How often are there complications from anesthesia? Is it less painful than a c-section recovery? Are there any staples used?

I am considering a breast reduction from a 38DD to anything smaller ( terrible back pain, neck pain ,headaches, shoulder pain & indents).Worried about dying under anesthesia (I have never been put under quite terrified honestly of it,, pain during recovery and I am allergic to nickel and can't have staples.

Doctor Answers 4

Breast Reduction

Thank you for the question and if you are in good health you are probably safer having surgery for a reduction mammoplasty then driving to the doctors office for the procedure.  All allergies would also be noted prior to the surgery to prevent a reaction.
Dr. Corbin 


Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Concerns about breast reduction surgery…

Thank you for the question.    Based on your description, you seem to be excellent candidate for breast reduction surgery; this operation tends to be one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.   Your allergy to nickel should not be a problem;  most plastic surgeons do not use staples.

Anxiety prior to surgery is very normal; its complete elimination is usually not possible. ***Assuming you have chosen your plastic surgeon carefully, other important "variables" such as anesthesia provider and surgery facility will be selected based on everyone's first priority: safety. This careful selection should give you some peace of mind that you will be safe around the time of surgery. Discuss your specific areas of concerns with your plastic surgeon who will be in the best position to help you calm your nerves. Obtaining "medical clearance" from your family practitioner or internist may also help when it comes to alleviating anxiety. I ask my patients to try to be as calm as possible prior to surgery; this “calmness" tends to translate to a smoother postoperative course. You may be able to alleviate some pre operative anxiety with music, exercise, meditation, a glass of wine (if ok with your surgeon),  and positive/objective focus on the long term outcome/benefits etc. prior to your procedure. Generally, patients find that they did “get worked up for nothing” after their recovery is completed. I hope this, and the attached link, helps. 

Worried about anesthesia

Thank you for the question. You can be assured that todays anesthesia is safe and effective. You don't mention any family history of problems with anesthesia so I feel I can reassure you of the safety of anesthesia. Recoverig from breast reduction is certainly less painful than a C-section, and you don't have a little baby to take care of on top of that!. Most patients are pleasantly surprised that there is not as much pain as they had feared. Mostly because we are not cutting through, or separating muscle layers when doing a breast reduction. As for the staples, no self respecting plastic surgeon would use staples on a breast reduction.Best wishes,Dr.Morrissey

Breast reduction recovery

The commonly quoted mortality rate from general anesthesia is 1 person in every 250,000 cases.  This includes patients who are very sick and have multiple medical issues.  The risk in a healthy woman who has no significant medical issues is much smaller.  A breast reduction is a relatively quick case and only takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours and can be done using an LMA (no tube passes through the vocal cords).When i perform a  breast reduction, most of the stitches are dissolvable except for a few around the areola.  I don't use staples.  Most patients report relief of their back and shoulder pain in the recovery room.  The pain from the procedure is minimal and nothing like a C-section.

Samuel Beran, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 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.