Breast Reduction Recovery

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.

Doctor Answers 61

Breast reduction surgery complications

Breast reduction surgery removes a large amount of tissue: anywhere from 1-4+ lbs of tissue per side.  When the remaining tissue does not have adequate blood flow, healing problems can occur.  These might range from a small area that is slow to heal, all the way up to losing a nipple.  The major risk factors for healing problems are:
  1. Smoking
  2. Diabetes
  3. Very large breast size
If you have very large breasts, your surgeon may recommend a free nipple reduction, where the nipple is taken off the breast and put back on as a skin graft.  This ensures good blood flow to the nipple in its new position.  

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.

Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Bad Results With Breast Reduction

First, most surgeons put their best pictures up on the internet and many patients put their worst disasters on the internet. The end result is that you see the best 10% and the worst 10% but not the middle 80%. Breast reduction surgery has an exceptionally high satisfaction rate, higher than any other procedure that plastic surgeons do.  The reason is that results are immediate, improvement fitting into clothes and comfort walking around is often better only a few days after surgery than it was before surgery, and most people go through surgery without any complications.  Take some time to find a good plastic surgeon who does multiple variations of a breast reduction and who can match the procedure to your body. Find someone you trust and an office you feel comfortable in. Stay away from those who pressure you into surgery and DO NOT SMOKE before your operation.
Dr. Pyle

Jeremy Pyle, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Breast reduction complications

Breast reductions are more advanced level cases in the spectrum of cosmetic cases.  Besides the risk factors of diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, some of the most important determinant of a necrosis complication is the technical aspect.  Making the nipple base to thin or dissecting underneath the pedicle (bridge) to the nipple can cause significant problems.  Adhering to good techniques and good patient selection gives consistently good results and if there is a complication it is usually small enough that can be handled easily.  Pick a doctor that does a lot of these operations routinely.  Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice. The response to the question does not constitute a doctor patient relationship or formal advice.  

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Technique & Breast Reduction Recovery

I prefer to use a minimal incision surgery with a “#vertical” or “#LollipopBreastReduction #scar technique. The benefits of this technique include approximately fifty percent less scarring, a narrower breast, better forward projection and shape, longer lasting improvement, shorter surgery time and less complications.

The initial discomfort post procedure subsides daily and can be controlled with oral medication.
Most patients resume normal activity within two weeks. However full activity, lifting, sports, with no restrictions is safer after 6 weeks Some discomfort, swelling and discoloration of the #breasts are to be expected for several weeks. 

The scars at the incision lines typically become reddish and a few weeks after surgery are raised and firm. In a number of months they become pale and soft. After 8-12 months, the scars are relatively inconspicuous. The #nipples and some areas of the skin may be numb or sensitive after surgery. Sensation may return within a few weeks or months, but may be diminished or overly sensitive.

Your procedure should be performed by a #PlasticSurgeon who is board-certified and has a great deal of experience specializing in cosmetic #surgery. You will then greatly improve your chances of getting the result you desire, and, without the need for a revision surgery. It is suggested that you look at before and after photos of the surgeons actual patients, and read patient reviews. Gathering all of this information will help you make a well-informed decision.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Breast Reduction Surgery

Thank you for your inquiry. The first step is to set up a consultation with a board certified surgeon. Once you are in the consultation, see how you feel about your surgeon? Can you ask her questions easily? Does she tell you about the procedure in detail and possible complications? Ask her to show pictures of patients pre and post-operatively.  Complications happens to the best of surgeons, the question you want to ask is how your surgeon takes care of them. This is a very common procedure and many patients have very few complications. Good Luck!

Breast Reduction Surgery and Complications

Breast reduction surgery has been one of the more rewarding aspects of my practice as my patients continually explain that their surgery has been life changing.  No surgery is without risks for complications.  Technique certainly can play a part in complications, such as nipple necrosis, which is why I would implore you to seek out a Plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Sometimes, complications occur outside of the surgeons control or fault can lie with improper patient selection.  For instance, patients who have an elevated B.M.I., diabetes mellitus, or are smokers have a higher incidence of wound healing complications, infections, skin and nipple/areolar necrosis.  If you do not have these risk factors, and your are being treated by a board certified Plastic surgeon, your risk for complications is very low and will in all likelihood have a successful outcome.  

