When Should You Get an Implant with a Breast Lift?


When considering a breast lift one of the initial questions a doctor will ask you is if you’d like your lift to include an implant. However, not every lift calls for an implant and not every patient is a good candidate for one. So, how do you know if an implant will give you the best result? These experts share how they guide their patients to choosing the right breast lift options that will give them the lift and shape they’ve been hoping for.

Who is a good candidate for a breast lift using an implant?

New York plastic surgeon Elie Levine, MD says when going through the breast surgery options with his patients, in addition to examining their anatomy, he discusses what the aesthetic goal is and that helps him guide patients to the right treatment. “The best candidates for using an implant with their lifts are patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, those who’ve had children and notice dropping or sagging, or those who won’t be able to get the shape they desire by a lift or repositioning the nipple,” he explains.

According to Las Vegas plastic surgeon Mary C. Herte, MD, patients who seek upper pole fullness will also benefit from having an implant placed. “If you want that volume at the top of the breasts, then an implant can give you that shape. Our natural breast shape is a tear drop, so a lift is going to keep that shape and make the breasts more lifted. It’s not a reduction, we take out about a thumb’s worth of breast tissue. We are essentially lifting that tissue and bring the nipple position up, but to get that fullness at the top of the breasts, or that roundness, you’ll need an implant.”

Are there patients who should avoid getting a breast lift with an implant?

If there is tissue tightness and not enough room to place an implant, then Dr. Herte says to skip it. “There are some limits as to how big the implant can be based on the tightness of the tissues.”

Dr. Levine shares that if a patient already has larger breasts and doesn’t want to go bigger, there’s no need for an implant. According to the doctors, the implant is meant to give the breasts a new shape, but those who are already on the larger size may not want to add volume to their breasts. “If you have a pretty sizable chest to begin with, you really don’t need that. A lot of patients come in saying, ‘I have the amount of breast tissue I want, but I just need it repositioned.’ Then, there is the other group of patients with lots of breast tissue who want a profound lift.”

Does using an implant mean you can avoid a visible scar?

One of the trade-offs associated with a breast lift is the need for an anchor or lollipop scar. A question often raised by those considering it is whether there is no need for a scar if an implant is placed. Not so say the experts. “There are a small group of patients that can get away with having a lift with an implant without the need for a scar and it’s usually those who need a minor lift and are using a moderately or small-sized implant,” notes Dr. Levine. The way Dr. Herte explains it, if the nipple needs to be raised or lifted, then the commonly-used breast lift incisions will be made to achieve that new nipple position.

What other options do patients have to reshape the breasts with a lift?

“The other way to approach adding volume and reshaping it is to supplement a breast lift with a small fat transfer,” says Dr. Levine. “Make sure to see a surgeon who is skilled at fat transfers. You really need a practitioner who has experience in using fat to reshape the breasts because there are certain techniques and expertise needed to achieve a natural-looking result that lasts.”

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