Do breast lift and breast augmentation require two surgeries?

Placing breast implants (augmentation) and lifting the breast (mastopexy) are each fairly straightforward operations, with a low risk of complications. But when the two procedures are combined, the risk of complications increases significantly. This is because the two operations have goals in opposition to one another.
Mastopexy:
  1. Removes skin

    image from shutterstock.com

    image from shutterstock.com

  2. Changes the position of the nipple
  3. Reshapes the breast

Augmentation:

  1. Adds weight to the breast
  2. Stretches the skin envelope

Combining these two procedures can potentially lead to serious complications. For example, if the nipple does not have adequate blood supply after surgery it can die. The risk of this happening with either a mastopexy or an augmentation is very small, but when both are done at the same time, the blood supply to the nipple can be compromised.

Even when a mastopexy and augmentation are combined safely, the results are not always predictable. The result could be an implant that is too high or too low, or an implant that is not the right size. If this happens, a second operation is needed to correct the problem.  To provide safe, reliable results, I prefer separating the two procedures in most cases. If only a very small mastopexy is done, then I will place an implant at the same time. But if a more significant lift is needed, I do the mastopexy first and let things heal for 6 months before placing breast implants. This provides a safer, more predictable result than combining the two procedures, and some patients even find they don’t need an implant after the mastopexy, because moving the breast tissue back up where it belongs gives a fuller appearance as well.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

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