Should I Have a Breast Lift or Breast Implants?

Choosing Between Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation

With advances in cosmetic surgery, you now have various options to alter the breast appearance, with breast lifts and breast implants being among the most sought-after procedures. Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Michael Kernohan aims to shed light on these options, helping you understand the differences, benefits, and considerations, enabling you to make a decision that aligns with your personal goals and health.

Both procedures aim to change the appearance of the breasts but do so in different ways. A breast lift, or mastopexy, primarily addresses sagging and improves the breast’s position on the chest wall without significantly altering its size. In contrast, breast implants involve inserting saline or silicone implants to increase the breast’s size and, to some extent, alter its shape. While these procedures can be performed independently, they are also frequently combined to achieve both lift and volume increase.

The decision between a lift and implants can be influenced by various factors, including your current breast size and shape, skin quality, age, lifestyle, and whether you plan to have children in the future. It’s also essential to consider the recovery process, potential risks, and the longevity of the results.

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Guide Cosmetic Breast Surgery

More about Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure aimed at reshaping sagging breasts, achieving a more elevated breast mould. The need for a breast lift arises when factors such as ageing, gravity, weight fluctuations, and childbirth lead to a loss of skin elasticity, resulting in breasts that droop and lose their firmness.

Good candidates for a breast lift are women who are generally in good health, non-smokers, and those with realistic expectations about the outcome. If your breasts have lost volume or are flat, elongated, or if the nipples and areolas point downward, a breast lift could be a suitable option to consider. It’s important to note that while a lift can change the breast’s appearance by repositioning the existing breast tissue, it does not substantially change the size of your breasts. For those seeking both elevation and increased volume, combining a breast lift with breast implants might be recommended.

During the consultation, Dr Michael Kernohan will assess your breast size, shape, skin quality, and nipple position to determine the best surgical technique. The procedure involves removing excess skin, reshaping the breast tissue, and repositioning the nipple and areola to a more natural height. Scars are an inevitable part of the surgery, but Dr Kernohan aims to minimise their visibility, with incision patterns varying based on your specific condition and goals.

More about Breast Implant Surgery

Breast implants offer a way to increase the size, shape, and fullness of the breasts through surgical insertion of saline or silicone-filled implants. This procedure, known as augmentation mammoplasty, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries worldwide, appealing to those looking to increase the breast volume or restore symmetry.

The choice between saline and silicone implants depends on personal preference, desired outcome, and Dr Kernohan’s advice. Saline implants, filled with sterile salt water, are inserted empty and filled once in place, allowing for smaller incisions. Silicone implants, on the other hand, are pre-filled with a silicone gel that feels more like natural breast tissue.

Good candidates for breast implants are women in good health, with fully developed breasts, who have a clear understanding of the procedure’s benefits and risks. It’s important to have realistic expectations and to discuss with Dr Kernohan the size and type of implants that best suit your body structure and aesthetic goals.

The procedure involves making an incision and inserting the implant either under the pectoral muscle or directly behind the breast tissue. The method of insertion and positioning depends on various factors, including your anatomy, the type of implant, and the desired degree of enlargement. Recovery from breast implant surgery involves a short hospital stay followed by several weeks of reduced activity to allow the body to heal.

Given the complexity and personal nature of choosing between a breast lift and implants, thorough research is an essential step in your journey to achieving your desired breast aesthetics.

Download Dr Kernohan’s Breast Augmentation Surgery Guide

Guide Breast Augmentation

Comparing Breast Lift and Breast Implants Surgery

When considering cosmetic breast surgery, understanding the fundamental differences between breast lifts and implants is essential for making a decision. A breast lift, or mastopexy, focuses on correcting the sagging of the breasts and improving their position on the chest, without significantly changing their size. This procedure is a good option for those who are satisfied with their breast volume but wish to restore the contour. On the other hand, breast implants are designed to increase the size and fullness of the breasts, offering an altered silhouette for those who desire larger breasts or wish to correct asymmetry.

It’s not uncommon for patients to require or desire both lift and volume enhancement, leading to the combination of both procedures. This dual approach can address both sagging and size concerns in one surgical session. The decision to combine procedures should be made in consultation with Dr Michael Kernohan, who can advise on the best strategy to achieve your desired outcome.

Choosing between a breast lift and implants—or opting for both—depends on several factors, including your body shape, skin elasticity, and aesthetic goals.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Between Breast Lift and Breast Implants

Goals and Expectations

Setting realistic goals and expectations is a critical step in the journey towards breast enhancement surgery. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what each procedure can and cannot achieve. A breast lift can alter the appearance of your breasts by elevating them and correcting sagging, but it won’t substantially change their size. Breast implants can increase your breast size and improve breast shape, but they may not adequately address significant sagging on their own.

Physical Considerations

Your physical characteristics play a significant role in determining the most suitable breast enhancement procedure. Factors such as breast size, skin elasticity, and overall body shape influence the choice between a breast lift, implants, or both. For instance, individuals with significant breast sagging and good skin elasticity may achieve excellent results with a lift alone, while those seeking an increase in breast size might opt for implants.

