Breast Reduction or Breast Lift?

Written by Dr. Evelyn Sterling

Dr. Sterling is known for her compassionate demeanor and personalized approach, taking the time to understand each patient's unique concerns and expectations. Her dedication to patient satisfaction and safety has earned her the trust and loyalty of countless individuals seeking cosmetic enhancement.

Breast reduction (mammoplasty) and breast lift (mastopexy) are options to change the shape and size of the breast. Whether a reduction or a lift is more suitable for you depends on your personal goals and expectations. So, what exactly are the differences?

Breast Reduction (Mammoplasty)

A breast reduction can significantly reduce breast volume and decrease weight in the chest area. This procedure involves removing excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue, reshaping the breast into a smaller and firmer version. The focus here is on reduction. The volume and weight of the new breast, and thus the bra size, will be considerably smaller. This method is suitable for women who are limited in sports due to their large, heavy breasts, often have back pain, can’t find suitable underwear, develop skin irritation in the under-breast fold, or feel uncomfortable with the size of their breasts. After breast reduction, most patients immediately experience a significant sense of relief and improved posture. This procedure is among those with the highest patient satisfaction in plastic surgery.

Most women who opt for breast reduction struggle with the following problems due to breast size and weight:

– Limitations in physical activity
– Back and neck complaints
– Poor posture
– Shortness of breath and sleep disturbances
– Chronic skin irritation
– Difficulties in choosing clothes and underwear

These limitations can attain a genuine medical significance. If such can be demonstrated, the operation may be covered by your health insurance. Whether this is an option for you is best clarified with your trusted plastic surgeon.

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is suitable for women with sagging breasts, meaning breasts with excess skin, often after weight loss or pregnancy/breastfeeding. This procedure shapes and supports the breast tissue to achieve a more youthful figure. The goal is to restore shape and volume lost due to age, weight loss, or breastfeeding. Since a breast lift repositions the breast, it may appear smaller. However, it primarily involves the removal of excess skin, not the actual breast tissue or fat, meaning the volume and thus the bra size remain the same.

Most women who opt for a breast lift have the following complaints:

– Insecurity due to sagging breasts
– Empty or drooping breasts
– Nipples pointing downward or located below the breast fold
– Excess skin due to weight fluctuations, aging, or after breastfeeding
– Unevenness in the breast

Unlike breast reduction, a breast lift is usually a purely aesthetic procedure, and the operation is not covered by health insurance.

Breast Lift with Augmentation

If an increase in volume is desired along with a breast lift, this is referred to as an augmentation mastopexy. This goal can be achieved by filling with autologous fat or with breast implants.

Your trusted plastic surgeon will advise you on the various options available in your area.

Which Surgery is Right for You?

Despite their different objectives, breast reduction and breast lift are similar in many areas, such as the recovery phase after the operation or the typical scars. Most patients require 2 to 4 weeks of recovery time.

If you are considering breast reduction, breast lift, or a lift with augmentation, do your research and seek a qualified plastic surgeon with a specialist title, and get advice on which measure is suitable for your specific goals.