Breast Reduction Incision Types: Which Is Best For You?

Breast reduction surgery

Breast reduction surgery, also called reduction mammoplasty, is a surgical technique used to remove breast tissue for either cosmetic or medically necessary reasons. One of the considerations to discuss during your plastic surgeon consultation is what are the different breast reduction incision types and which will work best for you.

Breast Reduction Incision Types

Depending on your unique anatomy, skin quality, age, and how much tissue you need removed during surgery, there are several different breast reduction incision types you can decide on with your plastic surgeon.

Breast Reduction Incision Types

Vertical (Lollipop)

Vertical, or “lollipop”

Traditional (Anchor)

Vertical, or “lAncho”


The vertical, or lollipop, incision is made around the areola extending vertically down to the breast crease (inframammary fold) and then ends.

Also called the wise pattern, inverted T, or anchor technique. The incision begins around the areola and extends vertically down and horizontally along the inframammary fold.


  • Less extensive scarring

  • Excellent breast reshaping and nipple areolar repositioning

  • Reduced sagging

  • Well suited for limited incision in younger patients with excellent skin quality


  • Suitable for larger reductions

  • Aesthetic repositioning of the nipple-areolar complex

  • Effective for removing sagging and excess skin

  • Widely used


  • Limited suitability for larger reductions

  • Potential for revision 


  • More scarring

  • Potential for loss of nipple sensation

The amount of tissue that needs to be removed and how you want the new shape of your breasts to look will influence the type of incision you may need for surgery and your recovery time. An expert plastic surgeon will review your needs and the outcomes you want from the surgery and help you decide which technique will best suit your case.

The good news is, if you have a significant amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed, your surgery may be classified as medically necessary, meaning many insurance plans will cover some or all of the costs of the surgery. 

When Is Breast Reduction Medically Necessary?

If you are having pain or other medical conditions caused by the size and weight of your breasts, getting a breast reduction might be a medically necessary procedure. The table below lists some of the reasons your breast reduction might be medically necessary. 

If these apply to your life, especially if the conditions have not been resolved using other methods (e.g., wearing a better bra, exercising, etc.), insurance companies will often pay for breast reduction surgery. 

Causes for a Medically Necessary Breast  Reduction

Chronic Pain

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches

Skin Conditions

  • Intertrigo (red, inflamed, and itchy rashes that can break open and lead to infections)
  • Dermatitis
  • Heat Rash
  • Skin Discoloration
  • Stretch Marks

Shoulder Gooving

  • Indentations caused by the pressure of bra straps digging into your shoulder from the weight of your breasts
  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Skin irritation

Schnur Scale

  • Calculator designed by plastic surgeons
  • Used by insurance companies 
  • Determines the amount of tissue that needs to be removed to make surgery medically necessary

Even if none of these categories apply to you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want or don’t deserve to have a breast reduction to improve your quality of life. It just means getting insurance to cover the costs will be more challenging — or you might need to pay out of pocket. 

The benefit of paying out-of-pocket is that you aren’t constrained to only working with a pre-approved surgeon in your network. You have the freedom to find a plastic surgeon who does the best work and who you trust to provide you with an excellent experience from start to finish.

Harris Plastic Surgery for Your Reconstruction Needs

Dr. Harris and his team are experts at helping women meet their breast reduction goals.  Whether you have a significant amount of tissue weighing you down or just need a slight reduction, Harris Plastic Surgery is here to help you live your best life. We can plan your breast reduction incision types to match your surgical needs and your outcome wants.

If you are trying to decide which of the breast reduction incision types would work best for you, we can help you decide.

Contact us online or by phone/text message if you have questions or are ready to schedule your consultation. 

Stephen U. Harris, MD FACS

Dr. Stephen U. Harris is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon and recognized expert in breast reduction and reconstruction surgeries, having performed thousands in his career. When it comes to patient care, his philosophy is that every surgery should improve his patient’s overall quality of life, not just their appearance. Dr. Harris stays up-to-date on all the latest advancements in breast augmentation, reconstruction, and reduction and is a recognized innovator in the field. In fact, he was the first surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital to offer primary prepectoral implant breast reconstruction, as well as secondary prepectoral revision surgery.

Dr. Harris also serves as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York and is an active staff surgeon (and former Chief of Plastic Surgery) at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York.

Let's have a conversation about you


Request a Consultation