Lifestyle and Future Plans

Your current lifestyle and future plans, including the possibility of pregnancy or significant weight changes, should be considered when deciding between a breast lift and implants. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can affect breast size and shape, potentially impacting the long-term results of your surgery. Similarly, significant weight loss or gain can alter the appearance of your breasts, affecting the outcomes of either a lift or augmentation.

Risks and Complications

While breast lift and breast implant surgeries are generally safe, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and complications. Common risks associated with both procedures include reactions to anaesthesia, infection, changes in nipple or breast sensation, and scarring. Breast implants carry additional risks such as implant leakage or rupture, and the possibility of capsular contracture, where scar tissue forms around the implant, causing the breast to feel hard.

During consultations, Dr Kernohan will explain all potential complications and how they are managed or mitigated. It’s also important to consider the long-term commitment, as breast implants may require replacement or revision surgery in the future.

Cost Comparison

The cost of breast lift and breast implant surgeries can vary widely depending on the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure, and the geographic location of the practice. Generally, breast implants tend to be more expensive than a breast lift due to the cost of the implants themselves and the potential for a more complex surgery.

When considering the cost, it’s also important to factor in the long-term considerations, such as the potential need for replacement or revision surgeries for breast implants. Most cosmetic surgeries are not covered by health insurance, so be sure to discuss all costs with Dr Kernohan’s office beforehand, including any potential expenses related to recovery and follow-up care.

Preparation for Surgery

Preparation for breast surgery involves several steps to ensure the best possible outcome and a smooth recovery. Dr Kernohan may advise you to stop taking certain medications or supplements that can increase bleeding, and if you smoke, you’ll be asked to quit well in advance of the surgery to improve healing.

You’ll also receive instructions on fasting before the surgery and what to bring with you on the day of the procedure. It’s advisable to arrange for someone to drive you home afterwards and help you during the initial days of your recovery.

Long-Term Considerations

Breast lift and implants can offer long-lasting results, but it’s important to have realistic expectations about the longevity of these procedures. A breast lift can alter the appearance of your breasts, but ageing and gravity will eventually affect them. Breast implants may also require replacement or revision after a certain number of years, depending on the type of implant and individual factors.

Maintaining a stable weight and a healthy lifestyle can help prolong the results of both procedures. Regular follow-ups with Dr Kernohan can also ensure any potential issues with breast implants are identified and addressed early.

FAQs about Breast Lift vs. Breast Implants


How long do the results of a breast lift or breast implants last?

  • The longevity of breast lift and breast implant results can vary significantly among individuals. For breast lift, the results are relatively long-lasting; however, they can be affected by factors such as ageing, gravity, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy, which may eventually lead to some degree of sagging over time. For breast implants, while they can last many years, they are not considered lifetime devices. The average lifespan of breast implants is around 10 to 15 years, after which they may need to be replaced due to reasons like implant rupture, capsular contracture, or a desire to change the size or type of the implant.

Can I breastfeed after having a breast lift or breast implants?

  • Many women can breastfeed after having breast surgery, including breast lift and implants. However, specific surgical techniques can impact this ability. For example, incisions made around the areolar border might affect milk ducts or nerves. It’s important to discuss your plans for future breastfeeding with Dr Kernohan during the consultation phase, so he can tailor the surgical approach to preserve breastfeeding functionality as much as possible.

Will I have scars after breast lift or breast implant surgery?

  • All surgical procedures will result in some degree of scarring, and both breast lifts and breast implants are no exception. The extent and visibility of these scars depend on the specific techniques used, your body’s healing capabilities, and how well you follow post-operative care instructions. Dr Kernohan will try to place incisions in less noticeable areas, such as under the breast fold or around the areola, to minimise the appearance of scars. Over time, with proper care, these scars can fade but will not disappear entirely.

How do I choose between saline and silicone breast implants?

  • The choice between saline and silicone breast implants depends on several factors, including your aesthetic goals, body type, and personal preferences. Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water and can be adjusted for volume during surgery, which allows for smaller incisions. They are also known for their firmer feel. Silicone implants, filled with a silicone gel, tend to feel more like natural breast tissue. Many patients prefer silicone implants for their more natural look and feel. During your consultation, Dr Kernohan will discuss the pros and cons of each type to help you make a decision.

What is the recovery process like after a breast lift or breast implant surgery?

  • The recovery process varies depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. Generally, you can expect to take it easy for the first few days after surgery, with a gradual return to normal activities over the next few weeks. Most patients experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort initially, which can be managed with medication prescribed by Dr Kernohan. You’ll likely need to wear a special support bra and avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for several weeks. Dr Kernohan will provide detailed post-operative instructions and schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing.

Further Reading about Breast Lift and Breast Implants with Dr Michael Kernohan

Medical References about Breast Lift and Breast Implants