With more than a quarter of a million performed in the last year alone, breast augmentation has long been the most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedure, and the vast majority of women and men are already well aware that breasts can be made larger and fuller through the use of silicone or saline breast implants. However, not all women desire larger breasts. Some suffer discomfort in the form of back and shoulder pain resulting from breasts that are disproportionately large and heavy. Others have found that as skin and tissue elasticity wane with age, their breasts start to sag and droop. For these women, breast lift and breast reduction procedures can help them to achieve the appearance and comfort they have always desired.
Breast lifts and breast reductions may be superficially very similar, but the two procedures actually differ a great deal in both their goals and their execution. A breast lift, or mastopexy, seeks only to counteract the natural effects of age and gravity, significant weight loss, or breast feeding. While small amounts of skin are removed in order to help give the breasts a firmer, more lifted appearance, the majority of the breast tissue is preserved so that it can be redistributed from the lower to the central or upper portions of the breast. In some cases, this effect can even be augmented through the use of fat transfer, a procedure that injects fat that has been removed, via liposuction from other areas of the body, into the breasts (or other area in need of augmentation) in order to further enhance projection and cleavage. Ultimately the goal of a breast lift is to change the position and appearance of the breasts without significantly altering their volume so that clothing fits better and the entire torso gains a more youthful look.
Breast reduction, or reduction mammoplasty, is performed for very different reasons. Breasts that are disproportionately large or heavy can negatively impact everyday life by increasing self-consciousness, by making it more difficult to exercise or to find clothing that fits correctly, or even by causing back pain, neck pain and other related health issues. Many of these difficulties can be relieved by removing excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin from the breasts, which is why, in some cases, breast reduction can qualify as a medically-necessary reconstructive plastic surgery procedure. It is important, however, that you still check with your insurance provider to confirm that specific requirements of your plan. While the procedure does, in some cases, lift the breasts while making them appear younger-looking, the actual goal is to alleviate any physical difficulties that a patient might be experiencing; so many women choose to combine a breast reduction with a breast lift in order to achieve optimal results.
Along with breast augmentation, breast reduction and breast lifts account for nearly twenty-five percent of all cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States, and at Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. our board-certified plastic surgeons have been recognized among the leading experts in breast surgery for nearly fifty years. If you are interested in learning more about your options in breast surgery, viewing before and after pictures, or in the variety of insurance and financing options, including Alphaeon® and CareCredit®, that we can provide in order to assist you, please feel free to contact us in Alpharetta or at one of our other Atlanta area offices located in Sandy Springs (Northside), Newnan, or Cumming, to schedule a full consultation.