- Breast lift with implants is the lifting, rounding, and enlargement of the breasts.
- This surgery is for those who want higher, rounder, larger breasts; those who want to even out their breasts if there is any asymmetry; or those who have lost volume over time or from breastfeeding.
- While generally considered safe, there are risks, like all surgeries. Implants may rupture or cause health issues over time.
- Breast implants may not last forever, so follow-up surgeries may be necessary.
- Breast lift and augmentation is fairly accessible.
- Find a board certified plastic surgeon for your surgery to ensure that it’s done correctly and that your doctor has met the approved standards.
- In 2017, the combined cost of breast lift and augmentation was about $6,225. This can vary widely depending on your location and does not include things like anesthesia costs, operating room costs, or any extras.
- It may not be covered by your insurance at all, depending on the reason for getting the surgery.
- This surgery is an effective way to lift your breasts and make them larger.
A breast lift with implants combines two surgeries into one.
A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, is when a plastic surgeon lifts and reshapes the skin and tissue of the breasts to give them a more lifted and round appearance. With implants or breast augmentation, the breast is enlarged by placing silicone or saline implants into the breast.
In a combined procedure, not only are the breasts lifted, but also enlarged.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), in 2019, the average cost of a breast lift was $4,693. The ASPS also estimated the average cost of breast augmentation that same year at $3,947. The cost of the combined surgeries, on average, has been found to be about $6,225.
Keep in mind these estimates are only part of the total cost — it does not include anesthesia, facility fees, or other expenses.
The cost of your surgery can vary widely, depending on your geographical area, as well as whether your insurance covers any of it.
As women get older, breasts lose their elasticity. This can cause them to sag or droop, especially if they’ve gained or lost weight. A breast lift raises the breasts and reshapes them to be rounder.
In breast augmentation, or when you get implants, an implant is surgically placed behind each of your breasts. The implants are either behind the chest muscles or behind your breast tissue. Implants alone won’t usually lift your breasts if they are sagging.
Together, a breast lift with implants will both lift your breasts, reshape them to make them rounder, and increase your cup size.
The procedure can vary, depending on the size and shape of your breasts, how much lift you might need, and your implants.
Prior to surgery, a full medical history will be taken and patient education will be discussed: the risks of the surgery, what you should and should not do before and after the procedure, and when to call the doctor.
There are many different kinds of breast lift techniques, but the one that is chosen will be based on your physical exam and goals of surgery. Generally, the procedure involves the following:
- The surgeon will assess and mark you while you’re standing, to see the lifted position of the nipple on the breast.
- You will be given general anesthesia.
- The surgeon will make an incision around the areola, extending down the front of the breast.
- Your breasts will be lifted and reshaped, and the implant will be placed.
- If necessary, your areolas will be moved to the correct position on your breasts.
- Incisions will be closed with stitches or surgical tape.
Not all surgeons do the lift and implant at the same time. The combined surgery does present some risks to the nipple and areola, as well as wound healing. Improved techniques for the combined surgery are being developed to minimize risk.
If you do need two surgeries, the lift is generally done first, then the implants are done at a later time.
There are risks inherent in every surgical procedure.
Risks can include:
- anesthesia complications
- breast asymmetry
- changes in nipple or breast sensation
- partial or total loss of nipple or areola due to restricted blood flow to area
- deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) or cardiac/pulmonary complications
- fluid accumulation
- poor incision healing
- possibility of needing revision surgery
- wrong positioning of the implant
Along with the risks of surgery, there are risks with implants as well. These risks include:
- implant leakage or rupture
- wrinkling of skin over the implant
- thickening of scar tissue around the implant
- anaplastic large cell lymphoma
- severe muscle and joint pain
- cognitive difficulties
After your surgery, you will be groggy and tired due to the anesthesia. You may have to wear an elastic bandage or special support bra to support your breasts and help with healing. A drain may be placed under the skin to help with excess blood or fluid, and you will be given pain medication.
You will also be given instructions to follow after surgery, including:
- how to care for your breasts and when to shower
- medications to apply or take
- any specific things you should look for along the incisions or with healing
- which activities to avoid
- when to come back for your post-op visit(s)
Questions to ask the doctor
When deciding on a plastic surgeon, ask plenty of questions to see if they’re the right surgeon for you. Questions can include:
- Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
- What training have you had in plastic surgery, and where?
- How many years have you been in practice?
- Do you have hospital privileges?
- How many procedures of this kind have you done?
- How do you handle complications?
In preparation for surgery, you might have to do several things, including:
- get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- take certain medications or adjust your current ones
- get a baseline mammogram prior to surgery and after surgery to help find any changes in the breast tissue in the future
- quit smoking
- refrain from taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or any supplements, since these may increase bleeding
You will also be asked about your goals regarding breast size and fullness, and any concerns you might have about this. A complete medical history will be taken, including any family or personal history of breast cancer, and whether you want to breastfeed in the future.
Before your surgery, ask your surgeon about any specific questions you might have about recovery, healing, activities you can and cannot do, when you can return to work, and what to expect.
Your surgery might take place in a surgical center or hospital. You will also need someone to drive you to and from the surgery, and to stay with you overnight for the first night or longer.
Depending on your reasons for getting a breast lift with implants, insurance is unlikely to pay for the surgery if it is purely cosmetic.
You will want to make sure your surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If the doctor is board certified, this means that there are certain standards being upheld and they have had certain levels of education and expertise, along with maintaining continuing education. It also means that they vow to follow a set of standards and best practices.
Other places to look include:
If you have had friends or family members that have had breast lifts with implants, you can ask them who their surgeon was and if they are happy with the results. Do your own research and meet with the doctors; sometimes the right surgeon for one person is not the best for another.