Breast Reduction or Just a Lift? (photo)

I've have 2 kids and I'm only 30. I lost my "young" breast when I was 21 and became pregnant for the first time. With each pregnancy they doubled in size. I'm very short (5"3) and I'm pretty slim and I find my breast to be annoyingly big (my husband begs to differ), I also feel bigger than what I am. I want my breasts back. Should I do a reduction/lift or just a lift? Any suggestions are welcome.

Doctor Answers 19

Breast Reduction or Just a Lift?

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Hi cannina.

     The ideal size of breasts is a personal one.  It's really up to you to decide how full you would like to be when contemplating plastic surgery.  It is clear that your breasts are a bit low, and you've expressed that you want your old breasts back.

Undoubtedly, your old breasts were in a higher position, had more upper pole fullness, a fuller cleavage, and overall had a better shape.

     The difference between a breast lift and a breast reduction is minimal.  In both procedures the breasts are moved to a higher position, and some breast tissue is removed.  The only difference is that in breast reduction, more volume is removed compared to the breast lift.  The other factor that you need to realize is that even if no volume was removed, the mere tightening of your breasts and re positioning them in a higher position will make them appear smaller.

     Additionally, you should consider the use of an implant in addition to the lift procedure.  The implant will not be used for volume, but rather for upper pole fullness and better cleavage.  No lift alone can reliably achieve upper pole fullness.

     As to the lift, the vertical mammaplasy will give you the best results.  This type of lift does not rely on the skin for support.  Instead, the internal architecture of the breast is reconstructed at a higher position.  This results in a more durable lift with better scarring.  Only a lollipop incision is necessary, therefore avoiding the anchor with its long horizontal incision that often heals poorly.

Good luck

Ary Krau MD FACS


Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 357 reviews

Lift without reduction equals perky

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Cannina:  I always ask my patients for any lift with or without augmentation or reduction is, "is your size OK if you get in the right bra?"  Any loose skin that gets pushed out above the bra doesn't count.  When the skin has loosened up and spread out like yours has, it may make them seem larger than they really are.  It looks like you need a vertical lift with your tissue compacted, shaped, and internally supported....especially when taking into account what your "other half" thinks.  The word "perky" will return to your vocabulary. 

Myles Goldflies, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Breast reduction or breast lift?

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From the appearance of your photos, I think a breast lift would really help you.  You appear to have a lot of extra skin.  I don't think you need a lot of breast tissue removed unless you really want a small look.  Good luck.


Reduction versus a lift.

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This is a particularly common question that women ask. A mastopexy and a reduction are very similar operations with the obvious exception that a reduction changes the volume of the breast. One way to determine whether you truly wish to have a reduction is to wear a very supportive bra and ask yourself if you think your breasts are still too large. The position of the breasts is just as important as the size and can often times make women feel that their breasts are too large.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Ultimate Breast Reduction to reshape and reposition breasts

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You are asymmetrical and your breasts are too large.  I would recommend reduction on the right breast to make it the same as the left.  This assumes you are happy with the size of the left breast.  If not, both breasts could be reduced to the size you desire.  There is a new technique called The Ultimate Breast Reduction, which avoids vertical scars.  With this technique, it is possible to reshape your breast to increase your upper pole fullness, lift the breast and move them more medial to increase cleavage.  This technique avoids the ugly vertical scars of the lollipop or boat anchor shaped incisions, transfers the weight of the breast to the underlying muscle, providing long term stability and pain relief, maintains areola sensitivity and the ability to breast feed.  I recommend avoiding the vertical scar techniques because the scars are unsightly, cannot be hidden and can widen in time.

Best Wishes,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 230 reviews

Breast lift or Breast Reduction

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Thank you for your question. It is one I commonly hear from patients. In your photo, you appear to have excess skin and sagging breasts with slight asymmetry. I would recommend a breast lift to correct this. A breast lift removes skin and therefore your breasts are slightly smaller and fit in a bra better after a breast lift. If you want a more significant reduction in size then you would need a breast reduction. These are great questions to discuss with your surgeon during your consultation.

Reduction versus lift

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Looking at your photos I would recommend a lift.To me your breasts do not seem overly large.You could incorporate a little reduction with the lift.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Breast Lift or Breast Reduction?

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Thank you for the question and picture.

Whether you undergo breast lifting or breast reduction surgery will be a personal decision that only you will be able to make after careful consideration of what your goals are.

 If your goal is to lift the breasts on the chest wall ( without reducing breast size), then breast lifting surgery will suffice. However, if you wish to achieve smaller breast size, then breast reduction surgery will be necessary.

 Don't be surprised, if you decide to achieve more “upper pole volume” and/or firmness of the breasts;  if you choose this option, breast implants may be helpful.

 I would suggest that you seek consultation with board certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience helping patients in your situation. Communicate your goals carefully;  in my practice, I prefer the use of goal pictures to help with this communication process.

 Best wishes.

Breast reduction or lift What is the deal?

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This is a great question, because the two operations confuse so many people.  What is so confusing is the skin incisions used for both procedures (Wise or keyhole), and the resulting scars.

The key that differentiates the two procedures is beneath the skin surface. Patients with breast hypertrophy have a stretched skin envelope with low nipples, and full heavy breast glands. The main problem is heavy gland. The goal of breast reduction surgery is to relieve the patient of the excess breast weight.  So in addition to raising the nipples and removing excess skin, redundant heavy breast tissue is removed to "lighten the load".

In the case of a lean woman who has had children, the skin stretches while the breast gland shrinks (atrophies, involutes), the situation is a bit different.  In this case, the skin envelope is enlarged, but rather empty, light, and "deflated".  It also lacks projection as seen from the side.  As such, the remaining should not be removed.  The mastopexy operation involves removing skin, elevating the nipples, and shaping the breast, while preserving the breast gland to maintain size.


That said, I think you you would likely do best with a lift.  Of course, you should discuss final size goals with your surgeon.




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The process of reshaping and lifting your breasts will also require one to remove a very small amount of breast. You essentially need a breast lift

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

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.