Breast Lift Risks and Complications

How common is it to have complications after breast lift surgery? Generally, what are the risks of having a mastopexy?

Doctor Answers 15

Potential Risks of Breast Lift

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All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk Any breast operation can result in changes in sensation. This happens less with lifts than reductions but is still possible Occasionally, minor complications occur and do not affect the surgical outcome. Major complications associated with this procedure are rare. The suitability of the breast lift procedure and specific risks may be determined during you consultation.

#Hypertrophic or #keloid scars can be a problem. The worst are usually under the breast with an #AnchorLift or inverted “T”. These can be treated like all thickened scars with re-excision, laser, kenalog/5-FU injections, creams, silicone strips and other methods to reduce and improve healing.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Breast Lift Risks and Complications

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The most common complications of a breast lift are wound healing problems, unattractive scarring, and nipple or breast asymmetry. While usually associated with patients who have undergone an inverted-T mastopexy or augmentation-mastopexy, these wounds and minor imperfections can usually be treated in the office or revised in a clinic setting.

Other less common problems associated with breast lift surgery are hematoma (i.e. collections of blood underneath the skin of the breast), infection, and loss of the nipple-areolar complex. While thankfully less common, these problems often necessitate a return trip to the operation room for thorough treatment and revision. Dr. Perez examines all of his patients within one to two days after surgery so that in the rare chance there is a complication, it can be diagnosed and addressed appropriately.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Breast Lifting Risks?

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Thank you for the question.

Some of the risks/potential complications associated with breast reduction surgery include:  infection, bleeding, seroma, hematoma, wound healing problems, abnormal scarring ( hypertrophic or keloid),  loss of sensation, inability to breast-feed, breast asymmetry, necrosis of tissue or skin,  unsatisfactory cosmetic results, unpredictability of exact cup size postoperatively,  recurrence of the breast ptosis, and the potential for further surgery.  Other risks  related to surgery in general include deep venous thrombosis (clots),  pulmonary embolism, pneumonia  and even death.

Fortunately, the majority of patients who undergo this procedure by well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons and board certified anesthesiologists do very well and complications tend  to be relatively minor and treatable. The severe complications are very rare.

I hope this helps.

Breast lift is generally a very safe procedure with few complications

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If performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, the risks of mastopexy are very small. Your surgeon needs to evaluate your medical history, social history, and your anatomy/type of mastopexy you need. These variables will determine your risk. If you are a candidate for this procedure, the risks are very small. Only your surgeon can determine if you are a candidate. Good luck!

Parham Ganchi, PhD, MD
Wayne Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

Breast lift safety

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With ANY surgical procedure, there are risks. The best way to protect yourself is to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon who is professionally bound to engage only in techniques that have been deemed safe--after rigorous testing. However, it is always best to discuss this directly with your doctor.

The good news is that this procedure can be performed under local anesthesia and twilight sedation instead of general anesthesia. Lifting heavy weights and doing any exercise that will cause you to sweat can bring bacteria to the area and increase the risk of infection, so this is forbidden for about two weeks. You may have swelling, soreness, and bruising, nipple numbness which is always temporary and should return within six months to a year, and scar irritation that should mostly resolve after four to six weeks.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Breast lift risks and complications

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The list of potential complications following mastopexy have already been described by previous posters. You should now go see 3 boarded plastic surgeon who can detail with you any more issues you may have. Regards.

Understanding the risks of breast lift

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Complications after a breast lift or mastopexy procedure are very uncommon. The greatest complications are related to infection, bleeding, and poor healing. Understanding risks is a key to prevention. Infection has been reduced by the use of antibiotics just before the procedure, however you should also be sure that you are in good health before your procedure. You should not be nursing a cough or cold, or be recovering from a chest, urinary, or sinus infection.

The night before your procedure your should wash with an antibacterial soap such as Dial. Bleeding risks can be managed by stopping aspirin or other medications which may contribute to bleeding well before, including herbal supplements. Poor healing can occur and you should consider how your body has healed in the past. It is very important that you understand where the scar will be, for we find the appearance of the scar one of the greatest potentials for disappointment with breast lift.

Finally, consider nipple sensation, and breast feeding. Change in nipple sensation is very uncommon with breast lift though you should know that it can happen. Also, if breast feeding is important to you, as well as maintaining your result, it is best to complete your family before the lift. Breast feeding is not often affected by breast lift, though know it can happen.

Best of luck.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Tell us where you are from.

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Hi. 

We all have a lot of time presssure, and we are more likely to give you the time that a thoughtful answer takes, if we think that you live within 50 miles of us and might conceivably become our patient.

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

What are the risks of Breast Lift Surgery?

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Hi there-

The rate of risks of all plastic surgery procedures will vary according to your individual health history and lifestyle, how well you follow your surgeon's instructions, and your surgeon, so it's difficult to give you numbers, but I can comfortably tell you that if you find an experienced and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and you are healthy and will follow instructions carefully after surgery, you rate of risk should be very low.

I am concerned that it may not be very fair to the plastic surgeons you may consult with to discuss risks with you before you have had a consultation, because it is during this thorough and personal visit that you will gain the appropriate perspective on not only the risks of the procedure, but also the benefits of the procedure to you as an individual. This is also the only way that you would be able to understand the risk level for you.

But while I don't think you're really getting the information in the way in which it would be most useful to you, your question is a fair one, so here you go:

Bleeding, infection, unfavorable scarring, delayed healing, changes or loss of sensation, hematoma or seroma (fluid collecting), skin slough or burn, fat necrosis (firmness or liquefication of the breast tissue due to loss of blood supply), inability to breast feed, difficulty with mammograms, nipple loss, asymmetry, failure to achieve your desired result, and the possible need for revision surgery at your expense.

Risks are similar to any surgery

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As with any cosmetic procedure, you are at risk for anesthesia complications, bleeding, infection, wound healing problems, asymmetry, decreased nipple sensation, inability to breastfeed, mammographic abnormalities, pulmonary embolus, future droop, death....

While that might seem like a laundry list of reasons to run...we seldom see many of these problems and nearly all (perhaps with except of death) are treatable.

Robert Frank, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

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.