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Because of the many similarities between breast lift and breast reduction surgery, seeking the proper procedure can be confusing. However, the answer is relatively simple when you consider the difference between problems relating to breast volume and weight as opposed to sagging and nipple position.

A diagram illustrating the lift pattern for breast reduction and breast lift over a woman wearing a purple bra.

When breasts are larger than a woman wants or their weight causes chronic pain, a breast reduction is probably the answer, but if droopy breasts are the primary concern, a breast lift is the solution. However, these two procedures may also be combined.

Let’s take a closer look at what each of these cosmetic breast surgeries involves and what they can accomplish:

Breast Lift Surgery

Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, is focused on addressing sagging or drooping breasts. This procedure is designed to lift and reshape the breast tissue, reposition the nipples, and restore a more youthful and lifted appearance.

How is a Breast Lift Performed?

After anesthesia is administered, breast lift surgery involves three basic steps.

  1. Incision – A breast lift involves the surgeon making a keyhole incision (around the areola and down to the base of the breast) or an anchor-shaped incision (same as the keyhole, but extending horizontally across the bottom crease of the breast).
  2. Tissue repositioning – The surgeon removes excess skin, repositions the breast tissue, and lifts the nipple-areola complex to a higher position. The remaining skin is tightened to achieve a more youthful contour.
  3. Incision closure – The incisions are carefully closed with sutures with techniques to minimize scarring.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Breast Lift Surgery?

Women with breasts that have lost volume, elasticity, or shape due to factors like pregnancy, weight loss, or aging are suitable candidates for breast lift surgery. All cosmetic surgery patients should not smoke and be able to comply with all pre and post-surgical instructions.

Breast Lift Results

Breast lift surgery restores a more youthful breast appearance by addressing sagging and improving breast projection. It does not reduce the size of the breasts but enhances their position and shape.

Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast reduction surgery, also known as reduction mammoplasty, is primarily performed to alleviate physical discomfort associated with large, heavy breasts. It aims to reduce breast size, reshape the breasts, and create a more proportionate and comfortable silhouette.

How is Breast Reduction Performed?

After anesthesia is administered, breast reduction surgery involves five basic steps.

  1. Incision – The surgeon makes the same type of incisions as those used for breast lift surgery.
  2. Tissue removal – Excess breast tissue, fat, and skin are removed.
  3. Reshaping – The remaining breast tissue is recontoured to achieve an appealing smaller shape.
  4. Breast lift – In most cases, a breast lift is included to ensure firmness; if necessary, the nipple will also be repositioned.
  5. Incision closure – The incisions are closed with sutures with care taken to minimize scarring.

Who Are the Best Candidates for Breast Reduction

Ideal candidates for breast reduction are healthy women who do not smoke with disproportionately large breasts and those who experience shoulder, neck, and back pain or have aesthetic concerns about their breast size.

Breast Reduction Results

Breast reduction can relieve physical discomfort relating to large breasts and a more aesthetically pleasing breast shape, with both of these benefits leading to an improved quality of life.

Breast Reduction Vs. Breast Lift Surgery in a Nutshell

Deciding on which procedure is best for you all comes down to breast size vs. sagging.

The Purpose of Breast Reduction and Breast Lift Surgery

Breast reduction focuses on reducing breast size to address physical discomfort and aesthetic concerns associated with large breasts.

A breast lift primarily addresses aesthetic concerns related to breast sagging and nipple position but does not change breast size.

Incision Patterns are similar or identical in breast reduction and breast lift surgery, with keyhole or anchor-shaped incisions being used for tissue removal. The exact incision type will depend on the amount of tissue being removed to deliver the desired results.

Combined Cosmetic Breast Procedures

Breast reduction surgery almost always includes a breast lift, but a breast lift does not include a breast reduction.

A breast lift can be combined with breast augmentation, and if more comprehensive body contouring is desired, patients can add liposuction or tummy tuck surgery. This combination is typically referred to as a Mommy Makeover.

Whether considering breast reduction or breast lift surgery, it’s crucial to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon like Drs. Martin and Adam O’Toole. Understanding the specific goals and expectations, as well as the differences between these procedures, empowers women to make informed decisions about enhancing the appearance and comfort of their breasts.

Breast Lifts and Breast Reduction Surgery in Pasadena, California

Drs. Martin and Adam O’Toole are highly skilled board-certified plastic surgeons providing cosmetic breast surgery at Pasadena Cosmetic Surgery.

To schedule your Pasadena breast reduction or breast lift consultation, call (626) 671-1756 today. Dr. Martin O’Toole and Dr. Adam O’Toole also offer other procedures that can be combined for a total body makeover.