Do I Need a Breast Lift or Breast Augmentation?


Many women like yourself approach the Charlotte Plastic Surgery physicians interested in breast surgery—yet in many cases, they’re not totally sure which breast procedure is right for them. Our breast plastic surgery physicians are often asked, “Do I need a breast lift or a breast augmentation?” We will explore this question in detail here to determine: are these two different names for the same surgery, or are there key cosmetic and medical distinctions to be made? And how do I determine which breast plastic surgery procedure I need?

breast lift vs breast augmentation

Certainly, there is a big difference between a breast lift vs breast augmentation (that is, getting breast implants) and it’s important for women to choose the surgery that best fits their needs and goals. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the differences between these two breast procedures, but it’s critical to underscore the importance of a breast surgery consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. The only way you can know for sure which procedure is right for you is to meet one-on-one with a plastic surgeon who can walk you through the available options and allow you to see what different shapes and sizes would look like on your frame. This consultation is a vital way to ensure that you’re choosing the correct breast plastic surgery procedure.

Do I Need a Breast Lift or Breast Augmentation?

Dr. Kevin Smith can help you best answer this question in this short video – take a look and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more information-rich videos and news segments about the latest in plastic surgery and treatments.

As Dr. Smith mentions, in many ways, the question comes down to volume and shape—two important ways to evaluate the health and appearance of your breasts.

  • Are you satisfied with your current breast volume? And is your primary concern that your breasts simply aren’t in the right place? If so, that probably just means you need a lift.
  • Meanwhile, if your breasts aren’t quite in the right place and you wish they were a little bigger, that means you’re a better candidate for augmentation and a lift.
  • Lastly, if you like the shape of your breasts but you’ve lost volume, that means you probably just want a breast augmentation. This is an especially common option for moms who have lost volume due to breastfeeding. (Ask us more about our Mommy Makeover procedure options!)

Whether or not you have sufficient volume in your breasts is somewhat subjective, though meeting with a plastic surgeon may help you determine whether your breasts are where you want them to be or not.

But what about breast placement? As a general rule of thumb, an attractive breast has the nipple at the apex of the breast mound, just as the breast peaks. It’s also key to determine where the nipple is with relation to the breast fold. If the nipple is above the fold; rarely do you need a lift.

Meanwhile, if the nipple is below the breast fold, that usually means you need a lift to restore your breast to the proper shape—whether or not you receive an augmentation along with it.

Meeting with a Plastic Surgeon About Breast Implants

Many women come to us at Charlotte Plastic Surgery and tell us that their kids sucked all the life out of their breasts—that they simply want their old figure back. Whether or not that’s your specific story, there is much that our team can do to help you find a solution and get the breasts you desire.

We use a 3-dimensional imaging machine called VECTRA, which gives us a clear idea of what your breasts can potentially look like with the placement of various shape and style implants. This device takes a composite image of your torso and turns that image into a 3D avatar – this provides the opportunity for patients to consult with us about the kind of size and shape they’re looking for; our plastic surgeons can show you a clear image of what your breasts will look like with a volume increase, allowing you to make a truly informed decision about implants. You can “try on” various different breast sizes and shapes using virtual imaging to see which one looks right for you.

Patients at Charlotte Plastic Surgery will have our skilled Patient Care Coordinators to assist them with questions related to financing, scheduling and surgery coordination. Your Patient Care Coordinator will also be able to give you some paperwork to take home, laying out some of the options available and allowing you to talk things over with your partner and/or other loved ones.

An additional note is that breast surgery isn’t for everyone—and whether you’re looking at implants, a lift, or both, the most important thing is your overall health and safety. Before any kind of plastic surgery, one of our physicians will evaluate your overall physical health to ensure that you’re in a good place for the procedure in question. This physical examination is a key part of our focus on patient safety.

Find the Best Plastic Surgeons for Breast Augmentation at Charlotte Plastic Surgery

Is there a “correct” size for your breasts? Not necessarily—different women have different goals, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Generally speaking, though, our belief is that breast enhancement is all about elegance and plausible deniability; we seek solutions that look “real” but still help women to see a noticeable difference.

Or, as our plastic surgeons like to say, the ideal size is when women feel a little bit too big in a bikini top, but not so big that they need to wear a cover; and, when they get dressed up, they feel small again.

That’s a balancing act, and achieving it may require breast implants, a breast lift, or some combination of the two—always performed with careful plastic surgery physician consultation, and with the use of advanced imaging to ensure you know what to expect.

Again, there are some basic questions you can ask yourself to determine what sort of breast surgery you need—but the only way to know for sure is to meet with a plastic surgeon and talk it over in depth. To speak with a nationally acclaimed and renowned plastic surgeon about your cosmetic surgery needs, schedule a free breast surgery consultation with Charlotte Plastic Surgery today! We are always delighted to work with women who are looking to achieve a new look or reclaim the way they used to look and feel – contact us today to start your journey!