Women are often confused about these two procedures and the answer is really simple. If you are happy with your cup size but not the sagginess of your breasts, then you need a breast lift. If you feel that your breasts are too large, then you need a breast reduction.
The procedures are very similar from a surgical standpoint. With a breast lift (mastopexy), only skin is removed and the breast mound and nipple are repositioned higher on the chest. With a breast reduction, skin and breast tissues are removed to make the breasts smaller, and then the remaining breast mound and nipple are repositioned higher on the chest.
Both procedures are performed as an outpatient, which means you get to go home after the surgery. Each takes about three hours and then there is about an hour of recovery time before you go home. These surgeries are done under general anesthesia, which means you are asleep. You would not tolerate the surgery under local anesthesia or even sedation (twilight sleep).
All the sutures/stitches are under the skin and dissolve. We place flesh-colored band-aids on the incisions and put you in a post-surgical bra, which I call a “Granny bra” because it is fairly thick and supportive. There are no drains.
Almost everyone thinks “These are breasts. This is really going to hurt.” We use a long-acting numbing medicine at the time of surgery which helps for the first two or three days, and we give you oral pain medications. However, the discomfort is not really that bad, and most patients are pleasantly surprised.
Patients can shower the next day, pat dry and then put back on the “Granny bra” or change to a comfortable sports bra if they would like. But when you look at your breasts for the first time after surgery, you will not look right. You will look like I placed your breasts up to your collarbone – way too high and too full on top. I do that on purpose because there is that thing called gravity. Over the next few weeks to months, your breasts will round out and settle, but it takes three or four months to get your final result.
Patients can drive when they feel safe to drive and they are not taking pain medications. I have most of my patients avoid strenuous exercise or any activity that gets their heart rate or blood pressure up, for the first two weeks. After that, I ask them to ease into their normal activities and listen to their bodies.
There are risks with any surgery. With both of these procedures, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, and problems healing. Anytime you cut skin you get a scar, and these procedures leave a scar around the nipples, a scar from the nipple down to the bottom part of the breast, and a scar underneath the breast. It is rare to end up with two perfect, mirror-image breasts, but they are usually very close in size. Revision surgeries are uncommon.
If you have any questions about breast lifts or breast reductions, please do not hesitate to reach out and Contact Us. We will answer any and all questions you have.