What Is the Difference Between a Breast Reduction and a Lift?

Posted 1/30/2018

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A mastopexy, a breast lift, and a reduction are quite similar in terms of the technical considerations. Essentially a lift is raising the position of the nipple to a higher position. Whereas a reduction raises the positon of the nipple but also reduces the size of the breast around the nipple. So in essence a breast lift is raising the nipple and removing excess skin in a ptotic or saggy breast, and a reduction is removing excess skin and fat around the nipple.

One of the things that happens during pregnancy is women’s breast will enlarge in preparation to breastfeed. During a post partum period and after breastfeeding has gone by the wayside and the child is eating more normal food or supplemental formula, the breast will begin to involute or shrink. Then we have a problem of a breast and skin envelope that was once a certain size and now has lost all of the contents or some of the contents inside. So we have a problem of excess skin and a position of the breast that is lower than it once was prior to pregnancy.

A good candidate for a breast lift would be someone who has had a couple of kids and they now have what we call a involutional hypomastia, or they have involutional ptosis of their breast. If a patient wants a lift but the lift will make the breast smaller than they want to be, an implant can be put in at the same time, which will restore not only the volume of the breast but the positon of the nipple again.

Dr. Merrick received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1998. He completed his general surgery internship, a general surgery residency and an integrated plastic surgery training program at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Merrick completed a hand surgery fellowship at Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand Surgery in Louisville, Kentucky in 2005.

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