Should I Get a Breast Lift or a Breast Augmentation?

Breast surgery is an effective solution to improve the look of your chest and gain a confidence boost. Learning what your options are even before meeting with a plastic surgeon helps you get a more precise idea of what may fit your needs. While breast augmentation and breast implants are what most people associate with breast surgery, another useful method is a breast lift. This procedure tightens the skin and tissues around your breast for a more detailed contour. Both types of surgeries are breast enhancement, but their goals are different.

Aesthetic Differences

A breast augmentation or breast implant procedure focuses on the enlargement and firmness of the breasts while a breast lift surgery aims at reducing sagging. Both types of plastic surgeries can have natural-looking results although breast implants can result in a more dramatic change if you desire it. Implants are the solution when you find that your breasts are too small and are looking for more volume or if you find that there is a significant size difference between them.

When your breasts lose elasticity and firmness due to pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or age, a breast lift can make a significant difference to restore a more youthful appearance. This doesn’t affect the volume of your breast. This procedure raises the position of the nipples and the areolae (the darker area around the nipples). If you are currently breastfeeding or are considering pregnancy in the future, you may want to delay getting a breast lift.

Can I Get Both?

It is possible to get both a breast lift and implants at the same time, although not all surgeons choose to do this. If your doctor chooses to perform two procedures, they usually begin with the lift and place the implants at a later time. If you get the combined surgery, providers usually refer to it as a breast lift with implants.

When you initially see your provider, they will perform a physical examination, discuss your goals, and thoroughly review your medical history. Implants and lift techniques depend on your natural breasts and how you want them to look after the procedure, including what cup size you are hoping to achieve.

Procedure and Recovery

A breast augmentation involves placing saline or silicone implants either underneath the chest muscles or behind breast tissues. Your surgeon will usually make incisions under the crease of your breasts, in your armpit, or around the areolae. You will be under general anesthesia and the surgery takes one to two hours to complete.

In the case of a breast lift, the procedure focuses on removing excess skin, reshaping breast tissues, and possibly repositioning the nipples. Your doctor makes the incisions around the areolae. Like for a breast augmentation, you will be under general anesthesia, and the surgery generally takes about three hours.

The recovery for breast implants or a breast lift is usually around six weeks, although you may heal from a lift a little bit faster.

Common side effects involve fatigue and soreness up to a week after the surgery. You may also have drainage tubes attached to your breasts for a few days. Depending on whether your stitches are dissolvable, you may need to have them removed during a follow-up appointment. Your doctor may recommend you wear a surgical bra to optimize your healing process and comfort. Resuming normal activities usually happens within a week but you should avoid putting strain on your chest area for several weeks.


Recent saline and silicone breast implants can last up to 20 years. Your doctor can also explain how to examine your breasts and implants to know if they need replacement. As for breast lifts, their results can last for a long time too.

A healthy lifestyle, regular exercise to strengthen your chest muscles, and keeping an appropriate and steady weight, allow you to maintain the positive results of your breast enhancement surgery.

If you are interested in getting breast surgery, contact West Coast Plastic Surgery Center today at (805) 978-8545 to schedule a consultation!

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