Breast Enhancement vs. Breast Augmentation

To get your ideal breasts, you may want to consider a breast enhancement or breast augmentation. These two procedures are frequently confused with each other, but they are actually separate cosmetic surgeries that can have very different outcomes. When you are trying to decide which procedure is right for you, it is important to understand the process and outcomes of the two options.

Breast enhancement vs augmentationWhat Is a Breast Enhancement?

A breast enhancement is any procedure that will enhance the look of your breast.  It may require the reshaping of breast tissue and skin also called a breast lift. This is a surgery that changes the position of the breasts to enhance the natural appearance. Women who have a breast enhancement typically get the position and shape of their breasts altered slightly. In many cases, enhancement also includes re-positioning the nipple to make the results look more natural.

What Is a Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation uses breast implants to increase the size of the breasts. The implants used for an augmentation may be made of silicone gel or saline. It is also possible to augment breast size without implants by transferring fat from the patient’s body to the breasts. When a doctor does a breast augmentation, they may put implants under the chest muscle, or over the chest muscle or partially under the chest muscle.

Are the Two Procedures Different?

Both procedures result in breasts that look firmer, perkier, and rounder. However, they may be very different cosmetic surgeries. Breast enhancements work by removing extra skin, while breast augmentations work by adding additional volume to the breasts. There are quite a few differences between the procedures.

Effects

A breast enhancement makes breasts look firmer and perkier, but it will not change size much. In contrast, a breast augmentation can significantly change the overall size of the breasts. Breast augmentations are normally necessary if the patient wants larger breasts.

Recovery Time

Women normally recover quicker from a breast lift because it is not as invasive. Since breast lifts just remove excess skin and shift the surface of the breast, women can often move around comfortably just a few days after the surgery. Breast augmentation is often more invasive, especially if the implant is placed underneath the chest muscles. Therefore, an augmentation normally is a slightly longer recovery.  Most patients are back to work in both instances in 3-5 days

Cost

Of course, costs will vary somewhat depending on your unique situation, some enhancement procedures are less than the cost of an augmentation and some are more depending on whether a full breast lift is needed.  Costs are between $3,000 and $15,000.  The most costly being when the breast enhancement requires both a breast lift and an implant.

Scars

Scars from a breast enhancement are mostly hidden on the edge of the areola and along the crease of the breasts, so the only noticeable one will be the vertical line running from the bottom of the nipple to the crease. Breast augmentations can have shorter scars. Some surgeries can place an implant through the belly button or underarm, so scars for breast augmentation are quite minimal.

Long-Term Results

Breast implants themselves are guaranteed against rupture or leaking.  Depending on the composition of an implant, a patient may need new breast implants exchanged occasionally due to implants shifting or a desire for a different size, larger or smaller.  Breast enhancements do not always require touch-up surgeries but keep in mind that breasts may begin to droop again as you age.

How Do You Choose Between the Two Options?

Breast enhancement is typically recommended if the patient’s nipples droop below the crease at the bottom of the breasts, while breast augmentation is normally recommended for women who just want larger breasts. However, in some cases, a patient knows that she is unhappy with the shape of her breasts, but she is not sure which one she actually needs.

When trying to decide which procedure will have the effect you desire, consider your main objectives. If you want to change the shape of your areola or alter your nipple placement, a breast lift may be better. If you mostly want to make your breasts larger, a breast augmentation may work more effectively. Many surgeons can combine the two procedures, so it is also possible to get both a breast enhancement and an augmentation at the same time. To make the final decision about what procedure is right for you, you will need to consult with an experienced,  board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon.