Advertisement

How do a breast lift and breast reduction differ?

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
A breast lift and a breast reduction differ by the amount of tissue removed. Both have similar incisions such as an anchor scar (wise patten technique). With a breast lift or mastopexy, only skin is removed or de-epithelialized. Breast reduction surgery is a functional operation to remove breast tissue (glandular and fatty), to alleviate symptoms including back pain, neck strain, grooving of the bra along the shoulders, and rashes underneath the breasts.
Erik A. Hoy, MD
Plastic Surgery
Breast lift and breast reduction often differ in the amount of tissue removed. In principle, a breast lift is a small breast reduction. However the breast lift is often paired with breast augmentation to provide a more powerful repositioning of the nipple. Usually the incisions used for breast lift and breast reduction are the same. There are some short-scar techniques that can provide a mild breast lift (periareolar mastopexy, for example, leaves a scar only around the nipple), but these techniques are inadequate for any substantial reduction of the breast size.

Another way that these procedures differ is that many breast reductions may qualify for insurance coverage if certain criteria are met. These criteria include certain height and weight requirements, the stipulation that patients suffer from neck, back, and shoulder pain, or develop shoulder grooving from her bra straps or recurrent rashes beneath the breast. These criteria are often cited reasons that breast reduction is performed out of medical necessity. On the contrary, breast lift procedures are usually not covered by most insurance plans. Possible exceptions include breast lift performed for reconstructive procedures, or a reduction for symmetry to match a reconstructed breast on the opposite side.  Your plastic surgeon can best explain these nuances and help guide you to the best procedure for you.

Continue Learning about Breast Lift

How long does a complete breast lift take to heal?
Stuart A. Linder, MDStuart A. Linder, MD
A formal mastopexy or complete breast lift take at least 6 weeks for the normal healing process. The...
More Answers
What is a lollipop breast lift?
Stuart A. Linder, MDStuart A. Linder, MD
A lollilop breast lift is also called a "vertical" breast lift. There is a circumferential scar arou...
More Answers
What is an anchor scar lift?
Stuart A. Linder, MDStuart A. Linder, MD
An anchor scar lift is the gold standard by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to properly lift t...
More Answers
What is the recovery time after a breast lift?
Stuart A. Linder, MDStuart A. Linder, MD
The recovery time after a full breast lift is approximately 6 weeks. Our patients normally return to...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.