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 14

Risks of Breast Lift Surgery

Breast lifts have very few complications when done correctly and with proper patient selection. The largest risk is for poor scar. The scar can become thick or wide. Rarely the wound will not heal immediately. You can also have infections, asymmetry, poor nipple position, unusual or decreased sensation or recurrence of the droop. The risks are significantly increased in smokers. Therefore, most Plastic Surgeons will not do this surgery until you stop smoking. There is a discussion of these at my web site,, and more specific information at All are infrequent and most ladies are quite pleased with the results.

Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Risks of Breast Lift Surgery

The risks really depend on the extent of the procedure which can vary and include:

  1. crescent (periareolar)
  2. donut (circumareolar)
  3. lollipop or tennis racket (circumvertical or vertical)
  4. Anchor or Inverted T ( Wise. Lexer or vertical/horizontal)

Furthermore, many mastopexy procedures benefit from the use of an implant which may add additional risks.

There are risks to crossing the street or flying in an airplane and, of course, there are risks to any surgical procedure. These risks can occur regardless of surgeon or technique. These include but are not limited to: infection, hematoma, discomfort, wound breakdown, hypertrophic scar formation, asymmetry, unfavorable healing, implant infection exposure, rupture, deflation, palpability, visibility, distortion with muscular contraction, capsular contracture, interference with mammography or surgical evaluation of breast masses, interference with nipple sensation with nursing and aging, need for secondary surgical revisions, and inabiltity to guarantee a specific cosmetic result. Although many other claims of diseases associated with silicone breast implants have been reported these have not been substantiated by major studies.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Potential Risks of Breast Lift

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.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Breast Lift Risks and Complications

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Breast Lifting Risks?

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

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
5.0 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Breast lift safety

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Breast lift risks and complications

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

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 38 reviews

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George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 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.