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Breast Augmentation Patient

Due to the popularity of breast augmentation, most women immediately think of using implants when they consider cosmetic surgery for their breasts. Implants, however, are specifically intended to increase breast size, yet many women are equally or more concerned about the position or shape of their breasts. For these patients, surgeons will often recommend a breast lift, or mastopexy, instead — a different type of breast enhancement surgery that focuses on correcting breast sagging without using implants.

In addition to these two options, there is one other possibility: a combined breast augmentation and breast lift. This option is ideal for the specific type of patient whose concerns encompass both size and shape. A combined augmentation and lift can restore volume and projection, especially for women whose breasts have changed in shape and size due to aging or pregnancy.

If you are feeling unsure about the breast enhancement procedure that will achieve your aesthetic goals, the team at Banff Plastic Surgery is always here to help. As with any cosmetic surgery, the best way to know for certain whether you should have a breast augmentation, a breast lift or a combined augmentation and lift is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. As an introduction to your options, we have created this guide to help you learn more about the different surgeries and the types of patients who benefit from each one.

You like your breast shape, but not your breast size.

Many women — particularly young women, women who have not been through significant weight fluctuations or women who have not had children — are happy with the shape of their breasts, but feel that their breasts are smaller than they would like. These women typically have:

  • Good natural projection and lift
  • Symmetrical breasts
  • A nipple-areola complex that sits above the inframammary fold
  • Breasts that are smaller in size than desired

These patients’ main cosmetic concern is the size of their breasts. In this case, a breast augmentation alone is often the best option. Using implants, women who choose augmentation can create larger breasts customized in their desired size. Implants are safe, long-lasting and come in many shapes and sizes that can offer dramatic changes or a subtle, natural result, depending on each patient’s preferences.

You like your breast size, but your breasts are sagging.

We frequently meet with women who are happy with their natural breast volume but have experienced changes in their breast shape over the years. The delicate skin in the area is prone to stretching, which causes breast tissue to sit lower on the chest wall. Women who struggle with breast sagging, also called ptosis, may have:

  • More breast tissue in the lower half of the breast
  • A nipple-areola complex that sits below the inframammary fold
  • Downturned nipples
  • Breast splaying

These women often feel as though they simply want to get back the lifted, more youthful silhouette they once had. They may feel frustrated because they do not want larger breasts, but they are unsure if there is a way to restore breast position and projection without choosing implants. For these patients, we typically recommend a breast lift alone. Breast lifts are intended to remove excess stretched skin so existing breast tissue can sit higher on the chest wall, lending a fuller and younger appearance to the breasts without using implants.

You don’t like your breast shape, and your breasts are sagging.

Some women experience a loss of upper pole fullness along with breast sagging. This occurs when the tissue in the top half of the breast migrates to the lower half of the breast, or when weight loss, pregnancy or hormone shifts cause breast volume loss. These patients often describe their breasts as having a “deflated” or “bottom-heavy” shape that significantly ages their physique. They want a rounder, fuller shape as well as improved breast position. Women may have concerns encompassing:

  • Stretched or flat skin on the upper half of the breast
  • A nipple-areola complex that sits below the inframammary fold
  • The majority of breast tissue sits below the inframammary fold
  • Downturned nipples

In this case, a combined breast lift and augmentation often makes the most sense. The breast lift component of the procedure can correct sagging and nipple placement, while an implant restores fullness to the upper half of the breast. The result is that the patient’s breasts sit in a more lifted position on the chest wall, and that her breasts have evenly distributed volume between the upper and lower halves.

You like neither your breast size nor your breast shape.

While heavier breasts may be more prone to ptosis, women with smaller breasts can also experience breast sagging. Additionally, many women have breasts that are naturally splayed or sit low on the chest wall. The nipple-areola complex may also point outward or downward, or be asymmetrical. These patients may feel as though their breasts have never looked the way they wanted; they are seeking to improve breast volume, symmetry and projection to achieve their desired silhouette. Their concerns may include:

  • Breasts that are smaller in size than desired
  • Breasts that sag or sit low on the chest wall
  • Splayed breasts
  • Breasts that point downward

These patients are another category for which a combined breast augmentation and lift will likely make the most sense. The lift portion of the procedure will correct shape concerns where breasts hang lower than desired or the nipple-areola complex is not centered. Combining these techniques with an implant gives the patient the breast size and shape they desire within one convenient surgical session.

Schedule Your Consultation

While each of these options for breast enhancement can offer excellent results for the right patient, they do have limitations and come with some risks. Candidates for these surgeries should be in good overall physical health and should be prepared to spend a few weeks recovering before returning to all normal activities. To learn more about these procedures, to find out which one might accomplish your goals and to determine if you are eligible for a breast augmentation and/or breast lift at this time, schedule an in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you.

For patients in the Banff, Canmore, and Calgary, Alberta area, Dr. Elizabeth Hall-Findlay and the team at Banff Plastic Surgery offer a range of cosmetic procedures for the breast and body with signature expertise and patient-focused service. Call us at 403-762-2055 to make your first appointment.