Women seeking to reposition, reduce and/or reshape their breasts should be aware of the array of choices of surgical procedures. It’s common to wonder if a breast lift is part of a reduction or if both are necessary.
If you are undecided or confused about which surgery might be best for your particular situation, we recommend learning about both procedures below. After getting this basic information, find a local surgeon who will offer a no-charge consultation.
This is the best way to get more personalized information, tailored to your specific concerns, that will help you with your decision.
Breast Reduction vs. Breast Lift: Basic Differences in Goals
To choose the proper type of breast surgery for you, you must first define your goals for the end result. If the goal is to have a significant amount of volume and weight reduction in breast tissue, then a breast reduction procedure will likely be required to achieve these goals. Too much breast tissue is also known as macromastia.
If you are primarily concerned with changing your silhouette, so that your breasts are perkier, firmer and higher—but not smaller—a breast lift would be best. Breast sag is also called ptosis.
It is certainly possible to lift a breast without changing the volume or removing any tissue, however, the breast will sometimes appear smaller after this procedure due to its position. It is also possible to reduce breast volume without lifting the tissue (usually via liposuction) but all reductions that are performed by making incisions will also include a lift.
Of course, the breast reduction vs. breast lift question is not really cut and dry because every woman is unique. You may be unsure of what volume you would like with the breasts in a more favorable position. Breasts may be different sizes (asymmetric). The position of the nipple may be out of proportion to the amount of breast sag. Breasts may be ‘deflated’ after pregnancy. You may have heard that breast implants are the only reliable way to lift breasts. These questions can easily be addressed at the time of your consult.
Breast Reduction vs. Breast Lift: Advantages in Common
Although they’re different procedures, both surgeries share one important trait: they typically are relatively easy to undergo and usually result in a successful outcome. The vast majority of women having breast reductions and the vast majority undergoing breast lifts report a high degree of satisfaction with their results.
Both groups of women generally comment that they feel lighter and have better posture. They both also report that they are happier with their figure and feel increased self-confidence. Some women have commented that they feel “rejuvenated” or “more youthful.”
Both groups of women are also typically able to easily keep any scars private, even in low cut blouses or bikini tops. Women can often breastfeed after recovering from either of these surgeries, although you must discuss this with your surgeon because every case is unique.
How to Decide Which is Right for You
If you experience any of the following symptoms then a breast reduction or lift may be the treatment for you. Your surgeon will give a specific recommendation for the best procedure for you:
- Are your breasts too large in proportion to your body frame?
- Do your breasts feel heavy to you?
- Are your nipples and areolae stretched, sitting below your breast crease and/or do they point downward?
- Do you have difficulty maintaining correct posture?
- Do you have substantial skin laxity in the area of your breasts?
- Is one of your breasts a cup size (or more) bigger than the other?
- Are you experiencing shoulder, neck or back pain from the heavy breasts?
- Do you have tingling sensations related to the weight of breasts pulling downward on your bra straps?
- Is your skin often irritated under your breasts or do you have a rash between your breasts?
- Do bras leave grooves or depressions between your collarbones and shoulders?
- Do your breasts make you feel awkward or give you balance problems?
- Do your breasts limit your daily activities, exercise or work?
- Do your breasts limit your choice of clothing?
Making a Final Decision about Breast Surgery
It’s a given that every woman will have a unique set of concerns and will have different ideas about what is considered a successful outcome. What is large to one woman may feel perfect to another. However, if you have physical symptoms like skin or posture problems or pain, you should consider breast reduction as a possible solution.
Occasionally, a woman seeking a breast lift may benefit from a breast enlargement with implants, if her goals for breast position and projection are not achievable with a lift alone. That’s why it’s important to think about your goals — and work from there — with a dedicated surgeon.
There are a number of breast surgery options — and no matter what you call them or label them — every procedure must be customized to your goals and health needs. Every breast “problem” has a unique solution.
Research is the best preparation for a successful breast reduction, breast lift, breast restoration–or any breast surgery. To complete your research and get more information, you’ll need to discuss your specifics with an experienced Bergen County plastic surgeon.
At Cohen/Winters, we are happy to offer a no-charge consultation with one of our expert plastic surgeons. During this consultation, we’ll be able to discuss your goals and which surgery will fit you best.