The Surgeon Minute

Will an Implant Lift My Breast?

Will an Implant Lift My Breast?

What is a beautiful breast? The answer to that question varies from person to person, but most would agree that beautiful breasts are “perky,” which implies that they don’t sag. A pretty breast may be large or small, but regardless of the overall size, it has some volume in both the top and bottom half. Saggy breasts, on the other hand, and may only be full in the bottom half, below the nipple.

A familiar scenario in Dallas plastic surgeon and breast expert Dr. Bill Adam‘s office is a patient asking him to add, “a little bit of fullness” back to the upper part of the breast – with an implant alone. “There’s no way to put in a small implant and get any fullness in the upper part of the breast,” explains Dr. Adams.

by Anne Meyer
and William P. Adams Jr., MD

Will an implant lift my breast?

An implant will not re-position the nipple or lift the breast. However, it can give the illusion of a lift in certain patients who have only a little bit of skin laxity. “If they’ve got a little bit of skin looseness in the breast, and we fill that a little bit with an implant, it gives the illusion that the nipples are higher and that there’s less skin laxity in the breast – but it does not lift the breast, it does not reposition the breast tissue, that’s what a breast lift does,” says Adams.

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How do I know if I need a lift with my implants?

While years of experience as a plastic surgeon enable Adams to tell who may or may not need a lift, he relies on the tried and true method of taking breast measurements to guide his decisions. “We measure the breast and based on the distance between the nipple and the fold of the breast – and there’s some nuances to that – we can specifically tell which patients can just do an implant, or which patients need to do a breast lift with implant, or a breast lift, and we can counsel them accordingly,” shares Adams, who is always amazed by the number of patients who come into his office after visiting several other surgeons and tell him they have never had their measurements taken in previous consultations.  

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You need a lift, now what?

If your surgeon and your measurements confirm that you are a good candidate for a lift, you have several options. While a lift will provide you with a change in the shape of your breast, the procedure requires more scars as a result. And while a breast lift and a breast augmentation can be combined into one surgery, they are two different procedures and Adams explains that they can be staged, or done on separate occasions.

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Some patients who are concerned about the scarring may decide to have a breast augmentation done first, understanding that they will need to come back and have the breast lift done at a later time in order to improve the shape of their breast. Other patients who were only interested in adding an implant to improve the upper chest fullness, may opt to have the breast lift done first, to improve shape, and come back in a few months or a year to add a small implant if they desire further fullness. Whether you decide to  combine the two procedures into one procedure or stage them, “patients can resume normal activities very quickly,” assures Dr. Adams.

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