How Safe is Breast Reduction?

I would like to get breast reduction but im so nervous about the whole surgery because there has been so many deaths or complications during or after the procedure. I'm also afraid of going under general anesthesia, but I need that surgery so bad. How safe is this procedure, and how can I make sure I won't get all those complications?

Doctor Answers 14

Breast reduction is very safe in the right hands

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Breast reduction surgery itself is very safe when performed by a well trained, board certified plastic surgeon, on a healthy patient, and in a safe, clean and certified surgical facility. Today, anesthesia is extremely safe when performed by anesthesia professionals in a facility that has all the necessary safety measures in place. If you truly are in need of breast reduction, try to not let your fear stand in the way between you and an excellent result.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Having a safe breast reduction

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Breast reduction surgery should be safe and routine IF:

1. You are physically and psychologically healthy and don't smoke and are not overweight

2. You go to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, not a cosmetic surgeon. Believe it or not, even oral surgeons are doing breast reductions!

3. The surgeon has extensine experience in breast reduction and you like him or her and like their photos and results

4. The surgery must be performed in an accredited facility

5. Anesthesia should be performed by a physician anesthesiologist

With these criteria met, you should do just fine and be glad you did it!!

Risks of breast reduction

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Thank you for your question. Fortunately, significant complications from breast reduction are infrequent. Every year thousands of women undergo successful breast reduction surgery, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and the risks.
I understand that every surgical procedure has risks, but how will I learn more so that I can make an informed decision?
The risks and complications are carefully explained either by the doctor or one of the nurses in the office during your initial consultation or at your preoperative appointment.
Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia.
Following reduction, sometimes the breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical or the nipple height may be slightly varied. If desired, minor adjustments can be made at a later time. Permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts may rarely occur. Revisionary surgery is sometimes helpful in certain instances where incisions may have healed poorly. In the unlikely event of injury to or loss of the nipple and areola, they usually can be satisfactorily reconstructed using skin grafts.
You can help to lessen certain risks by following the advice and instructions given to you both before and after surgery. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 
Double board certified 
Plastic surgeon
Hoffman Estates

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Keep Safety Top Of Mind When Selecting PS and Facility!

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Although breast reduction surgery is generally considered a safe operative procedure, complications can occasionally occur.The vast majority of complications are the result of wound healing problems and can usually be managed without further surgical intervention.
Areas of concern include bleeding, infection, anesthesia problems, seromas, pain, scarring, asymmetry, fat necrosis, decreased sensation and wound separation.
Complications can be minimized by consulting a board certified plastic surgeon with experience performing this procedure.In addition, the procedure should be performed in an accredited facility with a board certified anesthesiologist in attendance.When these steps are taken the procedure has a low complication rate.Patients are noted to have excellent clinical results and high levels of patient satisfaction.

Breast Reduction is a Safe Procedure for Most Patients

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Breast Reduction is a safe and common procedure for the vast majority of patients and so is general anesthesia if you are otherwise in good health and not a smoker.

The specific risks and suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare. In general there are comlications that apply to surgery just about anywhere such as : excessive bleeding, unsightly scars, pain, fluid collection (seroma) beneath the skin, wound separation, infection,etc.

Then there are complications specific to the breast reduction such as: nipple sensation change/loss, fat necrosis (hardening of breast tissue), breast asymmetry, all of which may require revisional surgery.

Breast Reduction and Safety?

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Thank you for the question.

Assuming you're in good health and are under the care of a board-certified plastic surgeon and board-certified anesthesiologist,  breast reduction surgery is very safe and one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

Best wishes.

Breast reduction extremely safe.

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You need a board certified plastic surgeon, a board certified anesthesiologist, and an accredited operating room and recovery room.  If you have those things, breast reduction is one of the safest operations.  I would encourage you to do it.  Women are so happy.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Is breast reduction safe?

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All surgeries have risks. Breast reduction is a very common operation and is safe and reliable. General anesthesia is also very low risk when done properly. You have probably heard of the plastic surgery disasters like the death of Donda West, but should know that these cases, while tragic are fortunately few and far between. Breast reduction can make you so much more comfortable. The best way to stay safe is to choose your surgeon wisely. Be sure that he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Ask to speak to a previous patient who has had breast reduction with this doctor. Make sure that the operating room in which you will have the surgery is fully certified and that your anesthesiologist is board certified too. Don't be too scared to look into breast reduction surgery, just be informed about the qualifications of the MDs taking care of you.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Safety in breast reduction surgery

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Relax.......... You have already stated how bad your situation is, so you have to either decide to have an operation, or live with your current situation. While all surgery carries some risks, the most important part of getting a good result is the surgeon that you choose.

This is one area in life where it pays to pay retail and I perform this operation as an outpatient in a private accredited surgical facility. It's cleaner than a hospital and we are able to hand pick the best nurses and anesthesiologists. 95% of my patients never take pain medicine for this and we get them up and moving around the day of the operation.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Breast reduction safety and complication risks

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Breast Reduction surgery is EXTREMELY safe when performed by a REAL Plastic Surgeon (a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons,, when done on a healthy patient, who then follows her surgeon's instruction.

Complications, by definition, are unwanted adverse events that CANNOT be avoided even when the best care is given. Among them are infection, bleeding, unacceptable scarring, fat necrosis, etc. The likelihood of such events is VERY SMALL but cannot be totally eliminated. (On the other hand, if you smoke despite being told how dangerous it is for healing and you end up with the surgical wound separating - that is NOT a complication - that would be a predictable consequence of your failure to follow doctor's orders.)

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.