Breast Reduction Cosmetic Risks
When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, breast reduction surgery, or reduction mammaplasty, is very safe and the results usually meet the expectations of the patient. However, as with all surgeries, breast reductions have risks.
Risks Associated with Breast Reduction
In addition to possible breast reduction health complications that are common to many surgical procedures, there are specific potential breast reduction cosmetic risks. When deciding whether you are a breast reduction candidate, you should be aware of possible asymmetry, sensation problems, and future breast feeding issues associated with breast reduction surgery.
A possible breast reduction risk is significantly asymmetrical breasts after surgery. This complication is one of the most uncommon breast reduction risks, especially if an experienced surgeon performs the breast reduction. However, it is a possible risk and may need to be corrected by a subsequent cosmetic surgery.
It is important to note that most breasts are not completely symmetrical. A slight difference in size or shape after breast reduction should not prompt additional surgery.
Uneven Nipple Height
Because reduction mammaplasty involves altering the size and shape of the breasts and removing and shifting some skin, there is a possibility that the nipples will not sit at the same height after breast reduction. During some surgeries, the nipple and areola will be removed and grafted back on the breast. In other instances, the nipple will remain intact, but the breast skin will be altered to fit the smaller sized breasts. In both methods of breast reduction, there are risks that the nipples and areolas will become uneven between breasts.
One of the most common breast reduction risks is the possible loss of feeling in the breast, especially if the areola has been removed and then grafted. Although grafting the areola places the nipple in the correct position aesthetically, the detachment from the breast tissue may cause a loss of sensation in the nipples.
Usually to a lesser degree than grafting methods, non-grafting breast reduction techniques also hold the risks of loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts as a whole. In some cases, the loss of nipple sensation after breast reduction surgery may be temporary; however, there are occurrences of permanent sensation loss. It is important for women to discuss the extent and possibility of this breast reduction risk with their surgeon when deciding which type of reduction mammaplasty technique will be used.
Breast Reduction and Breastfeeding
There is a chance that breastfeeding may not be possible after breast reduction. The degree of risk varies depending on the surgical technique used for the reduction mammaplasty.
Traditional anchor pattern breast reduction surgery increases risks affecting the ability to breastfeed. During this type of breast reduction, many of the milk ducts are removed during surgery, making it more difficult to breastfeed in the future.
Vertical incision breast reductions may increase the chance that a woman is able to breastfeed since at least a portion of the nipple will remain connected to milk ducts during this mammaplasty procedure.
Breastfeeding breast reduction risks are often avoided if the patient has more fat tissue than glandular tissue and breast reduction through liposuction is utilized. This breast reduction technique leaves the glandular and connective tissue largely untouched.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view more breast reduction before and after photos.
Photo credit: Mountcastle Plastic Surgery
Locate a Plastic Surgeon near You
When considering breast reduction surgery, it is important to speak with a qualified breast reduction surgeon to fully understand both breast reduction risks and the benefits of reduction mammaplasty. Use the search tool on this page or the DocShop cosmetic surgeon locator to locate an experienced plastic surgeon in your local area.