Young woman measures her bust using a tape measure (MODEL)

One of the most common questions asked by women who want to enhance the appearance of their breasts is whether they need breast lift surgery or breast augmentation. Each procedure addresses different concerns, and choosing the right one depends on your specific goals. In many cases, I recommend combining a lift with breast implants to get the best results.  

In this post, I’ll compare breast lift vs. augmentation, show before-and-after pictures of some of my patients for each type of surgery, and discuss why a combination approach is often the best route.

Getting a Breast Lift Without Implants

A breast lift elevates and reshapes sagging breasts. Over time, factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, and aging cause breasts to sag and lose their firmness. A breast lift involves removing excess skin and repositioning the nipples to restore the breasts to a youthful shape.

The incisions to perform a breast lift depend on the degree of sagging. In many cases, I make an incision around the areola and then another one extending from the nipple to the base of the breast (called an inverted T or “lollipop” incision pattern). For more severe sagging, I’ll make a third, horizontal incision along the base of the breast (called an “anchor” incision).

Breast Lift Before and After Photos

Before & After Breast Lift Case 307 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift
Before & After Breast Lift Case 246 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift
Before & After Breast Lift Case 246 Right Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift
Before & After Breast Reduction Case 328 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift
Before & After Breast Reduction Case 328 Left Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift

What Is Breast Augmentation?

Enhancing the size of your breasts with implants is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries performed in the U.S. Breast augmentation without a lift is the right choice if your breasts show little or no sagging. Implants add volume to the breasts, so they can make sagging breasts appear more droopy without a breast lift.

Many women considering breast augmentation have always had small breasts and want to enhance their size to feel more confident and feminine. Some women have lost volume after having children and want their breasts to appear as they did before pregnancy.

Breast augmentation incisions are often made along the base of the breast, called an inframammary incision. After making the incision, I create a pocket for the implant either in front of the chest muscle (subglandular) or behind the muscle (submuscular). The choice of implant placement and type depends on factors such as body type, the amount of existing breast tissue, and your preference.

Breast Augmentation Before and After Photos

Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 360 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 360 Left Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 270 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 270 Right Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 370 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 370 Right Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation

Combining a Breast Lift and Augmentation

Getting breast implants during breast lift surgery enhances the size and shape of the breasts. I often recommend this combination if a patient’s breasts sag and lose volume after having children. Some patients also include body contouring procedures, such as a tummy tuck and liposuction, as part of a mommy makeover.

Breast Lift and Augmentation Before and After Photos

Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 285 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift With Implants
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 285 Right Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift With Implants
Before & After Breast Lift Case 321 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift With Implants
Before & After Breast Lift Case 321 Right Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift With Implants
Before & After Breast Lift Case 361 Front View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift With Implants
Before & After Breast Lift Case 361 Left Side View in West Des Moines, IA
Before & After Breast Lift With Implants

Choosing the Right Option for You

Choosing between a breast lift, implants, or a combination of both is a decision you should make after consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Surgeons who specialize in breast enhancement procedures assess a patient’s anatomy and the degree of breast sagging before recommending an approach that will best accomplish their goals. You can request a consultation with Dr. Carlisle at our practice using the online form or by calling our West Des Moines office at (515) 277-5555 to schedule an appointment.

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