American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals
 

Breast Reduction

Reduction Mammaplasty

Breast reduction surgery entails the removal of skin and tissue from the breast, followed by reshaping and elevating to create a smaller, more proportionate bust size.

What are the risks of breast reduction surgery?

The decision to have breast reduction is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your surgeon should review with you the relevant risks for your specific procedure.

You may be asked to sign a consent form to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications. You should feel free to ask any questions to help you understand those risks.

Important considerations for breast reduction:

  • While breast reduction surgery may interfere with sensation, most of the time nipple sensation improves over time
  • Breast and nipple piercing can cause infection
  • Breast reduction surgery may limit a woman's ability to breast feed, although most women can still breast feed after having a breast reduction
  • While a breast reduction can be performed at any age, ideally, breasts should be fully developed
  • Changes in the breasts during pregnancy can alter the outcomes of previous breast reduction surgery, as can weight fluctuations

Breast reduction risks can include:

  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injectable agents
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Damage to deeper structures – such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs – can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Excessive firmness of the breast
  • Fat necrosis (fatty tissue deep in the skin could die)
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Infection
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Poor wound healing
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Potential inability to breastfeed
  • Potential loss of skin/tissue of breast where incisions meet each other
  • Potential, partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
  • Unfavorable scarring

All risks will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.



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