Risks and complications of breast reduction

A breast reduction is not an uncomplicated plastic surgery procedure, but is seen as relatively risk free as long as it is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. However, there are some complications associated with breast reductions, just as with all other surgical procedures.

Other than the general complication risks that are present in all type of surgery and described on the information page about general risks of plastic surgery there are specific risks with the procedure. These will be described in further detail below.

Ulceration around the incisions

Some patients are inflicted with ulcerations around the nipple and along the other scars which are treated with traditional wound care. The risks of ulcerations decrease if you carefully follow the instructions that your plastic surgeon provides you with.

Breast reduction scaring

Breast reduction surgery leaves permanent visible scaring around the nipple. These run vertically over the breast from the areola down to the mammary crease.

As a patient one must be aware that when undergoing a breast reduction one “swaps” large breasts for scars. The surgical scars are of considerable proportions, differing between patients. They will never completely disappear but with time they fade. All scars heal differently but remember that all healing takes time, so count on 12-18 months before seeing final results.

In order to minimise the appearance of scars you should tape them during the first six months or as long as they are red. The tape should be changed when it begins to loosen – approx once a week. One can shower with the tape on and then dry it with a hair dryer so that is fastens better. The tape helps to flatten and keep the scars together. The scars should not be exposed to sun or solarium rays during the first 6 months.

You can read more about scars and how to minimise your own after a breast reduction on the information page about scaring » (coming soon).

All about breast reduction surgery

Asymmetries & breast feeding

The surgery can result in some asymmetries (unevenness) between the breasts size, position or nipple placement. The possibility of breast feeding in the future may disappear buy cutting through the milk canals. This consequence affects approximately half of all patients that undergo a breast reduction.

Tactile changes and tissue damage

Some patients experience partial or complete loss of sensitivity of the nipple or entire breast. In exceptional cases the blood supply to the areola and nipple is lost which leads to tissue damage (i.e. necrosis). In such cases the nipple and the areola may need to be recreated which leads to a reconstructive treatment.

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