Breast surgery is the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the world with over 1.6 million breast augmentations (implants) and roughly 600,000 mastopexy (breast lift) surgeries performed in 2020. While these procedures are common, many patients are unsure which breast surgery is right for them. Breast implants are designed to create projection and volume while breast lifts reduce skin sagging and lift the breasts to a more ideal location. Both breast implants and lifts can improve the bust area and often the procedures are combined for optimal results.
Are breast implants right for you?
Pregnancy and aging can change the volume, shape, size, and projection of the breasts. Genetics can cause tuberous or asymmetrical breasts that may require surgery to correct. Breast augmentation uses implants to improve and create a larger and more attractive breast.
Candidates for breast implants are 18 years of age or older who want to improve the appearance of their cleavage, size, projection, or volume. For some patients, breast augmentation surgery is purely for cosmetic reasons and to improve confidence. For others, the surgery may correct a more serious issue.
What happens during breast implant surgery?
Breast implant surgery improves the appearance of the breasts by placing implants either above or under the chest muscles depending on body structure, skin elasticity, breast density, and patient goals.
There are various materials, sizes, and shapes for breast implants. Patients have a choice between saline and silicone material, amount of volume, teardrop or round shape, and smooth or textured implants.
Breast implants for tuberous breasts
Tuberous breasts are best corrected with breast implants and require an in-depth assessment from a board-certified plastic surgeon. Physically they can vary from mild to severe and can affect self-esteem, aesthetics, and breast asymmetry. Issues from tuberous breasts can be breast constriction, inframammary fold malposition, and areola prominence (large areolas).
It is not clear what causes tuberous breasts. Most tuberous breasts occur during puberty and can be the result of abnormal gland development because of collagen excess in the fascia that can alter the shape of the breasts.
Surgery for tuberous breasts may have to occur in stages or several surgeries to get the desired results. For mild cases, there may only need to be one stage of surgery. The goal of the first stage is to release constricted breast tissue, lower the infra-mammary fold, and reduce the areola. This is done with a breast implant.
Breast implants to correct breast asymmetry
Patients experiencing breast asymmetry may be good candidates for breast implants. Asymmetry occurs when there is a difference in position, volume, or form of each breast. Hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, birth control, and menopause may cause the breasts to grow or change at different rates causing one breast to look different from the other. Some asymmetrical breasts will re-balance after hormonal shifts are complete. Others will find that the asymmetry is permanent and will seek breast implants as a remedy.
Breast lift surgery
Breast lift surgery corrects breast ptosis or sagging skin. During a breast lift, excess skin is removed, and incisions are created in the breast tissue to elevate the breasts to a more desired position and shape. The number of incisions and patterns will depend upon the amount of excess skin, breast volume, and patient goals. When the excess breast skin is removed and the tissue is lifted, the breasts may appear smaller. However, both the breast and areola will be repositioned to appear firmer and more youthful.
Breast Augmentation + Lift
Breasts implants and lifts may be combined if both volume and a lift are needed to meet patient goals. Patients with breast ptosis in smaller breasts may opt to include implants to create more volume and fullness. And patients with ptosis and larger breasts may include implants for additional lift and fullness to the upper pole.