Specific complications after breast reduction

Specific complications after breast reduction

14th Apr 2018

Many women desire to get bigger and voluptuous breasts; however, at times the breasts may become too large to look aesthetically welcoming. Instead, overly large breasts make you look weird, abnormal, and aesthetically unwelcoming. Furthermore, they create physical pain like shoulder and neck pain. Fortunately, breast reduction surgery can effectively reduce the size of overly developed breasts, making them appear beautiful, balanced and removing the physical pain associated with the condition.

Like other invasive surgeries, there are many complications associated with breast reduction. The patient must discuss the complications of the surgery with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. You should analyze the complications against the benefits and undergo surgery only when the benefits are greater than the risks.

Breast reduction surgery

To understand the complications of the procedure, you need to understand what the surgery entails. Breast reduction is a highly invasive surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure involves surgical removal of the excess fat, tissue, and skin from the breasts, besides repositioning the nipples. The plastic surgeon will use specialized surgical techniques to deliver the desired outcomes.

After the procedure, the patient is required to have a recovery period that can extend to many weeks. To recover completely after surgery, you would need six weeks. However, you may resume work two weeks following the operation. The procedure’s results will gradually become visible. It can take many weeks and even months for the ultimate results to come to the fore.

What are the complications?

Breast reduction is invasive and involves incisions and tissue removal. Like other invasive procedures, breast reduction involves risks and complications. Here are the specific complications of breast reduction surgery:


Infection is a common and dangerous complication associated with breast reduction. The surgery involves incisions, which makes you vulnerable to contracting possible infections. You are more exposed to infections if you have a weak immune system. It is important for the patient to be extremely careful after surgery so that potential infections can be prevented. Be sure not to touch the incisions or let any unauthorized person touch it. If the doctor has prescribed antibiotics, you must take them according to the doctor’s instructions.

When an infection happens, it can transpire in three forms: mild, moderate, and chronic. Mild and moderate infection after the surgery can be treated with oral antibiotics. On the other hand, when the infection is chronic, it means it is deep, so it must be treated immediately with IV antibiotics. The symptoms of infection include a rise in temperature, severe pain in the breasts, pus discharge from the incisions, vomiting, and nausea.

Excessive bleeding

Another serious complication that may occur after breast reduction surgery is excessive bleeding, which can lead to other complications. Some patients are more at risk of excessive bleeding after surgery than others. If you have diabetes, taking blood-thinning medications, or careless during recovery and engage in strenuous activities, your risk of excessive bleeding is higher.

When bleeding happens due to wound dehiscence, it can be serious if not treated promptly. The patient must make it certain to seek medical help when the bleeding starts. The bleeding can be treated with surgery and medications or both. To avoid excessive bleeding after surgery, be sure to share your full health history with the surgeon and stop taking blood-thinning medications at least two weeks before the procedure and avoid it during recovery. Also, avoid physically strenuous activities for six weeks following the operation.

Slow and poor wound healing

Next, there is a risk the surgical wound may experience slow and poor wound healing after the procedure. The surgery involves incisions, and most patients experience smooth and safe healing of the incisions. However, the risk of poor and slow wound healing stays there. Some patients are more at risk of slow and poor wound healing than others. For example, if you have diabetes or are taking blood-thinning medications, your wound may heal slowly and poorly. If wound dehiscence or infection has happened, they too can lead to slow and poor wound healing.

Abnormal or unwelcoming scars

Breast reduction surgery involves incisions, which will ultimately turn into scars. The procedure cannot be performed without scars. For most patients, the scars develop normally and fade over time. The scarring indicates your body is working to heal the incisions and recuperate from the surgical trauma. However, there is a risk abnormal scarring may happen.

The scars form as a result of the collagen production in your body. If your body ends up producing more collagen, it can cause the scars to become abnormal, more noticeable, and raised. The common causes of abnormal scarring include smoking, doing strenuous activities during the recovery period, exposure of the scars to direct sunlight and heat during the first six months following the operation, not wearing the surgical bra, and genetic predisposition. To avoid abnormal scarring, be sure to share your complete medical information with the surgeon, avoid physically demanding activities during the recovery period, wear the surgical bras, and follow the surgeon’s instructions.

Change or loss of breast sensation

Breast reduction surgery involves incisions and meddling with the nerves and tissues. There is a risk that during the operation, the nerves may be injured or damaged, which can lead to a change or loss of your natural breast sensation. In most cases, the complication is temporary. Many patients can regain their natural breast sensation after some weeks or months. However, the condition can also be permanent, especially when the damage done to the nerves is permanent.

Skin necrosis

The surgical trauma may lead to the death of the skin cells in the breasts or the areas in the vicinity of the breasts. Breast reduction is a major operation that involves skin, fat, and tissue removal from the breasts. As a result, the patient may experience skin necrosis, which happens when the skin cells die.

Anesthesia complications

The risk of anesthesia complications is also present after breast reduction surgery. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, which means the patient will remain fully asleep during the surgery, not feel any pain, not remember the procedure, and not be able to make any movements. While most patients remain stable after the surgery, some patients do experience sickness, anesthesia problems, vomiting, and nausea after the surgery. These temporary problems happen due to the general anesthesia.

Chronic and prolonged breast pain

While some pain during the first 24-72 hours after the procedure is normal, some patients may experience severe and prolonged pain in the breasts after the surgery. Severe and prolonged pain is the symptom of underlying complications like infection. Be sure to contact your surgeon when this happens.

Breast asymmetry

If your plastic surgeon is inexperienced or unskilled, he may end up removing more tissue and fat from one breast than the other. As a result, one breast will become smaller than the other. This condition is called breast asymmetry. To avoid it, be sure to choose only an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to operate. When a breast asymmetry occurs, the patient will be required to under another operation to fix the condition.

Sagging breasts

Removal of the tissue and fat from the breast during the procedure will leave excess skin on the breasts. The excess skin must be removed to prevent breast sagging. There is also a risk your breasts may become saggy after the surgery if your skin quality is not good.

Other complications

Other complications that may happen after the intervention include general dissatisfaction with the results of the surgery, blood clotting, and loss of breastfeeding capability.

It is crucial for the patient to discuss with the surgeon the complications that may happen after the procedure. Doing so will help you get ready for the recovery period and set your expectations accordingly. It will also help you prevent risky conditions.


Breast reduction surgery is a major procedure that is used to treat overly large breasts. The procedure involves removal of excess fat, skin, and tissue from the breasts. The surgery is invasive and involves incisions. There are many complications associated with the procedure and the recovery period. Those complications have been discussed above, along with tips to prevent them and treatment options where possible. Patients must be certain to discuss the complications with the surgeon during the pre-operative consultation.

Share this article: