Difference Between Breast Lift and Breast Reduction


Women who hope to improve the appearance of their breasts have an array of surgical procedures to choose from. Breast lift and breast reduction are two of the most popular options for women who wish to refine the size, shape or position of their breasts. Although there are some similarities between these procedures, there are key differences that ultimately determine which surgery is right for a particular patient.

If you are undecided about which breast surgery might be best for your needs, learn more about these procedures below and book a consultation with Sydney specialist plastic surgeon Dr Ellis Choy. This is the best way to receive personalised recommendations that are tailored to your specific concerns.

What Is Breast Lift Surgery?

A breast lift, or mastopexy, elevates sagging breasts and restores a firmer, more aesthetically pleasing shape. During the procedure, excess skin is removed and the remaining tissue is tightened and reshaped. The nipple and areola are also repositioned to create a perkier and more youthful appearance. A breast lift does not noticeably change breast volume, making it ideal for women who are satisfied with their cup size but unhappy with sagging skin, drooping nipples or asymmetry. Patients have three options for breast lift surgery, depending on their goals: a breast lift, a breast lift with implants or a breast lift combined with a breast reduction.

What Is Breast Reduction Surgery?

A breast reduction, also known as a reduction mammoplasty, can eliminate a significant amount of volume and weight in the breast area. This is achieved by removing excess skin, glandular fat and tissue to create a more comfortable and proportionate breast size. Breast reduction has numerous potential benefits for patients. Women who are primarily concerned with aesthetics may choose to have a breast reduction to improve the appearance of their bust and their body proportions. Women who are struggling with health issues like neck and back pain, skin irritation and difficulty exercises may choose this surgery to relieve physical discomfort and restore their quality of life.

Who Is Considered a Candidate for Breast Lift Surgery?

A breast lift mainly accomplishes aesthetic goals. Ageing, weight loss, childbirth and hormonal changes can all alter the size and shape of the breasts, giving them a sagging or deflated appearance that leaves many women feeling less confident about themselves. Candidates for breast lift surgery often express the following concerns:

  • Stretched, sagging skin
  • Flat or “empty looking” breasts
  • Nipples pointing downward or resting below the breast crease
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Deflated breasts due to weight fluctuation, pregnancy, breastfeeding or ageing

Women who want to stay a similar size but wish to elevate their breasts are generally good candidates for a breast lift. Women who wish to be both perkier and fuller may achieve better results with a combined breast lift and breast augmentation.

Who Is Considered a Candidate for Breast Reduction Surgery?

A breast reduction has both cosmetic and functional benefits. Women with excessively large breasts may experience physical pain and irritation related to the size of their breasts. Many women also suffer psychologically due to poor body image or the unwelcome attention their chest receives. Candidates for breast reduction surgery often struggle with the following concerns:

  • Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Poor posture
  • Painful shoulder grooves caused by overburdened bra straps
  • Physical activity limitations
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chafing, rashes and other skin irritation
  • Difficulty finding clothing that fits and is supportive
  • Self-consciousness

Women who want to decrease the size and weight of their breasts are typically good candidates for breast reduction. Liposuction may be included in the procedure to reduce cup size effectively. Some patients, such as those who have experienced massive weight loss, achieve the best shape by combining a breast reduction, breast lift and breast augmentation with implants.

What Techniques Are Used for Breast Lift Surgery?

Generally speaking, Dr Choy performs three types of breast lift surgery: breast lift without implants, breast lift with implants and breast lift with breast reduction.

A breast lift without implants repositions the breasts to a higher and more elegant position. This approach is appropriate for women who are not interested in reducing or increasing the size of their breasts. The focus is on achieving a more lifted and youthful look and better body proportions. For suitable candidates, Dr Choy offers a signature technique called auto-augmentation in which breast volume is redistributed to create an implant-like effect using only the patient’s own natural tissue.

A breast lift with implants gets rid of lax skin and increases fullness to improve both the position and the contours of the breasts. This is the optimal approach for some patients because it gives Dr Choy the most control over size, shape and symmetry.

A breast lift with breast reduction marries function with aesthetics. This combined approach allows Dr Choy to downsize volume and elevate and reshape the breasts simultaneously for a natural, perkier result.

What Techniques Are Used for Breast Reduction Surgery?

Breast reduction is a highly personalised procedure. Not only are there different incision techniques that can be used, but each surgery requires customised tissue manipulation based on the patient’s unique body shape and goals. The most suitable technique will depend on the current condition of your breasts and what you are hoping to achieve.

The anchor technique uses incisions that extend around the top of the areola, downward and across the lower region of the breast. The vertical incision technique uses incisions that extend around the top of the areola and in a v-shape down the midline of the breast. Liposuction can be used alone or in combination with another reduction technique to remove excess fat from the breasts in certain candidates.

Dr Choy typically recommends the anchor technique for both breast reduction and breast lift patients. Although it results in more scarring, it is the most effective, predictable and durable technique. The scars will fade over time and are easy to conceal under most clothing, lingerie and swimsuits.

Making a Final Decision About Your Breast Surgery

To choose the appropriate type of breast surgery for you, you must first define your goals for the end result. If your goal is a significant reduction in the volume and weight of the breast tissue, then a breast reduction will likely be required to achieve this outcome. If you are primarily concerned with improving your silhouette, a breast lift can ensure your breasts are perkier and firmer, but not smaller.

Research is essential preparation for a successful breast surgery. To get more information and personalised recommendations, your next step is scheduling an in-person consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr Ellis Choy. Get in touch with Dr Choy’s leading practice by calling us on +61 2 8962 9388 to find out more.