I Have Very Dense Fibrocystic Breasts (34E) and I Am Considering a Breast Reduction - What Are the Risks if Any?

Doctor Answers 6

The risks of breast reduction

Every operation has risks and potential complications. Having dense breasts does not increase the risks associated with breast reduction. Risks and complications are rare with breast reduction. Most patients have no problems with breast reduction surgery. Risks include:

  • Infection
  • bleeding
  • scarring
  • asymmetry
  • injury to the nipple
  • inability to breast feed
  • decreased sensation

There are other even more rare risks but these, and all risks, are unusual. Most patients say that breast reduction is the best thing that ever happened to them.

Good luck with your surgery.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Breast reduction with dense, fibrocystic breasts

I agree with Dr. Kraft. There are no real contraindications or increased risks associated with breast reduction in dense, fibrocystic breasts. The tissue is harder to cut. It weighs more per volume than more fatty breast tissue. The breast tissue that remains after the reduction is still hard to evaluate and check for possible malignancy. If there were problems with fibrocystic breast tissue such as cysts or pain, it can still occur after the reduction. In general, dense and fibrocystic breast tissue is heavy and can have problems so less of it is better. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Breast Reduction Risks?

Thank you for the question.

Based on your description you may be a good candidate for breast reduction surgery; it tends to be one of the most patient pleasing operations we  perform.

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 hypertrophy, 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 rare.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Dense breasts and reduction

Breast density is not a contraindication to breast reduction and does not present risks in itself. I recommend that patents with breast density who are over 35 undergo a screening mammography prior to surgery and send all tissue excised for pathologic analysis.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Fibrocystic breast reduction technique is the SAME as Non-Fibrocystic

Breast reductions can de done in fibrocystic patients and complications are the same, including hematoma, seroma, infection, scarring, asymmetry, inadequate or excessive volume removal, inadequate elevation and insifficient upper pole fullness.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Breast reduction in dense breasts

Breast reduction when indicated can certainly be performed in women with dense breasts.  A proper evaluation is in order.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.