Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibilityBreast Implants vs Breast Lift - Costs and Recovery 2024

Breast Implants vs Breast Lift - Costs and Recovery 2024


    If you’re considering breast enhancement, you’re likely weighing between breast implants, breast lifts, or a combination of the two. Both surgical procedures are different. Breast implants will make the breasts larger and a lift will improve the shape of the breasts.

    Breast implants involve surgically placing silicone or saline implants to increase breast size. In contrast, breast lifts don’t use implants. Instead, they remove excess skin and tighten breast tissue to lift and firm the breasts.

    Learn more about their costs, recovery times, and expected results to decide which is best for you.

    Comparing Breast Implants and Breast Lifts

    Breast implants and breast lifts take distinct approaches to enhancing breast appearance [1]. Understanding the key differences will help you determine which is better for your goals.

    Breast implants involve surgically placing silicone or saline implants under the breast tissue or chest muscle. This increases fullness and cup size. Implants come in round or teardrop shapes, smooth or textured shells, and various profiles to customize results.

    Breast lifts don’t involve any augmentation devices. Instead, the surgeon removes excess skin and tightens underlying breast tissue. This lifts the breasts higher on the chest for a perkier, youthful contour. Incision patterns vary based on the degree of correction needed.

    Breast implants and a lift.  Some patients who desire larger breasts and improved shape may benefit from a combined approach using implants and a lift at the same time or in a staged fashion to achieve their goals.

    Deciding between breast surgeries depends on your unique needs and aesthetic goals. Implants add volume, while lifts reshape and elevate sagging breasts. Some patients combine breast procedures for optimal results.

    Cost Comparison

    Generally, breast implants cost less than breast lifts because lifts are more complex.

    According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation surgery costs an average of $4,294 [2]. The latest statistics show a breast lift procedure costs an average of $5,817 [3]. These averages don’t include anesthesia, facility fees, and related expenses.

    Various factors impact precise pricing such as:

    • Your surgeon’s experience level

    • The specific implants chosen

    • Medical exams

    • Prescription medication

    • Post-operation garments

    • Your geographic location

    • The extent of correction needed beyond a standard lift or augmentation

    Recovery Comparison

    The recovery process for both procedures lasts several weeks.

    If you get breast implants, you can expect most of the swelling to subside within 1-2 weeks. But final results may take 4-6 months as implants settle. Your surgeon will instruct you to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for 6 weeks.

    With breast lifts, results are immediately visible [4]. Residual swelling improves dramatically over 2 weeks. You may need to refrain from vigorous activities like exercise for up to 6 weeks [5].

    Breast Implants Overview

    Breast implants are medical devices used to increase breast size and fullness. The silicone sacs are filled with either silicone gel or sterile saline solution. The surgeon places them under the breast tissue or muscle to enhance breasts.

    Composition-wise, you can choose between saline and silicone implants [6].

    Saline vs. Silicone Implants

    Saline implants…

    • Are filled with sterile saltwater during the procedure to your desired size

    • Can be adjusted during surgery for a precise fit

    • Tend to feel less natural than silicone implants

    • Have a smooth or textured shell.

    • In some thin skinned individuals rippling of the shell may be visible.

    • Round-shaped, with a uniform feel and firmness

    Silicone implants…

    • Come prefilled with silicone gel

    • Have a smooth or textured shell

    • Most are round

    • Feel more natural than saline implants

    • Are available in many sizes, heights, and levels of cohesive gel for customization

    In addition to implant type, there are options in projection and profile. Low, mid, and high profiles determine the level of forward projection. A high profile has the most cleavage fullness, while a low profile appears less voluminous.

    Breast Implant Surgery Cost

    On average, breast augmentation costs range from $3,600 to $9,000. Certain factors play a huge role in determining the final cost, including geographic location, the surgeon’s fee, and the type of implants chosen.

    When considering implants, it’s important to know the potential benefits and risks of breast augmentation.

    Breast Implant Surgery Benefits

    • Significant increase in breast volume and cup size (implant size ranging between 200cc and 500cc)

    • Improvement in symmetry and shape of the breasts

    • Customizable options in both saline and silicone

    Possible Complications of Breast Implant Surgery

    • Capsular contracture (scar tissue tightening around the implant causing distortion and possibly pain)

    • Rupture and deflation

    • Infection requiring implant removal

    • Rippling or wrinkling visible under the skin

    • Interference with breast cancer screening mammograms

    • Loss of sensation in nipples or breasts

    • The need to replace implants after 10-15 years

    Picking a reputable and experienced plastic surgeon to perform your breast augmentation will help you prevent a lot of these potential risks and complications [7].

    Breast Lift Overview

    A breast lift, or a mastopexy, is a procedure that raises and firms the breasts. Unlike breast implants, lifts don’t involve any devices or materials.

    They work by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding breast tissue.

