There are inherent risks to breast reduction surgery. It is major surgery. The risks may include the general risks associated with any surgery and the risk of being dissatisfied with the results of the procedure. You must be aware of all of these risks before undergoing breast reduction surgery.
The risks related to the technique used in the procedure include risks related to the anesthesia and excessive bleeding.
There is also the risk of infection, although it occurs quite rarely in breast reduction procedures. Signs of an infection include redness, severe swelling, discharge, a foul smell, severe pain or a fever over 100.5º F.
Another risk of any major surgery are embolisms, which are blockages caused by small clots or other matter that gets loose and travels in the blood stream. A pulmonary thromboembolus is a piece of clot that has lodged in the lungs and is a serious problem. It can cause breathing distress, cardiac arrest or coma. A pulmonary thromboembolus usually occurs within 72 hours after surgery.
It is possible that some of the tissue that is moved around or manipulated during reduction surgery may die. This condition, known as necrosis, is extremely rare.
In reduction mammoplasty, incisions are made around the areola, and in some procedures, the nipples are detached completely and reattached. Loss of sensitivity in your nipples may occur. This is usually temporary and subsides. However, there may be a permanent loss of sensation in the nipples, especially if they were detached. Skin around the incisions under the breasts may also lose some sensitivity.
Mammoplasty is not a scar-free procedure. The breast scars will initially look more prominent and will likely fade over time. There will be breast scars, but most incisions are placed so that scars are not visible while wearing clothes or a bathing suit. Proper postoperative care can help minimize scarring, but excessive scarring may still occur, even when your surgeon's instructions are followed carefully. Some people scar more than others. Smokers are especially prone to more severe scarring and poor healing in general.
Your breasts may not be symmetrical after mammoplasty surgery. Your surgeon will make every effort to ensure your breasts as even as possible, but this might not always be possible. Bear in mind that no one has perfectly symmetrical breasts and that minor asymmetry is not noticeable under clothing. Also, one breast may heal slower than the other and be swollen for longer, creating a temporary asymmetry. Serious asymmetry can be corrected with more surgery.
Permanent hyperpigmentation (permanent dark spots) can occur after mammoplasty. Bruising usually subsides in a matter of a few weeks but may linger.
The results of your breast reduction surgery may not live up to your expectations. To avoid this, you should be as clear and detailed as possible with your surgeon when you describe how you want to look. One possibility is to end up having smaller breasts than you had wanted. Breast size should be discussed in terms of cup size before your surgery to minimize the potential for any misunderstanding.
Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute
3023 Hamaker Court
Fairfax, VA 22031
Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute
8650 Sudley Road
Manassas, VA 20110
George Washington University Hospital
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC, DC 20037