Pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and aging – the most normal of life events – can cause changes in a woman’s breasts. Genetics and disease can affect breast appearance, too. Whatever the reason, a woman who is unsatisfied with her breasts may seek cosmetic surgery. She hopes it will help her achieve her goals for her appearance and boost her confidence.

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation surgery is the most common plastic surgery procedure in the U.S. This procedure involves placement of saline or silicone implants. Breast augmentation offers several benefits including increased size and firmness, more fullness and improved shape, and better symmetry of breasts.

As simple as it may sound to place an implant in the breast, there are actually many variables that affect this surgery. The type of incision and placement of the implant (above or below the muscle) are decisions that will be made specific to your circumstances. There is no single type of breast augmentation that works for every woman, and a good surgeon will customize the procedure according to your own anatomy and goals.

In addition, there are concerns about breast appearance that simply can’t be solved with an implant. Many women seeking augmentation complain of droopiness and sagging of the breast. But in these cases, it isn’t necessarily size that’s the problem. It’s more of an issue of getting everything back where it belongs.

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

In these circumstances, a breast lift is most likely to offer the desired results. Women whose nipple is below the breast fold or who have a significant amount of skin below the breast fold may feel like an augmentation will improve everything. However, an augmentation alone can make matters worse. The extra weight of the implant will just cause more sagging and stretching of skin.

The breast lift is actually a bit of a breast reduction, in that excess skin is removed from around the nipple and the lower part of the breast. In addition, the nipple is moved up to a more youthful position and is made smaller. The reduction in sagging and improved firmness often provide pleasing results without the need for implants.

Breast Augmentation with Lift

For women who are unhappy with the size of their breasts, lack fullness in the upper part of their breasts, and who have sagging, excess skin, a combination of augmentation and lift may be the right choice.

This combined procedure is a bit more complicated than either procedure alone. The surgeon is tightening skin with the lift, yet stretching it with the implant. There is an art to balancing these procedures, but a skilled surgeon can use them to create excellent results.

Once again, this procedure is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Choosing an implant, determining how much skin to remove, and placing incisions are all dependent upon your specific circumstances. Sometimes a follow-up surgery to tighten skin after it relaxes around the implant will be required. In some cases the best results are achieved when the two procedures are done at least nine months apart. These decisions must be made based on your individual situation.

Just like everything else about you, your breasts are unique and so are your desires for your appearance. An augmentaiton, lift, or both might provide the results you are looking for. A consultation with a highly trained and experienced plastic surgeon is the best first step to choosing the right path for you.