    By reshaping the existing breast tissue, lifts can:

    • Address breast ptosis

    • Lift sagging, droopy breasts to a higher position on the chest

    • Improve and enhance the breast shape and contour

    • Reduce enlarged areolas for more proportionate breast aesthetics

    • Make breasts look more symmetrical in size and position

    Here are a few main techniques surgeons may use during a lift:

    Anchor Lift

    • The oldest and most common breast lift technique

    • Uses an anchor-shaped incision pattern around the nipple, vertically down to the breast crease, and along the crease

    • Allows significant lifting and reshaping

    • Leaves the most noticeable scarring

    • Is best for patients with a considerable amount of sagging

    Vertical Lift 

    • Is ideal for women with moderate sagging.

    • Involves an incision around the areola and down to the inframammary fold of the breast.

    • Provides a moderate lift.

    • Less scarring

    Circumareolar (Donut) Lift

    • Uses a circular incision around the areola

    • Is ideal for mild sagging without much excess skin

    • Reduces areola size

    Breast Lift Surgery Cost

    On average, a breast lift costs just under $6,000. But according to thousands of patients on RealSelf, it can range from $3,700 to $16,000 [8]. Similar to breast implants, factors like location and surgeon experience can affect the final cost.

    Breast Lift Surgery Benefits

    • Elevates and firms the breast position on the chest

    • Reshapes, contours, and tightens breast tissue

    • No implants required

    • Reduces areola size for better proportions

    • Enhanced confidence and body image

    Possible Complications of Breast Lift Surgery

    • Visible scarring around the areolas and lower breast

    • Delayed wound healing or fluid build-up

    • Breast asymmetry if healing differs between sides

    • Changes in nipple and breast sensation

    • Inability to breastfeed after

    Breast Lift Surgery Procedure: What to Expect

    If you get a breast lift, you’ll be under general anesthesia. The procedure takes 2-3 hours.

    During this time, the surgeon will:

    1. Clean and prep the surgical site

    2. Make incisions according to the specific lift technique

    3. Reshape and tighten underlying breast tissue

    4. Reposition your nipples and areolas higher

    5. Remove excess skin as needed

    6. Use sutures and surgical tape to close the incisions

    After the procedure, you’ll wake up wearing a support bra or elastic bandages. These help minimize swelling while healing. Your doctor may place temporary draining tubes to prevent fluid backup [9].

    Risks and Complications

    Breast enhancement procedures are safe when you choose a surgeon who follows proper techniques. But all surgeries carry risks, so it’s important to know about them.

    The main risks with breast implants include capsular contraction, bleeding, rupture,deflation, breast pain, and infection.

    With breast lifts, potential complications involve scarring around the areolas and lower breasts, fluid build-up, and loss of sensation [10].

    Be sure to discuss your risk profile in depth with your surgeon. Completely understanding the risks is essential for deciding if either procedure aligns with your goals.

    How to Choose the Best Doctor for Either Procedure

    Selecting the right plastic surgeon is imperative for safe, beautiful results.

    Here’s how to find the best doctor:

    • Check credentials: Board certification and memberships in ASAPS and ASPS indicate extensive training

    • Verify experience: Look for a surgeon with years of experience performing augmentation procedures

    • View before and after photos: See cases similar to your body type and desired results

    • Schedule consultations: Meet with 2-3 local providers and ask questions

    Common Questions to Ask Your Doctor

    A board-certified plastic surgeon will take the time to address your concerns.

    Ask these questions during consultations so you feel confident in your choice:

    • How frequently do you perform breast augmentations and lifts?

    • What are the pros and cons of different implant types and sizes for my body goals?

    • Where will you place my incisions and how will you minimize scarring?

    • How will you determine the best implant or lift technique for my body?

    • What’s the full cost breakdown of my procedure?

    • What financing options are available through your practice?

    • Am I a good candidate for a breast lift or breast implants?

    Choose Burbank Plastic Surgery for Breast Enhancement

    For women seeking fuller, lifted breasts, both augmentation and mastopexy offer proven results. Implants provide noticeable size enhancement, while lifts elevate and firm drooping breasts.

    If you’re considering either procedure, consult with an experienced surgeon like Dr. Orloff. He has an artistic eye and years of experience leading to natural breast outcomes tailored to patients’ goals.

    To learn more about breast lifts vs. breast implants, contact Burbank Plastic Surgery today.


    1. Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift - Picking the Right Procedure for You, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    2. How Much Does Breast Augmentation Cost?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    3. How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    4. What Results Should I Expect After Breast Lift Surgery?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    5. Breast Lift, Cleveland Clinic

    6. What Types of Breast Implants Are Available?, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

    7. What to Know About Breast Implants, FDA

    8. How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?, RealSelf

    9. Breast Lift, Cleveland Clinic

    10. Breast Lift Mastopexy, American Society of Plastic Surgeons