Which is More Suitable for Large Sagging Breasts, a Breast Implant or Breast Lift?

Why does one procedure have better results for large hanging breasts and getting a fuller and more natural look? (implant or lift)

Doctor Answers 13

Breast Implant or Breast Lift?

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Thank you for your question.

For women with moderate to severe breast #sag, a #breast lift (mastopexy) may be recommended to ensure the best result and longest lasting result. Failing to have a breast lift when necessary will only lead to a less than ideal result leaving the patient unhappy and needing a revision surgery. A larger breast #implant can help lift the breast, but the low hanging breast tissue will still be present causing a disconnect between the implant and breast tissue located at the bottom of the breast.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Large Sagging Breasts

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The two key words in your description are "large" so there may not be a desire for additional volume, and "hanging" so you may benefit from a breast lift to correct sagging breasts.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Treatment of large, saggy breasts

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I always recommend a breast lift for large, saggy breasts.  Breast lift is a procedure that has a relatively easy recovery, is long lasting, and does not require any maintenance.  Breast implants are great for flat chested women but it doesn't sound like you are in need of volume. 

A surgeon who tries to correct sagging with breast implants probably isn't well versed in breast lift.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

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Breast lift vs implants for droopy breasts

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If you have sagging breasts, a breast lift procedure is what you want to tighten, lift and reconfigure your breasts. If you want to also be larger or fuller, a breast augmentation can be done at the same time. Conversely, if you also want to be smaller, then a breast reduction is the procedure that you want - it not only lifts but also reduces the size of the breasts.

Breast implants by themselves only increase volume - they don't lift the tissues.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

What to do with Large Sagging Breasts?

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Based on what you describe, I would consider a breast reduction which gives a lift also. Adding implants in this situation will likely give you larger and saggier breasts.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Correction of sagging breasts

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The answer is that it all depends. If you have a small degree of sagging and want to be larger, then an augment might be sufficient but in many cases, the implant will not compensate for the degree of sagging and could result in even more ptosis later on. The larger the breast, the more likely the sag. A lift alone will slightly reduce breast volume but correct for pendulous breasts. These surgeries are highly individualized and I would encourage you to see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation. I would also caution that you may have to prioritize what you are looking to achieve: lifting v. fullness, for example.

Breast Lift For Large, Sagging Breasts

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The answer depends:

If you have large, droopy breasts and do not wish to have larger breasts, then a breast lift without implants (if you like the current size of your breasts) or a breast reduction (if you would like your breasts to be smaller) may be appropriate.

If you have large, droopy breasts and would like to have larger, fuller breasts as well as more perky breasts, then a breast lift with implants may be appropriate.

Breast implants along are not likely to a good option.

Warmest wishes,

Larry Fan, MD

Larry Fan, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Large Sagging Breasts Not Improved With Implants

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The treatment for your large sagging breasts would be either a breast lift or a breast reduction depending upon the size you wish to be in the end.  Implants will not improve your situation and would most likely add to the "largeness" and also create significant distortion of your breast shape.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Large Sagging Breasts

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A very good question. In general, if you truly have "large sagging breasts, " a breast lift (mastopexy) can help restore the shape. It is a very subjective subject and would be easier answered with photos. With minimal sagging (also called "ptosis"), implants can be used but often a combination of a lift and implants are necessary.

Breast Lifting for “Sagging” Breasts

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description of “large sagging breasts"  and a desire to have a “fuller” look,  you may benefit from both breasts lifting and breast implants.

Direct examination obviously  and discussion of  your goals will be necessary to determine exactly what procedure would help meet your goals.

If you are considering these operations you should be aware that it may be done in a single or a two  staged fashion.This is not a question agreed-upon by all plastic surgeons. There are good plastic surgeons who will insist on doing the procedures separately and there are good plastic surgeons who can produce excellent outcomes in a single stage.

The combination breast augmentation / mastopexy surgery differs from breast augmentation surgery alone in that it carries increased risk compared to either breast augmentation or mastopexy surgery performed separately. Furthermore, the potential need for revisionary surgery is increase with breast augmentation / mastopexy surgery done at the same time.

In my opinion, the decision  to do the operation in a single or two  staged fashion becomes a judgment call made by a surgeon after direct examination of the patient.  For me, if I see a patient who needs a great degree of lifting, who has lost a lot of skin elasticity, or  whose goal is a very large augmentation then I think it is best to do the procedures in 2 stages (in order to avoid serious complications). However, doing the procedure one stage does increase the risks of complications in general and the potential need for further surgery. This increased risk must be weighed against the practical benefits of a single stage procedure (which most patients would prefer).

Conversely, if I see a patient who requires minimal to moderate lifting along with a small to moderate size augmentation (and has good skin quality), then doing the procedure one stage is much safer. Nevertheless, the potential risks  are greater with a 1 stage  procedure and the patient does have a higher  likelihood of needing revisionary surgery.

I hope this helps.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.