Is It Dangerous to Have Breast Reduction a Second Time and After Age 50?

I have been seeing recent reports indicating that wound recovery complications, infections, etc. are a higher risk for women older than 50. This is concerning as I want to have a second reduction 25 years after my first one and do not have my original operative report. Is the combination of my age and the fact this would be a second surgery way too risky to consider? Thanks for your time.

Doctor Answers 5

Repeat Breast Reduction at Age of 50?

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Thank you for the question. 

No it is not “dangerous” to have repeat breast reduction surgery or to have the procedure done after the age of 50. Although ideal to have your previous operative report available,  it is certainly not mandatory.

As you know, the concern with repeat breast reduction surgery is related to blood flow to the remaining tissue;  if too much tissue is removed in one operation the blood flow to the remaining tissue (including nipple/areola)  may be compromised.   Part of the tissue that is left in place is called the “pedicle"; this segment of tissue is responsible for delivering the blood supply to the nipple/areola tissue.  Care  must be taken during repeat breast reduction surgery to avoid cutting the  pedicle that is responsible for “delivering” blood flow to the nipple/areola complexes.

If anything, the fact that you had surgery 25 years ago may very well indicated that your breast tissue has had a lot of time to “revascularize",  making concerns regarding blood supply and pedicles  potentially less important than if the repeat breast reduction surgery was done soon after the initial breast reduction surgery.

Also, there is nothing about the age of 50 ( assuming you are in good health)  that makes breast reduction surgery more “dangerous".  Your plastic surgeon and/or anesthesiologist may request an EKG and/or medical workup prior to surgery. Hopefully your only regret after this operation will be “I wish I had done it sooner”.

Please make sure you  do your due diligence carefully in the selection of plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Secondary Breast Reduction

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Yes, secondary breast reduction is possible and can be quite save 25 years after the initial operation.  While it helpful to have the original operative report to know which type of surgery was performed, your surgeon should be able to design their surgery in such a way to maximize safely.  Please be sure that you are being seeing by a plastic surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


Good Luck.

Breast Reduction - Is It Dangerous to Have Breast Reduction a Second Time and After Age 50?

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Not necessarily - but your concern is understandable.  In general, older patients (wow - is 50 older??!!??) have a slightly higher risk of wound healing problems than do younger patients, but there are many factors involved and that alone should not be a deterrent to this procedure.  Another (legitimate) concern is the pedicle (which is the portion of the breast that the nipple and areola remain attached to)  There are different choices and, ideally, a second procedure should use the same one as the first one.  The reality is that after 25 years there is most likely enough new blood supply so that almost any pedicle should be able to be used.

So - while there are some increased concerns, it should be fine to proceed with what you'd like.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Second Breast reduction and age over 50 years

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Thank you for your question. 

I would be concerned about a substantial 2nd breast reduction and not knowing how the initial procedure was performed. How your "nipple" was transferred from its former to its new position is the crucial question as it was based on some breast tissue from the "top", the "side" or from " below". In not knowing this information your surgeon may cut across the blood supply and  you can loose "nipple" and some underlying breast tissue.

If you need just a minor reduction some liposuction maybe performed or if only a small amount of tissue has to be removed and/or the "nipple" be moved as short distance it may be safe.

I would recommend you to see one or two experienced (older) Plastic Surgeon and have them examine you and give you their frank opinion. Ask them if they can guess the technique of your previous breast reduction and feel they can with some degree of confidence perform the second reduction. 

Good luck and do your home work with your Plastic Surgeon of choice. 

Guido P. Gutter, MD
Evansville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Revision breast reduction

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Revision reduction is certainly possible and is done for many women.  However, there is a slight increased risk of complications related to not knowing how exactly the other operation was performed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.