When we talk about “cosmetic surgery” or “plastic surgery”, we often think about breast augmentation. And rightly so since breast augmentation has long been the most common plastic surgery procedure. But what solutions do you have when you don’t like your breasts (whether it’s a matter of shape, size or falling breasts)? What type of intervention is done for you?

Several options are possible and largely depend on the outcome you want to achieve. The two most common operations are breast augmentation and breast lifting. It is during the first consultation with your surgeon that he will direct you to the option that corresponds to your expectations and the expected result. In the meantime, here is the beginning of a response to understand what is best for you.

Breast implants: what you need to know

Would you like to have a more opulent chest? If the answer is yes, then breast augmentation is the operation that suits you. Before embarking on this procedure, several subjects must be explored: placement of the incision, the size and shape of the implant, the type of implants and the risks associated with the procedure.

Incision and position of the implant: the three most commonly accepted incisions for breast augmentation are: the submammary incision (under the breast fold), axilial (at the armpits) or peri-areolar (around the nipple). Each incision route has its advantages and disadvantages and makes it possible to envisage an operation adapted to each patient.

Size and shape of the implant: Again, there are several options. You have to take into account the size of your rib cage and your bust, how you stand, but also more generally your lifestyle, your physiology and of course the desired result. Your plastic surgeon will guide you in the best way, he will advise you the size and shape that will suit you best and will make you happy. Patients are generally advised not to go beyond two additional cup sizes, as this could drastically change your appearance or even look. You probably don’t want the only thing you notice about you are your breasts!

Types of implants: You can choose between silicone or saline implants depending on the results you want and your morphology.

  • Silicone implants are known to be more invasive and require a wider incision. But they are ideal for patients starting from a small breast base and have a more natural feel.
  • Physiological serum implants are recommended for patients with a satisfactory base because they add volume without necessarily feeling to the touch.

Whatever happens, these two types of implants must be changed every 10 to 15 years. The choice of breast prosthesis before breast enlargement is a crucial step and a thorough exchange with your surgeon will allow him to orient you to the size, shape and type that best suit your morphology as well as your expectations.

Breast lift: what you need to know

The loss of chest volume often leads to a ptosis (what is commonly called «the falling breasts»). The breast ptease usually appears with age, but also sometimes following repeated weight variations or after pregnancy. A breast lift will help you to correct this effect of falling breasts by redrawing them in a volumic way.

There is a simple test to determine if you have breast ptease; this is the pen test. Place a pen under the fold of your breast, as high as you can. If the pen holds on its own, then you may have a breast ptease.

If your nipple falls under the pen, you most likely have a severe ptosis and are the ideal candidate for a breast lift.

There are three ways for the surgeon to understand the breast lift: the peri-areolar incision, the vertical breast reduction and the inverted T-shaped incision. The peri-areolar pathway follows the natural form of your nipple, it is the recommended route for people with large nipples and a mild ptease.

The vertical incision follows the same route as the periareolar incision, but it continues to extend under the nipple, so it allows a better result. This incision is usually recommended for people with moderate ptosis.

The «inverted T» incision follows the same path as the previous ones except that it also includes an incision under the fold of the breast. This incision is by far the most widespread because it is the one that allows to obtain the best result.

The choice of your incision will depend on the volume of your chest, the elasticity of your skin and of course your degree of ptosis.

So which is better? Breast augmentation or breast lift? And why not both?

Each of these two procedures has a range of advantages and disadvantages. What to remember is that breast augmentation only affects the size and shape of your chest but does not correct falling breasts. It is recommended when you are not satisfied with their volume.

Unlike an increase of the chest, the breast lift focuses on their positioning and will not make you gain volume. The facelift therefore corresponds rather to a correction of the chest when you are satisfied with its volume but less of its aesthetic aspect. Sometimes the facelift is accompanied by an increase of the breasts (with implant), so the breasts regain their former position but also a youthful look.

Making the difficult decision to change the look of your breasts is very personal. All the questions and apprehensions you may have are normal and do not hesitate to share them with your surgeon. He does not only operate on you, he accompanies you throughout this process of change.

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