Breast reduction Risks and complications


The general anaesthetic is a small risk on its own irrespective of the type of surgery undertaken.


Bleeding after breast reduction surgery is a risk of approximately 1 to 2%, and may require a return to the operating theatre. It is however very rare to require a blood transfusion for this type of surgery.


Infection is also a risk of 1-2% with breast reduction surgery. Antibiotics are prescribed during the first week after the surgery, but do not eliminate the risk of infection. It is important to report any suggestion of early infection as change in the antibiotic protocols may be required.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism represent risks associated with surgery that takes a longer period of time under a general anaesthetic.

Early mobilisation, wearing compression anti-embolism stockings as well as injections that thin the blood are important as they reduce the risk of clots in the leg veins.

However if you experience a sudden shortness of breath after this type of surgery, or swelling of the legs it is important to contact the emergency services and attend a casualty department in order to received prompt treatment.


Pain after surgery tends to be moderate. However, many women feel that for several months after the operation there are some short sharp moments of pain arising from the sides of the breasts which seem to be related to the healing process of the nerves.

In rare instances, after any type of surgery or trauma it is possible to suffer from chronic or long term neuropathic pain. This is primarily related to the body's own pattern of healing from trauma, and is treated with different types of medication under the care of pain specialists.

Reduced sensation

Reduced sensation in the nipples after surgery is a possibility and will affect approximately 5 to 10% of women having breast reduction. In most instances a temporary decreasing sensation of the nipple is followed by a return to normal.


The ability to breastfeed may be impacted upon by breast reduction surgery, even though in most instances the nipple is not disconnected from the milk ducts.

If you feel that it is very important to breastfeed, it is necessary to postpone this type of surgery until after your pregnancies.


A degree of asymmetry is inevitable with any surgery that involves the two sides of our body or face. Although with breast reduction surgery the effort is made to decrease pre-existing asymmetries this is only possible to a certain extent.

Fat necrosis

Fat necrosis is the situation when a segment of fatty tissue of the breast suffers in its blood supply and is then removed by the body. In the process however, it is possible to see redness or sometimes breakdown of the neighbouring areas of the wounds of the breast.


Following breast reduction surgery the scar us are most frequently thin and pliable. Thick and lumpy scars are indeed also a risk and the sooner you bring your concerns to the attention of the surgeon the earlier appropriate treatment can be instituted. This has the ability to reduce the thickness and visibility of the scars.

Partial or complete loss of areola

Partial or complete loss of the nipple-areola in breast reduction surgery is more likely to be associated with large volume reductions. Smoking may also lead to a similar problem.

If this type of problem occurs, partial loss of the areola normally involves a more prolonged period of dressings. A complete loss of an nipple-areola complex would however require subsequent reconstruction for the aesthetics of the breasts to be improved.

Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757

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