tissue injury, or pain. Then a new procedure is done to insert the breast implant.

Gummy Bear Breast Implants

Gummy bear breast implants are best if you want durability and shape retention. The silicone gel inside the implant is thicker than those in silicone-filled implants, making them firmer. The only downside is you will need a longer incision.

Round Breast Implants

As the name suggests, it offers a symmetrical and spherical shape. They give your breasts a fuller and round shape. Because of their round shape, you don’t have to worry about them rotating and forming a weird shape.

Smooth Breast Implants

Smooth breast implants are designed to move naturally within the breast pocket, yielding a soft and authentic texture.

Textured Breast Implants

Textured breast implants offer a unique advantage by minimizing the risk of implant displacement. The textured surface fosters tissue adherence, promoting stability and reducing the likelihood of rotations or shifts.

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Understanding the Difference and Choosing the Right Procedure

Benefits of Breast Augmentation

Possible Complications of a Breast Augmentation

While breast augmentation can yield remarkable results, being aware of potential complications is crucial. These can include:

  • Infection
  • Implant rupture
  • Changes in nipple sensation
  • Capsular contracture

Ideal Candidate for a Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is ideal for women who want to increase their breasts’ size and volume. It is also suitable for women who are done having kids and want to restore their lost fullness.

 Reasons to Get a Breast Lift

  • Your breasts lack firmness
  • You don’t want to change the size of your breasts
  • Breasts are droopy
  • Want to minimize the size of your areola
  • The area around your nipple and areola is too stretched

Benefits of a Breast Lift

  • Your clothes tend to fit better around your chest area
  • Your breasts’ symmetry and projection are enhanced
  • The results are long-lasting
  • The scar tissue is light and hardly visible
  • The upper part of your breasts gets a natural fullness giving you a youthful appearance.
  • Enhanced self-confidence

Ideal Candidate for a Breast Lift

Determining your eligibility for a breast lift involves assessing the degree of sagging and your desired outcome. If you’re wanting to counter the effects of aging, pregnancy, or weight fluctuations, a breast lift may be the best solution. Working with a skilled surgeon is the best way to guarantee the best results.

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Understanding the Difference and Choosing the Right Procedure

Possible Side Effects of a Breast Lift

Be aware of these possible side effects when choosing a breast lift procedure.

  • Scarring
  • Difficulty breastfeeding
  • Asymmetry
  • It’s recommended to wait until you are done having children to get a breast lift.
  • Partial or total loss of nipple sensation

How Long Does a Breast Lift Last?

A breast is natural and can last long before signs of aging are visible. However, it’s wise to note that gravity, weight changes, and loss of elasticity will lead to more drooping. So, maintain a healthy weight and make the necessary changes in your lifestyle, such as exercise and a better diet.

How Long Do Breast Implants Last?

Although saline and silicone implants are designed to last a lifetime, patients are advised not to have them in their bodies for many years. This is because the more they remain in the chest, the higher the chances of having complications, such as rupture, leakage, or capsular contracture.

Cosmetic surgeons recommend that patients consider replacing their implants every ten years and schedule yearly checks to ensure they have no issues.

Where the fat transfer procedure is concerned, you will incur no risks as some of the fat transferred is lost within the first few weeks, which is normal. Most fat-transfer breast procedures are affected by weight changes, so it’s best to maintain a healthy weight.

Can You Get Both a Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift?

In some cases, combining a breast augmentation with a breast lift can yield transformative results. This approach is best for women who want to address both volume and sagging. You can explore combining both procedures by scheduling a consultation with your surgeon, whereby they will create a customized plan that aligns with your desired result.

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Understanding the Difference and Choosing the Right Procedure

Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift: Which is the Best Procedure for You?

The decision between a breast augmentation and a breast lift depends on your needs and goals.

If you want to increase the size and volume of your breasts, then breast augmentation is the best procedure. This is because it focuses on enhancement. However, if you are done breastfeeding or have lost a significant amount of weight resulting in droopy breasts, a breast lift is your go-to procedure. 

The best part is you can combine both procedures to fix the droopiness and increase the size and volume, but it would be best to work with a reputable cosmetic surgeon for the best results.

Final Thoughts

As you embark on your journey towards breast enhancement, whether through a breast augmentation or a breast lift, it’s essential to be well-informed and collaborate closely with a skilled surgeon. Understanding each procedure and considering your goals helps you make an informed decision.

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