If you’re not happy with your breast size and shape, keep reading. You’ll briefly learn about two popular procedures: breast lifts and breast augmentations. Of course, every patient is different, and any final decisions should be made only after consulting the right Boston cosmetic surgeon.

What – exactly – is a breast lift? What is a breast augmentation? How do these procedures differ, and what advantages do they provide? You’re about to read what prospective patients need to know.

WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR COSMETIC PROCEDURE?

Breast augmentation is the most sought-after cosmetic surgery. If your goal is larger breasts, you will probably be seeking a breast augmentation. Breast augmentation (or “augmentation mammoplasty”) is a surgical procedure to increase the size, shape, or fullness of the breasts.

In an augmentation procedure, a cosmetic surgeon inserts breast implants beneath the breast tissue or chest muscles. Implants are usually good for seven to twelve years. If you are considering a breast augmentation, you’ll need to keep many factors in mind, including:

1. the location of the incision
2. the size and shape of the implants
3. the type of implants
4. the skill and experience of your cosmetic surgeon
5. the cost of the procedure
6. the risks

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT BREAST AUGMENTATION?

Breast augmentation incisions can be “trans-axillary” (in the armpit), “inframammary” (beneath the fold of the breast), or “periareolar” (around the nipple).

Each incisional placement and technique has advantages and drawbacks, so prospective patients should ask plenty of questions – until they are comfortable with the answers and ready to move ahead with the procedure.

As you may have guessed, breast implants are now available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Your figure, the shape of your chest wall, and your lifestyle and goals will all need to be considered when choosing a particular breast implant.

WHICH IS BETTER: SALINE OR SILICONE IMPLANTS?

Implants are either filled with saline or silicone. Saline implants typically cost less, and they feel firmer. Silicone gel implants typically cost a bit more, but they feel more like natural breast tissue.

Both saline and silicone implants are usually good for approximately seven to twelve years and sometimes longer. Both have superlative safety records and FDA approval. The Aesthetic Surgery Journal reports that “Excellent results can be achieved with either type of implant.”

The highest risk with breast augmentation is a need for subsequent “revisionary” surgery. Revisionary surgery may be conducted to change implant size, to mend an implant rupture, or to reposition an implant.

In some cases, after a number of years, a “scar shell” will develop around a breast implant, warping its shape. If this happens, another implant procedure will be needed.

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT BREAST LIFTS?

Breast ptosis – sagging – may be caused by weight loss, pregnancy, breast feeding, or aging. A breast lift or “mastopexy” may be the right option for those with mild or moderate ptosis, but other women may require a breast lift procedure combined with an augmentation procedure.

A simple way to know if you’re a breast lift candidate is the “pencil test.” Place a pencil as high as possible beneath the breast fold. If the pencil stays, you have breast ptosis, and you may want to learn more about breast lift procedures.

Several surgical techniques can be used by a cosmetic surgeon to perform a breast lift procedure. The technique that’s right for you depends on your breast volume and tissue and on the degree of breast ptosis.

WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU: BREAST LIFT, BREAST AUGMENTATION, OR BOTH?

Prospective patients should understand that breast augmentation procedures deal with the shape and size of your breasts and do not correct breast ptosis. On the other hand, breast lift procedures deal with breast “position” and do not enlarge your breasts.

Breast lift and breast augmentation procedures can be done together to restore breast position and increase volume at the same time. Having both procedures will restore upper breast fullness while also restoring and repositioning “sagging” breasts.

WHAT SHOULD PATIENTS KNOW ABOUT RECOVERY?

Have realistic expectations. Most cosmetic breast surgery patients heal naturally and quickly. Unless manual labor is part of your job, you should need no more than a week away from work after a breast lift or a breast augmentation.

Don’t use any aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs during your recovery from a breast lift or a breast augmentation procedure. Be sure you understand your surgeon’s recommendations about your medications and recovery. Ask questions, and get the answers you need.

Keep in contact with your surgeon during your recovery period, and don’t miss your follow-up appointments.

WHAT DO THESE PROCEDURES COST?

What do breast implants and breast lift procedures cost? We’re all different. There is simply no way to estimate the cost of a breast augmentation or breast lift procedure before a surgeon has examined you and determined that you are a good surgery candidate.

However, if you’re handed an estimate that seems low, it likely is, and you absolutely don’t want “bargain” cosmetic surgery. On the other hand, an overly-expensive procedure is no guarantee that you’ll get the results you seek, either.

Usually, health insurance policies do not cover breast augmentation or breast lift surgery, but most cosmetic surgeons in Massachusetts will work with patients and provide several payment options. Most cosmetic surgeons also accept credit cards.

FINDING THE RIGHT COSMETIC SURGEON

If you’re considering any cosmetic surgery, the most important decision that you’ll make is selecting the right surgeon. What is the best way to find a good Boston cosmetic surgeon?

Seek suggestions from your healthcare providers, your acquaintances and friends who’ve had breast lifts or breast augmentations, and the internet.

When you find several good cosmetic surgeons, meet them and find one that you trust and you’re comfortable with. Changing the look of your breasts is a very personal decision. You need a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who has considerable experience and gets exceptional results.

Make sure that your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and that any breast surgery is performed only at a hospital or surgical facility accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.

After a breast lift or a breast augmentation surgery, in just a few days, you’ll be feeling and looking great and enjoying your new, youthful look, a positive attitude, and renewed self-confidence. The time to start making these choices about your future – you guessed it – is now.