The human body changes as it grows old. For women, one of the most drastic changes that come with aging is the drooping of the breast. On the other hand, there are also those, regardless of age, who want to improve their breasts. If you want to enhance your bust line, it’s important to learn about the various options on the table, including the top two breast enhancement procedures: breast lift and breast augmentation. Knowing the difference between a breast lift and a breast augmentation is crucial in determining which procedure is most appropriate for you.
Both breast augmentation and breast lift are among the top cosmetic procedures in the world.
In fact, breast augmentation remains the top cosmetic plastic surgery procedure in the US based on the 2013 figures of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), while breast lifts have increased by 70% since the year 2000,
A breast lift procedure, otherwise known as a mastopexy, is a form of cosmetic surgery where sagging or drooping breasts are raised, reshaped and firmed up to create a new contour. The purpose of the breast lift is to “lift” the breasts and make them firmer, and not to alter their size. In some breast lift procedures, an additional cleavage might be pronounced due to the new positioning of the breasts.
It is the procedure of choice for those who want to fix their drooping breasts, regardless of their size, as well as for women whose nipples are too low and have pointed downward. These conditions are either hereditary or inherited, or are a result of pregnancies, breastfeeding, changes in body weight, aging or even gravity. An areola that has become enlarged over time can also be corrected with a breast lift. With breast lift surgery, the nipples can be repositioned to look more natural, and the breasts can be made firmer for a younger, perkier contour.
Asymmetry of the breasts, where one breast differs from the other in terms of size, position or firmness, is normal. In fact, for the majority of the world’s population, the left side of their body is not exactly symmetrical with their right side. Look at your face in the mirror and you may see that both sides may not exactly be the same – one eye may be smaller or one ear longer.
However, there are cases where breast asymmetry is so pronounced that it is noticeable even when one is wearing a bikini. If this has happened to you, you may have felt self-conscious and embarrassed, and it may have put a damper on a day that was otherwise supposed to be fun. In this case, provided that the difference in the size is not too great, a breast lift is a good option.
When it comes to the age range, a breast lift procedure can be performed on patients of any age, provided that they are healthy and that the breasts have fully developed. This means that very young women would have to wait until their breasts have fully developed before they can have this procedure. Other women choose to have the surgery until after they have kids so that breastfeeding will not affect the results. However, if you are in the right reproductive stage and you want to have the procedure already, you do not have to wait until after your kids no longer breastfeed before you go under the knife. With a breast lift surgery, the nipples and the milk ducts are still intact so it will not affect your ability to breastfeed your child. However, if you do plan on breastfeeding your children after a breast lift procedure, you should consult this possibility with your surgeon prior to the surgery.
The procedure involves the cosmetic surgeon raising your breast, nipple and areola to a higher spot and then removing excess skin from the lower part of the breast. The surrounding tissue is then tightened and sutured to reshape and support the new breast contour. This will result in a breast that no longer sags as it is on a higher position and has a firmer, more attractive shape.
Large, heavy-breasted women with drooping breasts can have the procedure, but the breast lift achieves best results in women with small or medium sized breasts. This is because procedures performed on big breasted women are not as long-lasting as those done on smaller breasts.
Though this type of surgery is most suitable for women with sagging breasts, just as with other types of surgeries, there are a few drawbacks with a breast lift procedure, the most common being the scarring of the breast, due to the reduction of the tissue and the tightening of the skin. Also, some women may not get the dramatic results they are hoping for if they get a breast lift procedure with the misguided idea that it will increase the size of their breast.
The other option is for women to undergo a breast augmentation procedure or mammaplasty. Breast augmentation surgery is the procedure that increases your cup size by placing either saline or silicone implants into your breasts to restore lost breast volume or to make the breast bigger. This procedure offers a variety of implants that would allow you to get the look you desire. Since the implants are merely inserted, there is minimal scarring and only in inconspicuous areas. Implants are also used for breast reconstruction following an injury or a mastectomy.
Saline vs. Silicone
Aside from being less expensive than silicone or gel implants, the main advantage of saline implants over the silicone gel type is in the way it is filled. It is filled only after it is inserted, so the incision that is made is smaller, thereby leaving only a smaller scar compared to the silicone option.
Silicone or gel implants, even the smaller ones, can be difficult to insert through small incisions the size of the ones for saline implants without the risk of breaking them. Silicone implants require incisions twice the size of the ones for saline implants, leaving a larger, more visible scar.
Saline implants give the patient more volume choices and these can also be adjusted. Moreover, if the saline implants rupture, the salt water is merely absorbed by your body and your breast would revert back to its pre-implant size, while a ruptured silicone implant is silent: if it breaks, the free gel remains in the breast so the breast looks and feels the same. There are no tell-tale signs of the leak and you would have to get a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reading in order to determine if there is a rupture. It is recommended that women with silicone implants undergo MRI exams every two years to determine the condition of the implant over time.
Also, with a saline implant, there is a somewhat lesser risk of contracting capsular contractures, or the hardening of the implant as a result of hardened scar tissue forming a capsule around it.
On the other hand, silicone breast implants feel and look more natural, especially when inserted over the muscle. Since the implants are filled with the jelly-like silicone, they ripple less when placed under thin soft tissue cover. Silicone also mimics the consistency and density of the normal breast compared to the saline implant, which is prone to ripples.
Most women prefer silicone implants over saline because of the more natural look and feel, and because silicone implants are less likely to rupture. In the 2013 statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 72% of breast augmentations were silicone implants, compared to 28% saline implants.
Depending on your condition and your preference, both breast lift and breast augmentation can be performed as a single procedure, or done one after the other. This is because while a breast lift corrects a sagging breast, it will not necessarily increase its size. A combination of both breast lift and breast augmentation may be the best option to further enhance the shape and form of your chest area.