Breast lift or reduction: which is the best option for me?

Medically reviewed by T K Sankar, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Are you considering the possibility of having a breast lift or breast reduction? If you’re experiencing breast asymmetry, sagging or have very large breasts, you may be debating an uplift or a reduction.

Let’s discuss how these procedures work and consider some key questions to ask yourself in order to achieve your specific goals.

Do I need a breast lift or reduction? 

At The Harley Medical Group, we often get asked ‘should I get a breast lift or reduction?’ So, what’s the difference? 

Breast uplift surgery 

Known as a ‘ mastopexy ‘ in the medical world, this procedure aims to ‘lift’ the breast to create a perkier appearance. This is achieved through surgery under general anaesthetic. 

An incision is made so that skin can be tightened and any excess removed, which repositions the nipples to achieve your desired look. Unlike breast reduction, it doesn't involve the removal of any breast tissue (fat or glands). 

While the breasts may appear smaller as they are perkier, breast uplift surgery doesn’t actually reduce the size of the breast, meaning you shouldn’t require a smaller cup size. 

Depending on the look you want to achieve, a breast lift can be performed in conjunction with a reduction or breast augmentation

Learn more about breast uplift and augmentation. 

Breast reduction surgery 

One of the most highly-rated cosmetic surgeries in terms of patient satisfaction, breast reduction will quite literally lift a weight off your shoulders. 

Also known as ‘reduction mammoplasty’, it’s a procedure performed under a general anaesthetic where the plastic surgeon aims to create your desired look by removing excess skin, fat and glandular tissue (including lobules or milk glands). 

This will reduce both the weight and size of the breasts along with lifting them for aesthetic and health benefits. 

Things to consider:

Is your desire for surgery for cosmetic or health reasons? 

If your motivation is to improve the appearance of your breasts, then a mastopexy (breast uplift) could work wonders to rejuvenate your chest. 

But if back, chest, and neck pain—or skin irritation/infection in the breast crease—are affecting your health and well-being, then a breast reduction may be more appropriate. This is because it reduces the volume of large breasts and therefore the weight you have to bear. 

Find out more about common problems with larger breasts and how to know if a breast reduction is right for you. 

Could non-surgical options help? 

While cosmetic surgery has produced life-changing results for many women, it can be costly and carries potential health risks. You may therefore wish to consider some simple ways to improve the appearance of your chest and reduce any painful symptoms first. 

For example, a professionally fitted, supportive bra made from the right fabric can make all the difference to your body confidence and comfort. Once measured, the fitter will check that the bra straps and back are properly adjusted for your body.

Exercise and diet can go a long way to reducing the weight of the breasts and improving their appearance. And there is also an increasing number of skin tightening cosmetic procedures that aim to lift the breasts without the need for surgery. 

Do you plan on getting pregnant or breastfeeding? 

If you are planning for a baby or to breastfeed, you may wish to postpone any breast reduction or lift surgeries until your family is complete. 

This is because pregnancy and breastfeeding cause fluctuations in hormones and weight that can counter the effects of plastic surgery in this area. Also, reduction surgery in particular may impact your ability to breastfeed your baby. 

What are the risks of breast reduction and breast uplift?

Any surgical procedure carries an element of risk and should always be discussed with a doctor beforehand. Complications specific to breast reduction or lift surgery can include: 

  • Issues with wound healing (including thick scarring/excess skin) 
  • Unevenly shaped breasts/nipples 
  • Loss of nipple sensation / part of the nipple 
  • Being permanently unable to breastfeed 
  • Red or lumpy breasts (fat necrosis) 
  • Bleeding inside the breast tissue (haematoma) 

However, the risk is dramatically reduced by following the aftercare advice provided by your surgeon. This includes maintaining good wound hygiene, wearing the correct supporting garments, and avoiding any physical activities that strain the area. 

How much will breast surgery cost? 

The Harley Medical Group offers a range of breast surgeries by our renowned surgeons, with varying costs

Book a no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced patient advisors to get all the information on breast reduction and breast uplift, as well as costs and financing options. 

Posted June 7, 2021
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