Among the questions we are asked at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, one of the most common is:
“What’s the difference between a breast lift and a breast reduction?”
A breast lift, technically called a mastopexy, is an operation I perform for Waterloo and London women to tighten the skin envelope of the breast, reposition the nipple and areola to a more balanced position, and possibly add or remove breast volume.
A breast reduction is just what it sounds like: an operation to make the breast smaller.
I can understand the confusion between these two procedures. Every breast reduction also involves some components of a breast lift, and some breast lifts involve the removal of some breast tissue, thereby “reducing” the breast.
Both procedures aim to give a woman beautiful, well-balanced breasts. The true difference between the two procedures lies in the motivation to have the procedure in the first place.
Who is a good candidate for breast reduction?
A breast reduction is the right operation for a woman with very large breasts who is suffering from back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, skin rashes and other serious medical symptoms. In many cases, OHIP will cover the cost of a standard breast reduction. However, there is a very strict set of criteria that need to be met for a woman to qualify. That’s where the consultation with a well-trained, Royal College-certified plastic surgeon comes in.
Who is a good candidate for a breast lift?
A breast lift is a purely cosmetic procedure. It is the right operation for a woman who has mild or no physical symptoms associated with her breasts, but simply wants them to look prettier. This scenario usually occurs after weight loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or simply after the passage of time. In all cases, patients pay for a breast lift themselves, with no assistance from OHIP.
Do you do more breast lifts or breast reductions?
At The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, we do a large number of both of these operations. We do breast lifts with some tissue removal or with the addition of a breast implant. More and more often, we add some of the patient’s own fat to the breasts to add some volume during a breast lift. We also do breast reductions combined with some cosmetic liposuction for additional breast and chest shaping.
Keep in mind
Some key points to remember about these procedures include:
- A breast reduction requires a referral from your family doctor to the plastic surgeon to be considered for coverage for OHIP.
- A breast reduction must be PRE-APPROVED by OHIP prior to being done. That means your plastic surgeon has to submit an application on your behalf to request permission to do the procedure. While most patients get approved, not all do.
- A breast reduction will, by definition and by OHIP rules, make your breasts substantially smaller.
- A breast lift can also make your breasts smaller or bigger.
And finally, when done for the right reasons on the right patients by the right surgeons, both breast lift and breast reduction are great operations!