Breast Reduction and Lift

Do I need to have a combination of both to acheive a lifted breast? Or if I do the breast reduction, will that give me a lift in my breasts?

Doctor Answers 92

Breast reduction and breast lift: different goals, similar procedures

The primary goal of breast reduction: reduction or elimination of symptoms associated with enlarged breasts. These include upper and mid back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, shoulder bra strap grooves, postural problems, inability to jog or participate in other sports activities, and chronic sweating or rashes beneath the breasts.

The primary goal of breast lift: improved contour of the breasts.

While breast reduction and breast lift (mastopexy) have different goals, they are very similar procedures. Both involve incisions around the nipple areolae (to lift the nipples and reduce the size of the areolae) and the lower breasts. Both involve removal of excessive skin from the lower breasts. Both involve repositioning of the breast tissues. And both involve lifting of the breasts.

Plano Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Top 6 factors affecting Breast Reduction Surgery

If you are considering a breast reduction procedure, the top 6 criteria in deciding what type of operation to perform are as follows:

  • Position of the nipple relative to the bra crease
  • Amount of skin redundancy
  • Amount of volume excess
  • Size of the areola
  • Amount of lateral breast fullness
  • Previous incisions on the breast

The position of the nipple and areola is important in answering your question. If the nipple is below the breast crease, then you will need a breast lift at the same time. This is usually performed during the same procedure.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews


Breast reduction involves reducing the size of the breast. A breast lift involves lifting the nipple-areolar complex and reducing the excess skin of the breast. Breast reductions can involve just liposuction in patients who have more fatty tissue than glandular breast tissue. Liposuction alone indeed does reduce the volume of the breasts. However, sagging of the breast can result and liposuction alone is therefore performed usually in highly selected patients.

Many different types of breast lifts are now available in conjunction with a breast reduction, including lifts just around the areola (periareolar), vertical/lollipop mastopexies (incision around the areola and down to the breast fold, and full breast lifts with an anchor incision. For patients who have very loose skin in the armpit or back, axillary or bra lifts are also often combined with breast reductions.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

You will automatically get a breast lift with your reduction.

This is a good question. Basically, the breast reduction surgery and the breast lift surgery are the same. The only difference is that, with the reduction surgery, all the extra breast tissue is excised.

Good luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
Shafer Plastic Surgery

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Breast reduction includes a lift

If you have a breast reduction, this should include elevation and reshaping of the nipple-areolar complex. A lift without reduction, in the large breast, will not produce lasting results because gravity will cause the breasts to sag again. The goal of the reduction is to alleviate musculoskeletal complaints by making the breasts smaller whereas a lift speaks for itself. The important thing is to have the right procedure for your shape and size.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Best to Lift and Reduce

In rare instances we will reduce and not lift but that is when the shape of the breast is excellent and the nipple height correct.  This is rarely the case when a woman has large breasts.

Usually we lift and reduce the breast in one operation in an effort to both reduce the size as well as improve the shape and lift the nipples to an ideal position.

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Breast Reduction Normally Provides Lift

If liposuction is performed alone, there will not be a breast lift.

Breast Reduction techniques do normally include reshaping and lifting the breast.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

A breast reduction has a breast lift built in

A breast reduction procedure reduces the volume and skin envelope of the breast while lifting the nipple into proper aesthetic position. Breast reduction can be done for cosmetic purposes, or as part of an insurance claim for medically necessary surgery.

Difference between a breast reduction and lift

This is a very common question. A breast lift is an operation which removes skin and reshapes the underlying breast tissue. What this does is move the nipple into its proper position and cone the breast into a more pleasing shape.

In some cases, a breast implant may also be used to either lift the breast or fill out the excess skin. A breast reduction is done primarily to decrease the overall size of the breast, and the repositioning of the nipple is performed at the same time to improve the look of the breast. Thus, a reduction usually involves a "lift" as a component of the operation.

The choice as to which procedure is right for you depends upon your goals combined with the shape and size of your breasts. The only way to really know is to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast Reduction is a large form of a breast lift

The common elements of a breast lift and reduction are as follows: a) reduces excess breast tissue and skin; b) downsizes and makes the nipple areolar complex more circular; c) reshapes the breast mound to a higher position on the chest wall by selective resection of droopy tissue and tightening the remaining skin; d) situates the nipple at the "apex" of the breast mound.

Where the techniques diverge is the amount of skin and breast tissue removed. so when you have a breast reduction, although it's primarily a reconstructive procedure, your cosmetic benefits, should be assured. Good luck.

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.