Do I need a Breast Augmentation or a Breast Lift?

April 4th, 2014 / Back to Blog »

Do I need a Breast Augmentation or a Breast Lift?

Many women come into the office asking about cosmetic breast procedures, but there is confusion about which procedure women need (or want, as the case may be).

A breast lift and a breast augmentation are two different operations with two different goals:

A breast augmentation does just that – it AUGMENTS the existing volume of the breast by placing an implant (or your own body fat) under the breast tissue, making the breasts larger.

A breast lift (“mastopexy”), on the other hand, takes the existing breast volume that has dropped over time and repositions it back into its youthful position.

The big question is, then: Which procedure is the right one for you?

There are many factors that go into making that decision, but it really all boils down to where the nipple is in relationship to the fold under your breast (the inframammary fold, or IMF).  The size of the breast, while still an important consideration, is secondary to the position of the nipple when choosing the correct operation.

  • If the nipple is above the fold when you are standing up and looking in a mirror, then a breast augmentation is a good option for breast enhancement.
  • If the nipple is at or below the fold (again, when you are standing up and looking in a mirror), then a breast lift will be needed to restore a youthful appearance to the breasts – with or without the addition of an implant.

A good example of this is demonstrated below.  Both of these women are roughly the same age (mid 30’s) and had finished having children.  They were both interested in breast implants to enhance the shape of their breasts.

In the picture on the right, you can see that the nipples sit well above the breast crease – this woman is a good candidate for a breast augmentation, no lift required.  The patient on the left, however, would not be happy with an implant.  In her situation, an implant would have made her look odd – the breast would slide off of the front of the implant…not a great look for anyone.  Her solution is either a breast lift OR a lift in combination with an implant.  Either way, any cosmetic enhancement of the breast requires a lift of some sort.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.12.26 AM

Nipples above the fold                                      Nipples below the fold

      (Good augmentation candidate)                       (Will need a breast lift for best results)

Both a breast augmentation and a breast lift can be used to restore the youthful shape and size of the breasts after having children.  As with anything else in plastic surgery, if you understand the “how’s” and “why’s” with regard to which procedure is right for you, you’re more likely to have a good experience.

If you would like more information or would like to schedule a consultation for a breast augmentation, a breast lift, or a both, please call the office at (865) 973-9500 or fill out the “Contact Us” box to the right and someone will be in contact with you by email.