Breast reduction recovery

The process of post operative recovery in any surgical procedures including breast reduction is primarily dictated by a combination of patient factors, procedural factors and surgeon factors.

Patient factors include both loco-regional factors as well as systemic factors for consideration. For example, the magnitude of the breast reduction itself, is it a small, medium, large or massive reduction from weight point of view in terms of the weight of the breast tissue removed; is the patient otherwise healthy or are there some other medical conditions which put her at a higher risk category, such as being a smoker, diabetic, or any form of immunosuppression etc. Tissue healing can be easily compromised or prolonged with less resistance to infection if any of the mentioned conditions are associated with the patient undergoing breast reduction procedure. Obviously surgeon factors are also very important in terms of the surgeon's skills, experience and qualifications in performing the procedure with the safest, most reliable and effective aesthetic technique in restoring both the function and form of a smaller & lifted breasts that is right for the patient concerned. However, no surgeon is free from complications no matter how good & qualified the surgeon is. It's really about the surgeon's ability to minimise and manage the complications should complications occur.

In the majority of patients after a breast reduction procedure, they usually experience an instant relief from the heavy weight off their chest, shoulder and back! Provided they adhere to the specific post op recovery guidelines from their surgeons, breast reduction is usually regarded as the most satisfying procedure from both patient and surgeon's point of view.The associated recovery process can vary between patients due to factors discussed above, but overall it's a truly liberating procedure from both functional and aesthetic perspectives for many of my breast reduction patients.

Hope that helps.

Best wishes

Ellis Choy

Breast Reduction Recovery

The first thing that breast reduction patients notice is how much lighter their breasts feel as well as the reduction of neck and back pain.  Just the same, after breast reduction surgery, there will be some form of discomfort.  This lessens day by day.  A support bra and pain medications will help.  Within the first two weeks, there is less of a need for pain medication.  The overall recovery of breast reduction depends on the patients' health.  One to two weeks off from work fir a recovery is suggested.  A support bra is used for 6 weeks.  Strenuous activities, exercise and sports are discouraged for the first 6 weeks while the healing tissues have a chance to become stronger.  The swelling will subside over a three month period.  The scars will be red to begin and fade over the next year.  Just like every other surgery, results will vary with each patient.

Grant A. Fairbanks, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Complications of Breast Reduction Surgery

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry to hear that your friend had some post-operative complications after her breast reduction surgery and I hope that she is doing well.  My first question would be is your friend a nicotine smoker or is she a diabetic?  The reason I ask is that nicotine is one of the leading factors that contributes to tissue necrosis and is closely followed by diabetes.  Patients who are active nicotine smokers or are diabetic have an increased risk of complications, especially wound healing complications.  

In my practice, patient satisfaction with their breast reduction procedure has been tremendous and I am a firm believer that appropriate followup care and patient compliance with post-operative instructions (and restrictions) greatly affects the patient's experience AND their surgical result.  My recommendation to you and anyone who is interested in having a breast reduction procedure is to make sure that you consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reduction surgeries.  Many patients make the mistake of searching for the best deal, instead of focusing on surgeon experience, surgeon expertise and training.  Speak with your doctor about your concerns and be honest with the plastic surgeon you ultimately choose about your medical and social history (including any past or present nicotine use).  I hope this helps and best of luck!

Breast reduction recovery

Many thanks for your valid question and concerns.

Breast Reduction surgery is a common procedure and in most cases is very successful and without complication. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure including those you referred to such as wound breakdown and infection however if you are fit and well with no history of smoking then you should absolutely get a good result.

ISAPS as with all professional society's provide a degree of assurance as you know that the Plastic surgeon is accredited. It is impossible to guarantee results however ask your surgeon to show you pictures of other breast reduction surgery that hes performed. You should have confidence in your surgeon.

Good Luck

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.