American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

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

how to decide if you need a breast lift, breast implants or both

If you have considered having cosmetic breast surgery, there is a good chance that you have also wondered if you need a breast augmentation and/or a breast lift.

A woman's body goes through many changes throughout her lifetime, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breasts can lose their youthful perkiness and even start to sag on the chest. These changes are not only reserved for women with large, heavy breasts; small chested women can also experience deflated breasts or a downward droop.

So, how can you determine if the way back to a youthful-looking chest will be through breast augmentation, breast lift or both? Various factors will come into play when making this decision. The three most important points include nipple position, your desire for more breast volume and the overall breast size you would like to achieve. It is a combination of these patient-specific goals that should steer you in the right direction.

What you need to consider

Nipple position

If you look in the mirror and notice that your nipples point downward or sit below your breast crease, you may be a good candidate for a breast lift. Sagging tissue or the loss of volume can cause the nipple/areola to change position, stretch or become larger. When the breasts lose volume and become heavier in the lower pole, your nipple will sag, as well. While raising breast tissue, a breast lift will also reposition the nipple/areola to a more proportionate position. During the mastopexy, your surgeon can also reshape your nipple/areola, as well.


Breast volume refers to how round or full your breasts appear. Weight loss can leave the breasts looking flat or too small. Additionally, age or pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause the breasts to become larger and then deflate. In this situation, a breast implant can be used to restore volume to the chest, improving the shape of your breasts. A breast lift may also be needed to address any lax tissue.

Breast size

As the most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedure performed every year, there are many reasons women are unhappy with their breast size. You may have always wanted larger breasts or want to correct asymmetrical breasts. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will explain all of your implant options. You will also have a chance to try on implant sizes, giving you a better idea about how you will look after the procedure.

Combining breast augmentation with a breast lift

A breast lift and breast augmentation can be performed alone or combined into one procedure. Combing procedures can save you both money and time spent in recovery. However, choosing to have a breast lift years after your breast augmentation will not normally be a problem.

Everything begins with a breast augmentation consultation

Start your journey with a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, with years of experience. He or she will be a vital part of your team, walking you through this life-changing cosmetic procedure. When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon, ask to look through their before and after photographs. These will give you a good idea of their style and skill level. The more pictures they have to offer can often be an indicator of their satisfied patients and their level of experience.

Your consultation should consist of an extensive, patient-centered evaluation where your surgeon will answer your initial questions, learn about your medical history and find out what your desired results will be. Next, the surgeon will evaluate breast shape, nipple position and breast size. Together, you will determine the right procedure(s) to achieve your desired results.

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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