What are the risks of having a breast reduction?

What are the risks of having a breast reduction?

11th Aug 2019


Breast reduction is also known as reduction mammaplasty, and like any other plastic surgery it poses risks, such as possible infections or adverse reactions to anesthetics. However, these are usually avoided upon reviewing medical history. Choosing a talented, experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon and making sure his instructions are followed to the letter can also help you avoid most of the risks associate with this procedure.

When considering the risks of breast reduction surgery, it is important to keep in mind that the incidence can be increased for patients after a certain age or suffering from pre-existing health conditions. Specific risks of the breast reduction procedure could be:

–    Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis);

–    Sensitivity loss in the mammary areola area and nipple;

–    Complete removal of the areola and nipple due to necrosis;

–    Scars and other permanent marks;

–    Difficulty or an impossibility to breastfeed after the procedure. This complication occurs more often if the pregnancy occurs in the first few years after the procedure or if a considerable amount of the mammary gland was removed;

–    Asymmetry in size, shape, position, and contour of the breasts and nipples, which could require correction surgery;

–    Nipple retraction. A minimal retraction can be caused by tension or weight of the pedicle on the areola and usually resolves in a few days, but if extremely retracted and persevering over a long period of time, another procedure may be suggested in 6 months’ time.

–    Hypertrophic and keloid scars;

–    Allergic reactions to materials or substances used during or after the procedure;

–    Skin necrosis and delayed wound healing;

–    Seroma: It is fluid-filled pocket. The exact causes are not clear, but they are commonly seen in women after breast surgeries;

–    Pain, which may persist for a few days or weeks;

–    Nipple-areola malposition;

–    A possibility of the need for revision surgery due to problems with the procedure or to improve breast symmetry;

–    Flattened, boxy shape of breast, lacking projection and volume;

–    Surgical wound problems.

It is important for patients considering breast reduction to carefully weigh in the pros and cons and pay attention to the risks before scheduling their procedure. Also, make sure to discuss these risks at length with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation as he can give you more details about how they apply to you. If certain risks are not worth taking at a certain time (e.g. a young patient who desires to get pregnant and breastfeed in the future), the plastic surgeon might advise postponing to a later date. The risks of the procedure should be considered against the discomforts of having overly large breasts. If the patient is suffering from extreme pain and physical discomfort on a daily basis caused by the excessive size of the breasts, the procedure is often considered necessary, despite the potential risks associated with it. 


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