Do I need an uplift or just implants?


As with everything to do with breast surgery, choosing exactly what procedure(s) to have is a very personal decision.

If you’re looking for fuller breasts, implants alone may give you the look you want.

If your ideal breasts are perter, then an uplift might be all you need.

But if your breasts are saggy – whether through weight loss or other changes in your body – and you want a fuller, perter look, then I would recommend combining implants with an uplift (also known as a mastopexy).

If this describes how you’re feeling about your own breasts – read on to discover more about these procedures.

young women after breast augmentation in Birmingham

Why might I need both implants and an uplift?


Breasts normally become droopy through loss of volume, combined with poor quality skin and breast tissue which stretches more easily than younger, more elastic skin. As a result, breasts can sag after pregnancy, following weight loss or through the natural process of ageing.

If you want to improve sagging breasts, there are two things you should consider:


  • To achieve BIGGER breasts, you need to insert breast implants (or transfer fat to the breast).
  • To achieve PERTER breasts, you need to tighten the breast skin (through a breast uplift).
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People often assume that bigger implants will give a fuller, more pert look.

But, the larger the implants, the heavier they are and the more they pull the breast downwards, resulting in a larger but droopier breast.

Imagine putting a large stone in a small carrier bag.

The stone falls to the bottom of the bag. Even if the stone almost fills the bag, it will sit at the very bottom of the bag.

The same principal applies to breast implants.

Inserting an implant tends to make the breast sit lower on the chest wall rather than making it perter. 

It’s important to bear this in mind when thinking about how you want your new breasts to look.

Implants are best placed under the pectoral muscle.  This way, the muscle acts as a kind of ‘internal bra’, keeping the implant in the upper part of the breast and giving better overall fullness and shape.



As the name suggests, a breast uplift operation – or mastopexy – lifts and reshapes the breasts, giving them a perter appearance.

This is done by removing excess skin and lifting the remaining breast tissue.

An uplift operation on its own will not generally give any more fullness in the upper part of the breasts.

To achieve fuller, perter breasts, an uplift combined with implants is usually the solution I would recommend.

Two operations


A mastopexy and augmentation are two separate procedures. They can either be done separately,a minimum of six months apart, or they can be combined as a single operation.

Each has both advantages and disadvantages.


Single operation

  • Cost – If they are done as one procedure it works out around 10% cheaper overall.
  • Recovery – As a single procedure, there is only one period of downtime and recovery.
  • Risk – There is a slightly higher risk of tension and swelling when uplift and augmentation are carried out in a single operation, which can lead to complications. To help avoid this, the amount of uplift I give through a combined operation would be less than when I carry out the procedures separately.


 Two-staged operation

  • See the results – You have the chance to see the results of the first procedure before deciding whether you want to go ahead with the second. Sometimes my patients are so happy that there is no need to proceed with the second part.
  • Risk – the risk of complications is less when the procedures are carried out separately.
  • Pertness – I can achieve a more pert final appearance through separate procedures.

How will my breasts look with implants and an uplift?


Your breasts will look and feel firmer and more pert, because the skin will be tighter around the breast tissue and the new implants.

Clearly, the look of your new breasts will depend on the implants you choose.There are lots of different shapes, sizes and types of implants available; we will discuss all the options during your consultations to make sure you are totally happy with how your new breasts look.

Find out more about the different types of breast implant.

Things to consider


Neither breast uplift surgery nor implants can change the quality of your breast tissue and the skin covering this tissue.

If your skin is thin and wrinkly before surgery, it will still be thin afterwards. You should notice fewer wrinkles, but it will not be wrinkle free after surgery.

But with your new, larger, perter breasts, any wrinkles should appear less obvious.

How long is the recovery from combined implant and uplift surgery?


The recovery time for a combined uplift and implant procedure is six months.

If you opt to have the procedures done separately, you will need to allow six months after each operation for a full recovery from surgery.

I have lots of very happy patients who love their new breasts. You can hear what they have to say and find out the next steps to a breast surgery consultation.

Related article: Can breasts sag and droop after surgery?


Mr Guy D. Sterne
MB, ChB, FRCS, MD, FRCS (Plast)
Consultant Plastic Surgeon