What is the difference between a breast lift and reduction?

February 6, 2014

Breast Lift surgery and breast reduction surgery are often confused. In both procedures, the breast is “tailored” to create a lifted, more youthful and perky form. In the case of breast reduction, however, a substantial portion of the deeper breast tissues (breast and fatty tissue) are removed in the process whereas with a breast lift, it is generally only parts the superficial skin layer that is removed in order to create the new breast form. As such, a breast reduction significantly reduces the size of the breast while lifting it while a breast lift lifts the breast with only very minimal size reduction.

Confusion arises because in many instances of breast lifts (especially in women who have a fairly large and sagging breast), the final scar pattern of the breast lift surgery will look just like the scar pattern of the breast reduction surgery. Again, what differs is that with the breast lift volume is maintained while with the breast reduction, volume and bra size is significantly reduced. Breast reduction surgery is considered a “functional” surgery and is generally OHIP covered (an application to the Ministry of Health to secure coverage is required) because it is intended to relieve back pain, shoulder pain, bra strap grooving, neck pain, rashing etc.

Breast lift surgery is cosmetic and not covered by OHIP in any case. For women looking to have their breast lifted without reducing the size dramatically, a breast lift must be chosen so as not to make the breasts smaller than desired. It should be noted that the lift achieved with a breast lift will greatly reduce if not eliminate pain, rashing etc. even though the size of the breasts is not significantly reduced. This is because the lifting takes the weight and tension of the neck and upper back area even without making the breasts smaller.

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