American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Breast lift vs breast augmentation vs breast implants – what's the difference?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has recently noted that more women than ever before are opting for some type of breast enhancement procedure. Traditionally, women think of getting implants as the only way to enhance the look of their breasts, but this is actually not the case. In fact, breast lift surgeries are outpacing implant surgeries by 2 to 1.

You may have seen terms like breast lift, breast augmentation and breast implants used interchangeably. To help shed some light on these procedures, this blog will explain the differences and who can benefit most from each.

Breast augmentation

What is it?

Breast augmentation and breast implant surgery are two names for what is essentially the same procedure. These cosmetic surgeries involve placing silicone or saline implants into the breast in order to enhance size, shape and volume.

You may also see fat transfer referenced under the umbrella of breast augmentation, but this option is less common.

Who is it for?

All breast implants are FDA-approved for healthy patients who meet minimum age requirements. Healthy patients who are at least 18 years old may opt for saline implants, but they are not eligible for silicone until they turn 22.

Breast augmentation is primarily for women who hope to increase the overall size of their breasts. The procedure is also beneficial to patients who want volume or shape enhancements. Women who have experienced pregnancy or significant weight loss may also opt for this surgery to restore lost fullness.

What's the end result?

The end result depends on many factors, including the size, shape and material you choose for your implants as well as your overall body shape. However, the general end result of breast augmentation is perkier, fuller breasts that are more symmetrical and appealing.

Most women report that their clothing and bras fit better, and many feel a lasting boost to their self-confidence.

Breast lift

What is it?

A breast lift does not involve implants at all. Rather, the surgeon manipulates the existing breast tissue in order to lift and tighten the breast. This gives your breasts a more natural contour and improves any sagging, drooping or mild asymmetry you may be experiencing due to factors such as age, pregnancy or illness.

Who is it for?

Breast lifts are most beneficial to women who are only seeking to restore some of the natural youthfulness of their breasts. Because this procedure does not add volume, it gives a very natural look and feel, which is a nice option for women who already have a good amount of natural breast tissue. It simply makes the breasts look firmer, perkier and more youthful.

What's the end result?

The end result of a breast lift is much more subtle and natural than an implant surgery. You can think of it like turning back the hands of time to when your breasts were optimally firm and perky. However, it will not increase the fullness of the top of your breasts or increase your cup size – something only implants can do.

Can I get breast implants and a breast lift?

It is becoming increasingly popular for women to combine breast augmentation with a breast lift procedure.

Women who have had children often benefit the most from this combined procedure because of the significant changes their bodies undergo during and after pregnancy. It's common for mothers to experience a loss of shape and volume after giving birth and breastfeeding, making such women who want to increase the fullness and perkiness of their breasts excellent candidates for a lift plus augmentation.

How do I know which procedure is right for me?

It can be difficult to know exactly which procedure or combination of procedures will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Consulting with a professional, board-certified plastic surgeon will help you make that determination, get a realistic idea of what can be achieved, and tailor a treatment that's specific to your unique body and goals.

Whether you opt for breast augmentation, a simple breast lift or a combination of both, you can feel confident in knowing that you will be on the path to looking and feeling your absolute best.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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