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Breast Lift, Implants, or Both: Which is Right for You?

smiling-woman-02Your surgeon can help you decide whether one or both are appropriate

Breast lifts and implants can improve your confidence and help give you a fantastic shape. Wondering which is right for your body, or if both may be in order? Let’s learn about each procedure to help you make the right decision.

The breast lift

A breast lift, also called mastopexy, is used to correct sagging breast and restore the body to a more attractive, youthful position. During this procedure, a doctor will work to create the best possible results with minimal scarring.

This procedure is slightly different than breast augmentation because it does not enhance or restore fullness to the breasts, merely decreases sagging. Breast lift surgeries can also reposition the nipple, creating a more attractive look. To complete the procedure, a doctor will make an incision around the nipple and many cases a vertical incision will be required as well. Through the incisions, a necessary amount of skin and gland tissue is remove, creating a more visually-appealing breast.

With breast lifts, there will be noticeable scars for a certain period. However, these scars should flatten and fade over time, although they will remain visible to some degree.

Breast implants

There are many types of breast implants. These procedures insert artificial material into the breast through an incision made by the surgeon, creating a fuller, firmer breast. The ideal candidates for implants are women who are dissatisfied with the size, shape, or fullness of their breasts, or some individuals who would like to correct asymmetric breasts or change their shape.

Saline breast implants are the most common form. They have a few advantages and have helped many women achieve self-confidence. These implants are made of saltwater solution inside a soft silicone shell. The saltwater inside the implants can be safely absorbed by the body if the implant becomes ruptured, and ruptures are easier to detect. They are also less expensive than silicone and allow for a smaller incision because the shell can be filled after it is inserted into the breast.

The drawbacks of saline are that they tend to be firmer and heavier than silicone implants, and there is some risk of the implant rippling. Surgeons sometimes avert this side effect by overfilling the implant, and we will work to assess the appropriate volume to minimize any risk. In addition, natural results can be achieved when the implant is placed below the pectoral muscle.

Silicone implants were reintroduced into cosmetic surgical procedures in 2006. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) had stopped their use after concerns that they would rupture and cause autoimmune complications; saline was considered less of a risk because saline is essentially bioidentical to the human body. These concerns abated after detailed review by researchers, and silicone implants have improved in safety, appearance, and feel. They feature a soft rubber shell that contains silicone gel, which closely resembles the consistency of natural breast tissue. A natural feel is one of their advantages, along with a smaller chance of rippling and the fact that they are lighter.

Their disadvantages relative to saline implants are that they are more expensive; their volume is also not adjustable and they require a larger incision. In addition, the FDA requires patients to be at least 22 years old.

There are a few forms of silicone implant, including a new version called the “gummy bear” implant. It sounds silly, but these implants are made from silicone gel that has the firmness and consistency of a gummy bear. This implant appears to have less chance of breakage, less “rippling,” and maintains its shape for a longer period.

When should you choose both?

While it’s not always required, it is possible to have breast implants and lifts at the same time. The lift will be used to reposition the breast higher on the chest, while the implant will help restore the fullness of the breast itself.

This procedure can be very effective for improving deflated breasts with significant sagging, which is often brought on by childbirth. If you have loss of fullness near the top of your breasts or significant loss of volume, combined with breasts that hang lower, you may be very happy with both a breast lift and an implant procedure.

Complete care, advice, and support for your body

Not sure if you need a lift, implant, or both? Contact our office today to learn more about our advanced plastic surgery services in New York City and the surrounding area. We firmly believe in providing our patients with an educational, collaborative environment, ensuring that you have a say in every decision about your procedure. We’d be honored give you the right advice so you can make the right decision for your body.

Tracy Pfeifer M.D. FACS is a board-certified plastic surgeon, trained and experienced in the most advanced cosmetic surgical procedures available today. Dr. Pfeifer is board certified by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery and she completed advanced training in Breast Surgery as a Fellow at the prestigious Institute of Reconstructive Breast Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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