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Navigating Choices: Mastopexy (Breast Lift) vs. Breast Reduction

Dr Hanikeri offers a range of surgical procedures for the breasts, body and face.

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FOCUS OF A MASTOPEXY: To address ptosis (sagging) or drooping of the breasts with removal of excess skin and reshaping the breast.

FOCUS OF BREAST REDUCTION: To address physical discomfort from large breasts which can include neck ache, back ache, shoulder pain and intertrigo (rash) and achieve a more proportionate size. Involves removal of breast tissue and skin with reshaping of the breast

Goals and Outcomes:

A breast reduction will not only lift the breasts but provide relief from physical discomfort associated with large breasts and create smaller, more shapely breasts by reducing the size and weight of the breasts.

On the other hand, a mastopexy, or breast lift, is focused on breast elevation and improvement in shape without reducing the volume of the breasts. This procedure does not remove breast tissue, thus allowing patients to maintain their current breast size.



There are three different types of scars for a mastopexy, depending on what type of lift is performed; Circumareolar (donut) – this technique involves making an incision around the edge of the areola, creating a circular scar. This is ideal for patients where a minimal lift is required, usually for mild ptosis (sag). The scar is discreetly positioned along the natural border of the areola, making it less noticeable.

Circumvertical (lollipop) – in addition to the circumareolar incision, a vertical incision is made from the bottom of the areola to the inframammary folder, forming a lollipop shape. Suitable for moderate breast ptosis. This allows for more significant lifting and reshaping while keeping the scar limited to the areolar border and a vertical line.

Wise pattern skin reduction (anchor) – this technique involves an incision around the areola, a vertical incision from the areola to the breast crease and a horizontal incision along the inframammary fold, creating an ‘anchor’ or inverted T shape. Typically recommended for cases with significant ptosis or when a more extensive lift is necessary. Provides the most comprehensive lift and reshaping, allowing the surgeon to address more severe ptosis (sagging).

Breast Reduction

In most cases the scarring for a breast reduction is the Wise Pattern Skin Reduction (anchor) type scar as above. This provides comprehensive reshaping and reduction, allowing the surgeon to remove excess breast tissue and skin and reposition the nipple-areola complex. This technique is particularly effective for cases of severe breast ptosis and larger reductions.

In both mastopexy and breast reductions, scarring can vary among individuals, influenced by factors such as genetics, skin type, and adherence to postoperative instructions.

It is important to keep in mind, that while the Wise Pattern technique results in more scarring due to its extended incisions, the benefits in breast reduction and reshaping can be substantial. Furthermore, the horizontal component of the scar is well hidden in the inframammary fold and excision of the skin in the lower pole allows better shaping and reduces the “bottom heaviness” of the breasts.

Patients should discuss their concerns, expectations, and scar management strategies with their Specialist Plastic Surgeon during the consultation to ensure a well-informed decision and optimal postoperative outcomes.

Choosing the right procedure:

If your main concern is the size and weight of your breasts, causing physical discomfort or health issues, then breast reduction is more appropriate.

If you are satisfied with the size of your breasts but want to address sagging and achieve a more lifted appearance, then a breast lift may be the better choice.

It is essential to consult with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon to discuss your specific goals, concerns, and overall health. They will evaluate your individual anatomy and guide you in choosing the most appropriate procedure or a combination of both if needed. Keep in mind that individual cases vary, and a personalised approach is crucial for achieving the best results.

Recovery and Downtime:

The recovery time for both breast reduction and breast lift procedures can vary depending on factors such as individual healing, surgical techniques, and the extent of the surgery. Each procedure involves discomfort, swelling and bruising immediately after the surgery.

It is important to note that while you may be able to resume some activities relatively quickly, you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercises until your surgeon gives you the green light. Always follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions for the best outcomes and a smoother recovery process.


In summary, the decision between a mastopexy (breast lift) and a breast reduction is determined by the symptoms, weight and appearance of the breasts in each individual. We recommend patients consult with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon to determine the best option for their own needs and goals.