What is the Difference Between a Breast Implant and a Breast Lift?

If you wish to enhance your profile  or change the appearance of your breasts, you have two options depending on your goals for your silhouette:

  1. A breast augmentation procedure using saline or silicone implants, which will change the size and fullness of your breasts
  2. A breast lift, which will adjust the position of your breasts

While both of these procedures can improve and enhance the appearance of your breasts and help you achieve your desired aesthetic, they each address different concerns. If you’re unsure which is right for you, a board-certified plastic surgeon can provide you with personalized insight.

Breast implants: what you need to know

When you undergo a breast augmentation procedure, your plastic surgeon may use saline or silicone implants or a fat transfer to enhance the size, volume, and shape of the breasts. This will change the size and fullness of the breasts, but not the position (though you may notice added perkiness).

Common reasons for this procedure include:

  • Returning to a previous breast size after a decrease due to pregnancy, weight loss, or aging
  • Adjusting asymmetrical breast tissue
  • Restoring breasts that have been removed due to health conditions such as breast cancer
  • Affirming gender identity
  • Boosting confidence and self-esteem

Note that breast implants do not last forever, with a lifespan ranging from approximately 10-25 years. Their longevity will depend largely on your body and how you care for your implants. Results from a fat transfer breast augmentation, on the other hand, are lifelong.

Breast lift: what you need to know

When you undergo a breast lift procedure, or mastopexy, your plastic surgeon will reshape the breasts by removing loose or sagging breast tissue, repositioning the areola, and improving the overall placement to restore a youthful appearance. A breast lift focuses on adjusting the shape and location of the breasts, but not the size.

Common reasons for this procedure include:

  • Repositioning downward-pointing nipples
  • Improving a “deflated” appearance after breastfeeding, weight loss, or aging
  • Adjusting uneven breast placement
  • Minimizing skin irritation and chafing as a result of sagging or drooping breasts

The results of a breast lift are long-lasting, but not permanent. It’s important to note that weight gain, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and aging can alter the position of your breasts, even after plastic surgery. If you are concerned about maintaining a youthful appearance, you may want to consider a breast lift revision at a later date.

Can I get breast implants and a breast lift?

While breast augmentations and breast lifts are different in scope, they can often complement each other. Depending on your desires, you may elect to undergo one procedure but not the other, or combine the two into one procedure.

For example, some individuals may experience a slight reduction in breast size following breast lift surgery. If this results in smaller breasts than you would prefer, you may choose to combine your breast lift with a breast augmentation using implants or a fat transfer.

Breast implant revision or removal can also be paired with a breast lift to promote your desired shape.

How do I know which procedure is right for me?

Determining the right procedure for you depends on your body and your goals. For example, if you are unhappy with the placement of your breasts or have noticed sagging or drooping over time, a breast lift may be the right choice for you.

Alternatively, if you are satisfied with the position of your breasts but would like them to be larger, breast augmentation is likely the right choice.

If you are concerned about both the position and size of your breasts, you may opt for a breast lift and breast augmentation to be performed during the same procedure.

Consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon

If you are unsatisfied with the appearance of your breasts but are not sure which procedure is right for you, you should schedule an initial consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. They will take your goals, your body type, and lifestyle into consideration, and advise you of the right route for you to take.

Your plastic surgeon should be able to show you before and after photos with multiple views of recent patients, particularly with a variety of body types and examples that are relevant to you and your desired results.

To request a consultation with Dr. Maman, visit our website or contact our office at (212) 920-6800.