Breast Lifts and Reductions are two of the most performed cosmetic surgery procedures across the world. Every year more than 100,000 women undergo either a reduction or a lift to improve the appearance of their breasts due to different reasons. Both of these surgeries deal with refining the size or shape of the breasts, either to make them look more natural or simply to restore their original form as it used to be before weight-loss or breastfeeding.
While for the most part, your choice for any of these plastic surgery procedures depends upon what your expectations or end goals are, there are some key differences between the two of them. Read on to find out what really is the difference between a breast lift and a breast reduction, the implications of both of these procedures, and some advice on which procedure should you go for if you’re facing any such issues.
The Main Difference – Breast Lift vs Breast Reduction
The one primary difference between the two cosmetic surgery procedures is that breast reduction mostly takes care of reducing the weight and size of the breasts. In contrast, a breast lift deals with raising the level of breasts to give them an upright appearance. Here’s a detailed overview of what these both procedures entail and what are their implications.
- Breast Lift
A breast lift procedure, medically known as mastopexy, is recommended for women who have saggy breasts. There might be a lot of reasons for this; there may be a specific medical condition that causes this, the after-effects of child-bearing and breastfeeding, or simply old age. The end goal of this plastic surgery is to achieve a more upright and youthful appearance for the breasts. It restores the volume and shape that has been lost or which was naturally never there. The breast lift surgery completely repositions the breasts, which might change their overall size as well. However, there is no change to the breast tissue involved – only the excess skin is operated and dealt with.
The procedure involves two major things. One is the removal of excess skin that makes the breasts appear saggy. Removal of this skin automatically pulls them up, making the whole are tight again. The second part is the repositioning of the nipples ad areolas to create a more natural look. The breast lift procedure is also a part of Mommy Makeover cosmetic surgery which is aimed at restoring the appearance of the whole body after pregnancy and childbirth. Here are some of the reasons women usually get breast lift surgery for,
- Flat or drooping-shaped breasts
- Extraordinarily stretched out skin due to weight loss, breastfeeding, or ageing.
- Unevenness of the breasts
- Nipples falling below the breast crease or directly pointing downwards.
- Insecurity due to the physical appearance of sagging breasts
- Getting a younger and more active look for the body
Implications of a Breast Lift Procedure
The surgery is normally an outpatient one. The whole procedure takes around three hours and is performed under general anaesthesia. The recovery process is quite easy and takes about two to three weeks with normal body movement, although there must be no heavy lifting or strenuous activity. After three weeks, you may go back to your normal life altogether. During the recovery period, you are likely to feel pain and soreness around the incisions, which might even stay red or pink for a few months after the surgery. Numbness in the breast skin, nipples, and areola might last for as long as six weeks. Getting plastic surgery in Houston is super easy, so you can easily find a cosmetic surgeon to carry out the procedure.
- Breast Reduction
Breast Reduction is medically known as reduction mammoplasty and works on removing the excess weight and volume from the breast area. The procedure targets the excess skin, fat, and tissue to reduce the size of the breasts. Women with over-sized breasts often require surgical interventions to alleviate the burden of the weight on their chests. This excessive burden, if not controlled, leads to neck, back, and shoulder pain, hindering the physical movement of the particular person. Some women prefer to have their areolas reduced or in some cases get their excess tissue sent off to labs to be screened for diseases such as breast cancer.
A breast reduction surgery is often a part of a mommy makeover as well, where women who experience extraordinary growth in the size of the breasts post-pregnancy or after breastfeeding get this procedure. Here are some of the reasons most women opt for cosmetic surgery for breast reduction,
- Limitation in physical activity due to excessive weight of breasts
- Discomfort and pain in neck, shoulders, and back
- Poor standing posture
- Rashes on skin
- Difficulty finding adequate clothing and proper support for breasts
Implications of a Breast Reduction Procedure
The surgery is carried out under general anaesthesia and is an outpatient one as well. The whole process takes between 3-5 hours. The recovery period is mostly dependant on the type of incisions made during the surgery, but roughly, the timeframe is quite similar to breast lift surgery – two to three weeks with controlled physical activity.
After the incision, the breast tissue is reduced and shaped. In some cases, liposuction may also be utilised to reduce the excess fat and tissue. Finally, the nipple is positioned to end up with a well-formed breast.
When Do I Need a Breast Cosmetic Surgery?
Both of the above-mentioned procedures can be done for either of the two reasons; a medical condition or a personal preference. A breast reduction is performed mostly when the size of the breasts gets so large that they start causing a lot of pain and discomfort and start hindering your physical movement. If you haven’t been facing any such issues, chances are you do not need a breast reduction at all.
Similarly, a breast lift is performed when the breasts get saggy and start affecting the physical appearance of the woman. If at any point, you do not feel comfortable with the size, shape, or volume of your breasts, you can consult a qualified cosmetic surgeon and go for surgery. Getting Plastic Surgery in Houston is simple. All you have to do is to get in touch with a medical professional to recommend the surgery and finally visit a cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure.
The only thing you need to keep in mind is that your physical and emotional well-being needs to be the top priority. If you’re struggling with any emotional or physical pain or discomfort due to the size, shape, or volume of your breasts, you need to go in for surgery. It might be a little difficult going through the whole procedure, but once you recover from it completely, the comfort you’ll experience will be worth it.
Should I Get a Breast Reduction or a Breast Lift?
Although breast reduction and breast lift procedures are somewhat similar in how they are carried out and the areas they deal with, it is always recommended that you get proper medical advice before deciding which one would work for you on your own.
People who have undergone these procedures are, in most cases, highly satisfied with the results, yet it is highly likely that what worked for others may not work the same way for you. Hence, proper advice from a well-qualified medical professional should always be the number one priority.
To make things simple, a breast reduction procedure deals with over-sized breasts with excessive weights. If your breasts are growing at an extraordinary rate and have reached a stage where it has started to get uncomfortable for you, you need to get a breast reduction.
Breast lift, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the size, volume, or weight of the breasts. If your breasts are hanging too low that they start causing problems, whether physical or emotional, a breast lift is what you need. It will get you rid of the excess skin, tighten things up, and give your breasts a younger and more youthful appearance.
Again, both of them may or may not be included in a Mommy Makeover procedure, but that entirely depends upon what your expectations or the end goal are from the procedure.
Another essential thing to note here is that while both of the surgeries are somewhat the same, one is never the alternative for the other. There may be cases where both lifting and reduction surgeries are required at the same time. In those cases, a breast lift will not compensate for a reduction procedure and vice versa.
Therefore, it is crucial that you get exactly what you need and don’t get carried away by the similarities between the two. Also, since both these procedures fall under plastic surgery, specifically under cosmetic surgery, they are not covered by most health insurances and need to be self-financed.
If you are considering a breast reduction, breast lift or a combination of the two, always do your homework and find a skilled and more importantly a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss which one is right for you, and then proceed with the surgery.
If you are interested in a breast lift or breast reduction procedure, we encourage you to contact the top plastic surgeon in Houston Dr. Robert Peterson, MD Plastic Surgery.