Breast Reduction vs. Breast Lift (Mastopexy): Which Is Right for Me?

Blog - Breast Reduction vs. Breast Lift (Mastopexy): Which Is Right for Me? - woman laying by the pool in a bikini

The physical characteristics of a woman’s breasts, such as size, shape, and positioning, can play a significant role in her self-confidence and overall well-being. If you’re dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may be considering surgical options to enhance them. Breast reduction and breast lift surgery are two common procedures that provide very satisfying results for many women.

While both procedures aim to improve the appearance of the breasts, they target distinct issues. Breast reductions and breast lifts (mastopexies) are incredibly similar procedures. Both procedures are designed to provide improved shape, positioning and overall appearance of the breasts. The primary difference between these procedures is typically how much tissue is removed.

Understanding Breast Reduction Surgery

Patients who have large, heavy, and droopy (ptotic) breasts typically require a breast reduction. These patients often can experience neck, back, or shoulder pain, or can present with symptoms of breast “heaviness.” Oftentimes the heaviness of the breasts can cause significant “grooving” from the bra straps in the shoulder blades. Occasionally the breast heaviness makes physical activities difficult or even painful.

The breast reduction is designed to remove the excess tissue, while at the same time, elevate and place the breast back onto the chest wall AND create a beautiful shape. The breast size will be significantly more proportionate to the patient’s body, and both physical and emotional pain will be improved significantly. The scars from a breast reduction are typically in the shape of an anchor which usually heal quite well. View before and after photos of breast reduction cases in our gallery.

Understanding a Breast Lift

The breast lift, or mastopexy, on the other hand, is designed to provide mainly improved lift and shape of the breast. Patients who are satisfied with their breast volume but have noticed that they have dropped (after breast feeding, weight loss, or just due to the aging process) are candidates for a mastopexy.

There are several types of mastopexy procedures, each one designed to address the specific portion of the breast needing to be lifted. The scars can range from a circular scar around the areola to a lollipop scar to an anchor scar. The severity of the breast laxity dictates the type of breast lift performed. View examples of breast lift before and after photos in our gallery.

Evaluating Your Specific Concerns and Goals

It is important for me to assess your anatomy at the time of the consultation to ensure that there is sufficient breast tissue present to ensure a proportionate and beautiful outcome. If there is not sufficient breast tissue present and a mastopexy is performed, the end result can be smaller than desired.

These patients may benefit from additional volumizing either with fat grafting (harvesting your own fat, processing it, and injecting it back into the breast for improved contour and volume) or a breast implant. Oftentimes a mastopexy will cause a small reduction in cup size, so it is important to assess preoperative breast volume to ensure an aesthetically beautiful outcome.

Whether you undergo a mastopexy or a breast reduction, your breasts will be uplifted, they will be re-shaped, and they will be made to sit more beautifully on your chest. The recovery processes are quite similar with minimal postoperative pain and discomfort and all patients have no restrictions at 8 weeks to ensure adequate scar healing and maximizing aesthetics.

Take the Next Step

If you’re interested in learning more about your breast surgery options, call our Scottsdale, AZ, plastic surgery office today at  (480) 423-1973 or request a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.

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