Risks of Breast Reduction Surgery

Scars: The main drawback to removing excess skin is that it necessarily causes scars. Fortunately, the scars can be limited to areas that are hidden when you are wearing a bra – they are located around the nipple, below the nipple, and along the crease beneath the breast. The scars fade after surgery, but it can take years for them to do so. There are some techniques of breast reduction which may eliminate the scar along the crease, but most of these techniques are in the development stage at this time. Usually the scars are acceptable, especially when considering the benefits gained in quality of life following breast reduction, but no one can guarantee that you will be pleased with your scars. If you are going to have this operation, you simply must accept the fact that you are exchanging the problem of macromastia for scars.

Nipple or breast numbness or sensory change: Numbness is uncommon. It is more likely that your nipple sensation will improve because the nerve to your nipple will no longer be stretched due to the weight of your breasts.

Nipple Loss: This is a tragic problem, because, in it, one or both nipples lose their circulation and die. There would also be an open wound, requiring care. Eventually, the wound would close, or surgery would be necessary to close it. The nipple would then be recreated artificially by using your own skin or tattooing a nipple. Nipple loss is most likely to occur in smokers, but may occur in anyone. If you smoke, you should quit at least 2-4 weeks prior to surgery to reduce your risk
of this problem.

Infection, bleeding, fluid collections (seromas), asymmetry (unevenness between sides), and healing problems may occur following any surgery. If you are young and healthy and follow your doctor’s instructions, you may reduce your likelihood of these events. However, the operation of breast reduction necessarily involves compromise of circulation to healing tissues when the tissues need circulation the most. Hence, some women will have problems healing, even if they are not necessarily at increased risk. Typically, healing problems following breast reduction (if any) are limited.

Final Size: No one can guarantee your final cup size, because cup size is not standardized. Have a detailed discussion with your plastic surgeon prior to surgery to communicate your desired size. Explaining you preference in comparison to your current size is sometimes very helpful. For example, you might want to be somewhere between one third and one half of your current size.

Tips and Traps of Breast Reduction

  • Realize that this operation involves scars. If you are unwilling to accept scars, you should not have this operation, as no surgeon can predict how the scars will heal on you.
  • Quit smoking for at least 2-4 weeks before surgery to minimize your risk of healing problems.