Breast Lift with Implants

Gold Coast plastic surgeon Dr Luke Stradwick has more than 10 years of experience of plastic surgery on breasts. He performs his plastic surgery procedures in a standardised way in an accredited hospital on the Gold Coast.

In Dr Luke Stradwick’s experience only very few breast lift patients can achieve a true breast lift with implants alone.

Very occasionally the use of a teardrop breast implant on its own can create the desired breast shape. Typically these patients have very minor ptosis (breast droop) only. As a general rule breast implants, and particularly round breast implants, do not change breast shape, they just increase the size of the existing breast. If a patient is unhappy with the existing breast shape then the use of a round breast implant on its own will not give the desired result. It just creates a big droopy breast. Although some plastic surgeons maintain that a large round breast implant will “elevate” the nipple Gold Coast Plastic Surgeon Dr Stradwick believes that this approach is just disguising the fact that the nipple is low. A breast implant sitting low on the chest makes the nipple look higher.

In Dr Stradwick’s opinion the correct approach in cases of significant breast droop is to commit to a breast lift with implants or without simultaneous breast implant placement. The simultaneous breast lift with implants is known as a mastopexy augmentation (or masto-aug) and is arguably the most difficult cosmetic surgery procedure.

Gold Coast plastic surgeon Dr Stradwick usually uses a vertical pattern for breast lift with implants which results in a “paddle pop” scar. Obviously this is a larger scar than that needed for a breast augmentation and this can be a concern for breast lift patients. It is the major trade off when comparing a breast augmentation and any breast lift procedure. Scars do fade with time but an incorrectly placed breast implant in the wrong patient always leads to a poor long-term result.

Careful plastic surgeon selection is more important with breast lift with implants than in any other type of breast plastic surgery. It is always wise to check the qualifications and experience of your plastic surgeon but particularly for the breast lift with implants procedure.

There are four approaches to change the appearance of drooping breasts:

Use of a breast implant alone

Indicated in very few cases where there is minor ptosis. Requires a full projecting teardrop shaped implant. The advantage is the reduced scarring.

To see if you are a suitable candidate for this procedure book a personal consultation with Dr Stradwick.

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Use of a breast lift alone

Sometimes reshaping existing breast tissue gives a satisfactory increase in size without the need for an implant. In such cases the breast tissue is spread over a relatively large area and when this is re-shaped and the excess skin removed the desired breast shape and size is produced. This is an ideal outcome because the patient’s own tissue has been used for the “augmentation”. The result is long lasting and there is no risk of “implant complications” either short or long term.

Dr Stradwick usually uses a vertical pattern for breast lifts which results in a “paddle pop” scar. Obviously this is a larger scar than that needed for a breast augmentation and this can be a concern for patients. It is the major trade off when comparing a breast augmentation and any breast lift procedure. Scars do fade with time but an incorrectly placed breast implant in the wrong patient always leads to a poor long-term result.

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Breast lift with delayed breast implant placement

This is a two stage procedure where either the breast lift is done first and the implant placed 6 months later when the breast has stabilised, or sometimes vice versa. The advantage of this approach is it gives a more predictable outcome and arguably more stable result. The disadvantage is the need for two operations. It would be uncommon for Dr Stradwick to recommend this approach in primary cases. However in cases where the patient has already had multiple breast procedures a staged approach would almost always be used.

Dr Stradwick can help decide the best approach for you during your personal consultation.

Breast lift with simultaneous breast implant placement

This is the approach Dr Stradwick would use in most cases of breast droop. The advantage of the single stage approach is that only one operation is required. The disadvantage is that the operation is more difficult. This is because logically the procedure makes no sense. On the one hand the surgeon is trying to elevate the breast and nipple but at the same time is adding weight to the breast. The action of gravity on the extra weight inevitably leads to tissue stretching. It is an unstable situation requiring good judgement. Typically on the operating table the implant looks a little high and the nipples a little low. This is done with the knowledge that the implant will inevitably descend in the early post-op period. It is also much easier to correct a low nipple than the combination of a high nipple and low implant.

For these reasons the best results in a single stage mastopexy-augmentation are achieved in patients with good skin, modest droop and those wanting a modest sized implant. In cases of severe droop with poor unstable skin a two-stage approach is safer.

A personal consultation with Dr Stradwick will enable you to decide if this procedure is suitable for you.

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Before and after photos

A breast lift (mastopexy) procedure is designed to improve the shape and position of the breasts without reducing their size. It is used for breasts that have sagged but are not large.

Women suitable for a breast lift procedure alone (ie without needing a breast implant) are typically happy with the size of their breasts in a bra, but very unhappy with their breast shape when out of a bra.

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A breast lift procedure also involves raising the nipple to a more youthful position while also removing the excess skin.

The breast appears larger even though breast implants are not used because the breast tissue that was spread over a greater area has been refashioned into a more conical shape typically with a narrower base.

Frequently asked questions