Breast Lift: With Or Without Implants?

Written By
Fiza Bashir
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September 6, 2022

When it comes to plastic surgery, breast augmentations are some of the most common in North America. That being said, many women are unaware of the fact that their options go beyond a standard breast augmentation. Breast lifts address sagging and drooping of the breasts. Independently, they do not increase size, they lift and add perkiness to breasts. Adding implants, the combination adds fullness to the now uplifted breasts. Whether you’re having a breast lift, and breast lift with implants, or breast implants on their own, these procedures can be tailored to a patient’s specific needs and aesthetic goals.

Many people who are getting older or who have had children will find that their breasts have lost volume in the upper pole (above the areola). They may also notice that the skin and tissue of their breasts has begun to sag. Breast sagging is defined as when the areola falls beneath the line of the breast fold. In these cases, surgery can be used to bring the breasts back to their ‘former glory’. But which procedure is right for you?

What is a Breast Lift Procedure

A Breast Lift, (or Mastopexy) on its own is primarily used to address breast drooping, but can also be used to improve breast shape, areola size and shape, and even to reduce breast size. A Breast Lift is a procedure in which the surgeon takes the breast apart, and rearranges it to provide a more lifted appearance. For patients who only require a little lift, a lollipop incision is used. The incision is made around the areola, with a line straight down to the breast fold (resembling a lollipop).

For patients who require a larger lift, an anchor incision is best. These incisions follow the same shape as a lollipop, but with an additional incision line along the breast fold for additional support (resembling an anchor).

Typically patients are hesitant about breast lifts due to these scars, which are much larger than that of a simple breast augmentation. Over time, these scars do fade as the breasts heal and settle into their new shape.

What is a Breast Augmentation Procedure

A Breast Augmentation involves the use of a silicone or saline implant to increase the size of the breasts. A silicone implant is made of a silicone shell, filled with silicone gel. These implants are also known as cohesive gel, or ‘gummy bear’ implants due to the safety measure that if ruptured the gel will remain inside the shell of the implant without leaking or oozing into the breast cavity. While a rupture is rare, surgeons do recommend that patients receive MRI’s every so often to be sure that the implants are still intact.

A saline implant is a silicone shell filled with saline (salt water). These implants are rolled up and filled once in the breast cavity, and can be filled to different sizes to address asymmetries. If a saline implant ruptures, you will know immediately and the saline is not at all harmful to your body.

Both implants can be inserted through the armpit (transaxillary incision), under the breast fold (inframammary incision) or through the areola (periareolar incision). While typically these are all easy to placements, advancements in the industry like the Tiny Scar Incision allows for a 1” scar that when healed is virtually invisible to the untrained eye.

It is important to note that a  Breast Augmentation will not help a person who would like to address sagging breast tissue. Because the implant is inserted behind the breast tissue and not directly into it, there is no way to “fill up” the breast with implants. Implants are only used to increase the size of the breasts themselves. They can also be used to address asymmetries by choosing different sizes to balance the breasts. A surgeon should never recommend breast implants to a person who is looking for a more lifted appearance.

What is a Breast Lift Procedure with Implants

Patients are also able to combine the two procedures. A Breast Lift with Implants is the best way to achieve the best of both worlds. First, the surgeon will perform the Breast Lift portion of the surgery, in order to form the new shape of the breast. One in place, the implant will be inserted to increase the size of the new breast.

These combination surgeries are very common for patients undergoing Mommy Makeovers, which are a set of surgeries to reverse the effects of pregnancy like loose skin and loss of volume. Dr Jugenburg says, “I love doing these procedures because the patients are always so ecstatic with their results. We love that Mommy Makeover patients choose to have these surgeries to feel more comfortable and more like themselves in their bodies as new moms. We encourage patients to do this for themselves, and no one else!”

Pro’s and Con’s of Breast Lift Without Implants

  • Lifts make stretched nipples appear smaller and the breast larger, in some cases not even needing a breast implant for restored appearance
  • Without implants, the procedure is less expensive
  • For those who are doing it for better posture and back support, implants add weight and can further that issue
  • No need to worry about changing out breast implants or any of the potential side effects

  • Forgoing implants will not increase the size of the breast, cleavage, etc.
  • Without breast implants, the surgery will not help to retain volume and add curves
  • Combining implants with your lift now could save you time and money if you wanted to go bigger in the future
  • Implants shape the chest, with much more customization that a breast lift has on its own

It is crucial to understand the difference between a breast augmentation and a breast lift before choosing your surgical plan. A breast augmentation alone will not be able to address any drooping or sagging that you may have, so if that is something you are concerned about, you will need to opt for a breast lift as well. However, a breast lift is a larger procedure that can provide a drastic transformation. If you are looking for lift and size, this is the procedure for you.

Ultimately, this is a personal decision, but it is important to be informed about all your options so that you can be happy with your final result.