It's often difficult to judge what breast procedure will be best for you. Patients that ned more volume will usually benefit from a Breast Augmentation. But a common question that Breast Augmentation patient ask is...
WILL I NEED A BREAST LIFT IN ADDITION TO BREAST IMPLANTS?
Sometimes this is an easy answer. If your nipples sit at or above your breast fold, you will likely require a Breast Augmentation only.
Take a look at this patient. This shows her before and 6 weeks after a Breast Augmentation with Silicone Implants. The blue arrow highlights the bottom fold of her breasts, called the inframammary fold, and clearly her nipples sit above this line. It was an straightforward call that she would NOT require a Breast Lift.
If your Nipples sit very low below the bottom fold of your breast (your inframammary fold") then you will likely need a breast lift to achieve the best shape.
This is an example of a patient that would not likely be happy with breast implants only. Her nipples sit too low on her chest wall compared to the lower fold of the breast, and therefore simply adding breast implants without a mastopexy/breast lift would also result in the implants sitting very low and she would not have an optimal, youthful breast shape.
This shows the same patient 6 weeks after a Breast Lift with Implants. Notice how much higher her nipple now sits compared to the lower fold of the breast. This helps give the appearance of a youthful breast. The scars are usually an easy trade off, and although they are a red color at 6 weeks after surgery, they generally fade to be very skin colored and barely noticeable within the first year after surgery.
This side by side really highlights the distance the nipple had to move to create an optimal breast shape. The blue line indicates the approximate location the nipple needs to be at to create an ideal shape (As stated earlier, you usually want the nipples at least at or slightly below the lower fold of the breast, NOT lower). Simply adding an implant would not have provided enough movement, and therefore a breast lift or Mastopexy was indicated to help reposition the nipple and breast skin in addition to placement of Breast Implants to add volume.
Beware the Surgeon that wants to add a huge breast implant to help "lift" your breast tissue. Over time very large implants placed in skin that is already thin and has lost its elasticity will cause even further thinning and will not provide you a lasting result.
There are some patients with slightly low sitting nipple position that can get a great result from breast implants only, as implants can provide a small lifting effect by filling out the breast skin, but if your nipples sit more than an inch (2 or more cm) below your breast fold, you should consider a breast lift. As always, a consultation with a good Plastic Surgeon is your best bet to get a surgical plan that will help you meet your goals. I hope this helped!