Would Being Anemic Cause Severe Complications with Breast Reduction?

I am 24, 5'5", 150lbs, and have 34H breasts. I have desired to have them reduced since I was in high school. The thing I am worried about is my anemia. I am worried about something happening to me during surgery because of it. The only time I have lost blood is when we decided to do a group STD test. After having only the two vials drained, I was light-headed for almost 10 minutes. Is this something that could be remedied by taking Iron supplements, or am I basically stuck with these terrible breasts because of it?

Doctor Answers 6

Breast Reduction and Anemia?

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Thank you for the question.

Prior to breast reduction surgery your hemoglobin/ hematocrit will be checked to assess the presence of “anemia”. You will likely be pleasantly surprised that you will remain a good candidate for the breast reduction procedure.   If not iron supplementation part of surgery may be necessary.

Best wishes.

Anemia or anxiety

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The likely reasons you felt lightheaded or weak was because you were nervous and had what is called a vagovagal response.  Anemia can be checkedby taking a blood test.

Breast reduction in an anemic patient

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Hi there-

First, I would agree with Dr. Aldea that the most common reason young people "pass out" during venipuncture is not because of anemia, but because of a vasovagal reflex.

As far as your anemia goes.... 

The risks anemia poses to a breast reduction patient would depend on many factors, including the root cause of the anemia, the severity of your anemia (how low is your blood count), your age and overall state of health (young people in excellent health would tolerate surgery and resultant blood loss better than older patients with health problems), and the surgeon doing your surgery (some of us lose more blood than others).

I would start by discussing the matter with your gynecologist or primary care doctor. After getting a firm understanding of your anemia and overall health, they will be able to tell you if you are a good surgical candidate.

Then you could proceed with your search for a well-trained, experienced, and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Anemia can cause severe complications

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Yes, like not being able to have surgery. You will not be cleared to have surgery if you are truely anemic. Go get a blood count and get this issue corrected.

From MIAMI Dr. B

Anemia and Cosmetic Surgery / Breast Reduction Surgery

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You did NOT pass out because you lost too much blood resulting in shock but because you most likely had a Vasovagal attack. (I had seen several of my classmates pass out in second year of medical school when graphic slides (Hey-this was BEFORE PowerPoint..)were shown and the lights were low).

The vast majority of pre-menopausal women have mild anemia. Mild anemia in younger people is actually beneficial because the blood flows better through the blood vessels with less clotting and sludging. Where it becomes dangerous is in the elderly with coronary disease where the heart cannot race and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood must be maximal or in people with disease brain vessels.

The degree of blood losses in Breast Reduction vary with the surgeon; some are much more conservative than others. I have NEVER had to transfuse a Breast Reduction patient in my professional life and seriously doubt you should be worried about it.

Consult a Plastic surgeon (www.PlasticSurgery.org) and move on with your life. You'll be glad you did.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Severe medical conditions may be contraindications to any elective surgery

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However, I cannot tell that having fainted from a blood draw means that you are anemic. You may have just had a what is called a VasoVagal response.  Some people pass out at the site of blood. If you have had your blood count checked and it is in fact low, the more important question is "why." It is generally not normal to be anemic and many forms of anemia can be treated. Having elective surgery while anemic is not a great idea, but you should be able to make sure you are anemic and treat that anemia so that you are safe for surgery.

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.