I want to have a breast reduction surgery, but after seeing pictures of patients whose operation went very wrong, I got worried and discouraged. Why do some patients who have breast reduction surgery end up with dead tissue and really awful wounds? How can you prevent that? Is it the doctor's fault? If the operation goes great and the patient follows the post operation treatment correctly, can still this happen? If the doctor I'm seeing is a member of the ISAPS, can I be assured that he won't do anything wrong? Please, I'm really really worried.
Breast Reduction Recovery
Doctor Answers 43
Recovery Process Following Breast Reduction
It’s important to remember that recovery varies from patient to patient. The vast majority of patients have uneventful recoveries, but occasionally patients do have complications. These are usually related to problems with wounds healing and occur for a variety of reasons.
Breast reduction not only makes the breast smaller but lifts the breast into a normal position. This requires the development of skin flaps and the removal of excess skin. These skin flaps, occasionally have compromised blood supply which can lead to wound healing problems.
Infection, obesity, diabetes and cigarette smoking have all been shown to adversely impact blood flow to skin flaps and are associated with wound healing problems. Every effort should be made to minimize the impact of these risk factors. This will ultimately result in fewer wound healing problems and less scarring.
It’s also important to make sure that your surgeon has experience performing breast reduction and is board certified in plastic surgery. Scarring in inevitable with any surgical procedure, but with proper care this can be minimized following breast reduction surgery.
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Most breast reduction patients heal well and quickly after their procedure. Absence of complications is the usual case although some minor complications may occur. Comormidities such as smoking, obesity, and diabetes cause an increase in complications.
Complications after Breast Reduction?
On the one hand, complications after breast reduction surgery are rare and mostly relatively minor.
On the other hand, complications can occur in the best of surgeons' hands. Membership in specific societies does not necessarily guarantee complication free surgery.
The best that you can to is to do your due diligence in surgeon selection.
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Breast reduction recovery
Most patients do quite well after a breast reduction procedure. The surgery involves removing breast tissue, fatty tissue and skin with no involvement of the muscle, which makes for a relatively smooth recovery. Most patients will take 3-4 days off work, during which time they will take narcotics before transitioning to tylenol. A surgical bra ( no underwire) will be worn for four weeks after surgery prior to a regular bra.
Activities with the arms should be minimized for the first week or so, but soon after surgery, most patients can have full range of motion of their arms and resume most regular activities. Remember, this is a much different recovery than a breast augmentation for example, where the pectoral(chest) muscle is divided and needs several weeks/months to heal.
Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon for more information regarding breast reduction surgery and its recovery.
Breast reduction surgery is very common and any major complications are low. The wound problems you are seeing can be minimized decreasing the amount of breast tissue that is removed, no smoking for three months before and 1 mo after the surgery.
Even under the most expert hands problems with wound healing can occur in breast reduction surgery as any surgery. If you see a plastic surgeon who says he does not have any of these problems then he is not being truthful with you.
Ultimately the operation is very safe AND patients are extremely happy with the way they look and feel.
Complications after breast reduction surgery
Breast reduction complications
Breast Reduction Surgery is Safe
Although all procedures carry potential risks and complications and problems do occasionally happen (smokers for example are at higher risk), most patients do quite well. Seek the consultation of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. They have a website listing all the certified plastic surgeons. Members of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery will all be board certified in plastic surgery and have demonstrated an interest and competence in cosmetic plastic surgery as well.
Breast reduction surgery complications
- Very large breast size
I require my patients to quit smoking before reduction surgery to help minimize risks due to smoking.
Good management of diabetes can help decrease risks as well. This is evaluated by looking at the hemoglobin A1c level.
In addition, ask your surgeon how many breast reductions he or she does a year, as well as his/her complication rate. This should give you a better idea of your individual risk of complications after breast reduction surgery.
Recovery from Breast Reduction
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.