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Here at Precision Plastic Surgery we offer both breast augmentation and mastopexy  (breast lift) but do you know which one is right for you? Both are popular procedures and can enhance the appearance of the breasts. In most cases, you just need one or the other, but sometimes it is possible to need both so let’s take a look at what each procedure is.

A breast augmentation is a procedure to increase your cup size by placing implants into your breasts to get a larger size. There are two types of implants- silicone gel and saline. A patient must be at least 22 years of age or have a condition of the breast or chest requiring a reconstructive surgery to be a candidate for silicone gel implants. The other option is a saline implant which does not have the requirements necessary for silicone gel implants.  These are just two main differences between the implants.  There are many other styles, round vs shaped, smooth vs textured, and various profiles.  Make sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon that commonly performs breast procedures.  A consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John McFate and our team can help explain all of your options. You can read more about the procedure, the differences in the implants, and even view one of our patient’s breast augmentation video diaries on our page: Breast Augmentation.

breast lift (mastopexy) raises and firms the breast for a whole new contour. This procedure does not increase the size of the breast- it’s purpose is to fix drooping breasts, repositioning of the nipple for a more natural look, and to create the appearance of a younger, perkier contour with firmer breasts.  Typically, excess skin is removed from the breast and the nipple and areola are repositioned while remaining attached to the breast.  Sometimes a small amount of breast tissue is removed or repositioned from the lower part of the breast in order to provide a long lasting lift of the breasts.  There are many different techniques for a breast lift, and Dr. McFate can discuss your specific needs and recommend individual options unique to your goals.

How to decide if you need a breast lift vs a breast augmentation

Breast lifts are needed when there is drooping or excess skin of the breast leaving an empty or deflated appearance due to pregnancy, weight loss, breastfeeding, or gravity/age. As women get older the skin becomes less elastic and lifestyle habits such as smoking and excessive sun exposure can affect elasticity as well. A breast lift will cause the breasts to sit higher up on a woman’s chest making the breasts appear perkier and firmer.

A breast augmentation can provide some lift for the breasts depending on the placement of the implants, but a limited amount of lift is usually possible. A patient needs to be precisely examined to determine if a breast augmentation will achieve the amount of lift desired or if a mastopexy is required to achieve the appearance you want.  If you only want a larger breast size, breast augmentation is likely the operation you will need.

When to get both

In our practice, it is more common to perform an augmentation when a mastopexy is needed.  Commonly, a woman that is a candidate for a mastopexy also may require fullness or volume in the upper pole of the breast.  By adding even a small size implant to increase the upper portion of the breast, the overall shape and contour is often much more improved than with only a mastopexy.

Also, if your breasts are uneven it is common to perform slightly different procedures on each breast. One breast may need a larger implant on one side or a lift that brings both breasts into a more symmetrical position.  It is important that your surgeon and team are experienced when dealing with these differences so they can be clearly identified and maximize your results.

One rule of thumb that women may use to determine if they are a candidate for a breast lift (with or without an augmentation) is “nipples below the crease.” Stand in front of a mirror and see if your nipple falls below the level of the under-breast crease. If so, you may decide to look into a breast lift and/or augmentation.

If your nipples are pointed downward, that is a common reason many women choose to have a breast lift. However, there is no absolute test that can tell you in advance which type of surgery you will need to achieve your goals: a breast lift vs. breast augmentation.  Every individual is different and has specific goals.  Dr. McFate can discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure so you can agree on the best plan.  The next best step to take when deciding on your procedure is to call and schedule a free consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. John McFate.

Precision does have an on-site surgery suite that is accredited through the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facility (AAAASF). We also provide a number of resources for financing, fly in programs, and participate in programs for Veterans. To view all of our options visit our Resources page.

View our Gallery of before and after breast augmentation photos.

At Precision Plastic Surgery, Dr. McFate and our team can help you look your best.  We look forward to seeing you soon.