Do I want a breast augmentation or a breast uplift? A specialist surgeon explains the differences

Written by: Ms Anna De Leo
Published: | Updated: 07/06/2023
Edited by: Carlota Pano

Breast augmentation continues to be the most commonly requested cosmetic surgery procedure in the UK, with more than 25,000 women undergoing this surgery each year. Breast uplift – also called a mastopexy – is another popular cosmetic procedure, especially after childbirth, so which one is best for me?


In this article, esteemed plastic reconstructive aesthetic consultant surgeon, Ms Anna De Leo, explains the differences between a breast augmentation and a breast uplift, how patients can know if they’re a suitable candidate, and why implants could be the best option available.



What is the difference between a breast augmentation and a breast uplift?


Breast augmentation is a surgery that increases the volume of the breast, while a breast uplift changes the shape and the position of the gland and the nipple, making the breast shape slightly higher and fuller in the upper part. Sometimes we combine the two surgeries; it depends on where the gland sits in the original breast shape.


What are the pros and cons of these procedures?


When we do breast augmentation alone, the problem is that we have a smaller wound to deal with, but sometimes we cannot do the surgery because the gland is too saggy or low. This is why an uplift will involve more scarring, but it could give us a better reshaping of the breast. If we combine both procedures, the good thing is that we have more flexibility on the reshaping of the breast, but the downside is that there is more risk of suffering complications and that’s why we usually ask patients to rest slightly longer.


How do I know if I’m a good candidate for this type of surgery?


If you don’t like the volume of your breast, we could increase the volume with a fat transfer or with an implant. Increasing the volume with an implant is more flexible and easier to achieve. If your gland is below the inframammary fold - if your nipple is really low in your chest - an uplift would be mandatory, and a consultation would clarify your doubt.


Is it possible to have a breast uplift without implants being inserted?


Breast uplift alone is a good surgery choice if you want to have a really natural look in the low upper part of the breast. Sometimes we suggest it in advanced age, but the younger the patient, the higher cleavage they will desire to have, and this means that having an implant could give you better results. This is because gravity affects the breast, and the breast volume (the breast gland) will drop below the inframammary fold.


How long should I expect my recovery to be?


The recovery, regardless of whichever surgery is done, lasts around six weeks. However, this doesn’t mean staying at home in bed for six weeks, and none of the breast surgeries available deserve this from a patient. What we do ask, is to avoid exercise, sweat, and lifting of heavy objects for six weeks - even if you do a simple breast augmentation - because the wound needs to seal and heal, and we don’t want to incur a problem. That’s why we ask patients to avoid strenuous exercise for six weeks.


Will the results of these procedures be long-lasting?


Breast augmentation has a long-lasting result. At the moment, breast implants are of really good quality, so they could last for years. Implants are insured for 10 years, so we can predict how long the implant could last, but this could probably be longer. In 10 years’ time, with the availability of checks and different technology, we might be able to understand the end date of an implant a bit more than we do now.


A breast uplift will last as long as the patient’s age. Sometimes a change of weight, habit or healthy lifestyle could let the breast age in months, so it depends. It is more related to a patient’s body. On the other hand, when we use implants, we can predict a bit more. Technology, references, and studies give us a better idea, and that’s why we’re sometimes using implants in patients, for long-lasting results. 



Ms Anna De Leo is a highly renowned plastic consultant surgeon with an expertise in microsurgical procedures and reconstructive treatments, such as breast augmentation, mummy makeover and liposuction. If you’re considering cosmetic surgery, or want to know more, visit Ms De Leo’s Top Doctors profile today.

By Ms Anna De Leo
Plastic surgery

Ms Anna De Leo is a highly esteemed plastic reconstructive aesthetic consultant surgeon, based at The London Welbeck Hospital, London. The specialist surgeon is a particular expert in microsurgical procedures and reconstructive treatments such as breast cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, breast augmentation, mummy makeover, abdominal surgeriesface lift, neck lift, as well as liposuction. Ms De Leo, who currently works privately, conducts reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery whilst also mentoring junior surgeons. 

From cosmetic to reconstructive surgery, Ms De Leo has, thus far, obtained a vast amount of experience in performing highly delicate surgical procedures. She is dedicated to improving, correcting and refunctionalising various body parts. The renowned plastic surgeon consultant has built up her extensive medical experience at highly prestigious hospitals across the globe, including the Chelsea and Westminister Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital London, as well as the Helsinki University Hospital in Finland. 

Impressively, Ms De Leo has previously been nominated in the Worldwide Association Of Female Professionals, is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and is the current lead of the European Hand Injuries Prevention campaigns with the British Society for Surgery of the Hand

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Facial Aesthetic Medicine
    Medicine body aesthetics
    Treatment pigmented lesions
    Platelet-rich plasma
    Dark circles
    Lip augmentation
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.