The language of plastic surgery can be confusing at times. This can be true even when it comes to breast rejuvenation procedures. Many patients come to see me for a breast augmentation consultation in Chicago but are unsure if they need implants, or a lift, or both. In this blog post, I will explain the differences between these procedures and the decision process I use.
What’s the difference?
Patients who want to rejuvenate the shape of their breasts usually benefit from one of the following procedures:
- Breast augmentation is a procedure where an implant is used to increase the volume of breast. See patient photos.
- Breast lift, technically called a mastopexy, is a procedure where the breast is lifted to a higher and perkier position by removing excess skin and tissue. See patient photos.
- Augmentation-mastopexy, often called an implant and lift procedure, achieves both goals by increasing breast size and restoring a perky breast shape. See patient photos.
How do you choose?
When patients come in for a breast enhancement consultation, I like to start by asking what bothers them most about their breasts. Some women want larger breasts, while others just want a more lifted appearance. I take a complete medical history and pay particular attention to previous pregnancies and significant weight loss, both of which may be indicators that the breasts used to be much larger and have subsequently deflated. I then take a series of measurements to determine:
- Position of the breasts on the chest wall
- Amount of skin breast excess
- Current breast shape
- Capacity of the tissues to lift and fill out
In general, women who have had children or lost a significant amount of weight are better candidates for an implant with a lift.
How does 3D imaging help?
The ability to 3D image a patient’s breasts is perhaps the most powerful tool I have to help determine which procedure is best for her. I can simulate what a patient’s breasts would look like with implants alone, a lift alone, or both procedures combined. After seeing a simulation of their breasts in all scenarios, patients can communicate to me which result looks best and which procedure is right for them.
Plastic surgery can be an intimidating thought for patients, especially if the choice of procedures is confusing. With clear communication and understanding of patient goals and desires, an accurate history and physical exam, combined with 3D imaging, plastic surgeons can give patients comprehensive aesthetic breast rejuvenation. Dr. Mustoe provides additional information about personalizing breast procedures in this blog post.