Breast surgery

What is breast surgery?

There are many types of breast surgery, including reconstructive surgery, augmentation (breast implants), and reduction. Undergoing surgery is a major decision which should be reflected upon and discussed in detail with a specialist before surgery is decided upon.

People may seek cosmetic breast surgery for many reasons, and nowadays there are many options to choose from, meaning the procedure can be truly tailored to the patient. 

What are the different types of breast surgery?

The main different types of breast surgery include:

  • Breast reduction surgery – the procedure for reducing the size of large breasts.
  • Breast augmentation – a cosmetic surgery technique using breast implants to increase the size and shape of the breasts. 
  • Mastectomy – this is carried out to treat breast cancer by surgically removing one, or part of the breast. 
  • Lumpectomy – the surgical removal of a discrete portion, or 'lump' of the breast in breast cancer treatment.
  • Mastopexy – this is also known as breast uplift surgery, to lift sagging breasts. 

What are the reasons for breast surgery?

The type of procedure needed under the umbrella term of breast surgery depends on the underlying reason. For example, if a woman needs a lumpectomy for breast cancer treatment, part of their breast cancer care will involve their breast being reconstructed.

A woman might want to reduce the size of their chest because they feel uncomfortable with any unwanted attention or if their large breasts cause back pain. Or a woman may feel that their breast size is too small and it affects their everyday confidence, therefore, they might decide to have implants.

Which specialist should I see about my breast surgery options?

Depending on the need for breast surgery, the following specialists can help:

  • Medical oncologist – specialises in the medical treatment of cancer with radiotherapy, chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.
  • Surgical oncologist – a doctor who specialises in the surgical treatment of breast cancer, performing biopsies and removal of lumps, or a breast.
  • Breast surgeon – removes breast tumours and lymph nodes.
  • Plastic surgeon – a doctor who specialises in breast reconstruction.

How can I find the right specialist?

Your GP can refer you to a specialist depending on the type of breast surgery that is necessary to your particular case.