Breast reduction with breast lift is routinely performed together because they share the same incision sites.
In essence, breast reduction creates a smaller “cup size” to address symptoms associated with enlarged breasts such as painful bra strap grooves, rounded shoulders, postural problems, neck and back pain, and spinal curvature.
Breast lift, meanwhile, corrects the appearance of pendulous breasts by removing a small amount of loose skin and lifting and transposing the soft tissue.
Despite having different goals, the two breast surgeries are routinely combined because they share the same incision sites—around the nipple, within the submammary fold, and perpendicularly between the nipple and the breast fold. Furthermore, both involve removing a certain amount of loose skin from the lower breast pole.
(Note: Breast reduction almost always incorporates breast lift, although this is not always the case in breast lift unless the patient specifically requests for a smaller cup size. It is important to note that overlarge, heavy breasts are generally pendulous in appearance, according to California Surgical Institute website.)
When breast reduction is medically warranted, i.e., performed to improve the patient’s quality of life, health insurance coverage is possible. However, most issuers require trying first non-surgical treatments such as weight loss and therapy (in an attempt to improve posture and possibly reduce discomfort caused by overlarge breasts) before they cover its cost.
Breast lift, on the other hand, is always considered a cosmetic, elective procedure and thus precluding any chance of insurance coverage.
Whether performed separately or together, the results of these surgeries are expected to last a lifetime, provided that the patient maintains a healthy weight and avoids pregnancy in the future. For this reason, women of childbearing age and teenagers may have to postpone these procedures.
However, performing breast reduction with breast lift (or even without it) could be a good option for patients as young as 15 if their hugely disproportionately breasts are causing pain. This is particularly true for normal weight women who have tried non-surgical treatments to no avail.
But there is one caveat when breast reduction and/or breast lift is performed “sooner than ideal”—there is an increased risk of tissue regrowth, which may warrant some type of revision surgery down the road.