Complications of aesthetic breast surgery

Complications of aesthetic breast surgery

11th May 2017

Sagging of the breasts is one of the most often encountered complaints from women, especially those who have suffered breast transformations caused by pregnancy and giving birth. Sagging breasts have become a major complex that can only be treated with the help of plastic surgery. But as is the case with any type of surgery, there are complications associated with aesthetic breast surgery.

Breast lift for aesthetic purposes

The plastic surgery intervention performed with the aim to elevate or contour the breasts is called a mastopexy, and it requires incisions through which the nipple will be lifted to the desired position. The excess skin and breast tissue will be removed during the procedure. The length of the intervention is two to four hours and it can only be performed under general anesthesia. If the breasts are also lacking volume, breast implants can be introduced to augment them better.

Potential complications

Aside from the general complications that can occur during or after any type of surgical intervention such as allergic reaction, excessive bleeding, hematoma or infection, in the case of mastopexy we can also be confronted with specific complications.

After the surgery, the nipple sensitivity can be partially or completely lost for a certain period of time and, in rare cases, permanently. Another put down can be the scars resulting after the surgery. The scars after mastopexy are permanent and obvious, especially if there are a lot of breast tissue removed. An experienced plastic surgeon will know how to hide the scars in the natural folds of the body and their aspect will diminish with time. However, they will never disappear completely.

Numbness can also occur on the breasts, but in most cases it is just a temporary side effect of the intervention. The risks after mastopexy can be greatly reduced if you select a board-certified plastic surgeon and follow his recommendations to the letter.

Complications can also occur during the recovery period. Among them is delayed wound healing or wound dehiscence. These complications are more often experienced by patients who smoke.

Breast reduction for aesthetic purposes

Breast reduction is another procedure commonly performed for aesthetic and functional purposes. The first breast reduction surgery is said to have been performed in the 7th century and nowadays is one of the most frequently performed interventions. The size and weight of the breasts can be reduced through a wide variety of surgical techniques that mostly differ on the localization on the incisions and the gland pedicle that is maintained after the removal of the excess tissue.

The breast reduction procedure targets the improvement of the proportions, position and aspect of the breasts, contributing to achieving a harmony in the area. More than this, the reduction of the excess mammary tissue contributes to the improvement of the patient’s quality of life through the disappearance of side effects associated with macromastia such as back, neck and shoulder pain. Mobility is also increased after the breast reduction procedure. As is the case with any plastic surgery, it is very important for the surgeon to be aware of the changes desired by the patient, and the desires of the patient to be in accordance with the possibilities of the remodeling surgical procedures.

The reduction mammoplasty is a strictly individualized procedure. Hence it is not recommended to undergo it to satisfy someone else’s wishes or to copy an ideal image. The plastic surgeon will decide what the indicated procedure is, after taking into consideration the desires and expectations of the patient. In most cases, this procedure has medical indications (when the macromastia determines pain on the spine, shoulders or when the lack of balanced determined by the excessive weight of the breasts causes deformations of the spine), but the breast reduction procedure can also be performed for purely aesthetic purposes. The ideal patient for the surgery is a non-smoker, in a good health and with no frequent weight fluctuations.

The general complications of the breast reduction procedure are common to any invasive intervention, for example cardio-respiratory complications that can occur due to the general anesthetic. The local, specific complications are:

– Bleeding: If the bleeding is persistent, additional interventions might be required for hemostasis.

– Infection: It is extremely rare as it can be easily prevented by prescribing antibiotics before and after the surgery.

– Nipple/areola complex necrosis: It can occur due to the tension, torsion or compression of the glandular pedicle.

– Changes in areola sensitivity: These sensitivity modifications are rarely permanent. In most cases they will disappear over the course of the first month following the intervention.

– Asymmetry

– Vicious scarring

Breast augmentation for aesthetic purposes

Usually this procedure is performed for aesthetic purposes only. Patients feel that they would live a more productive and happy life if the size of the breasts are improved. The procedure can be performed either with implants or fat transfer to the breasts. The complications associated with implant surgery are more notable than in the case of autologous fat transfer.

Among the specific complications of breast augmentation surgery with implants are rupture or deflation of the implants, the leaking of the implants, implant migration, capsular contracture, and deep infections that sometimes determine the need for a revision surgery.


The complications of aesthetic breast surgery occur in rare cases nowadays as the advancements of modern plastic medicine have greatly reduced the risks. However, it is always important for the patient to know what to expect after undergoing an aesthetic breast surgery. Keep in mind that choosing an experienced plastic surgeon can furthermore reduce the chances of complications occurring during or after the intervention.

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