Smelly Yellow Discharge 4 Weeks Post-Breast Reduction

Hello Doctor says this is normal, just excess tissue leaving through the incision. He said the incision is called a deer claw incision and this is common. There is no pain, redness, fever or inflammation from the incision sites. The pus smells awful. Usually about a teaspoon of yellow discharge stains my clothing everyday . It is coming from the incisions. When I look at the incisions, some have have the yellow pus on the scabs, some have leaking pus. Thanks

Doctor Answers 7

Discharge after Breast Reduction?

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Thank you for the question.

Superficial wound healing problems and/or discharge are not uncommon after breast reduction surgery. These usually go on to heal without further treatment and without detracting from the long-term surgical results.

I would suggest continued follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Fat Necrosis or Infection Following Breast Reduction

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         This type of yellow drainage is most likely secondary to fat necrosis or infection. When breast reduction is performed it’s not unusual to have areas of fat necrosis. Fat necrosis results from damage to the blood supply of small areas of breast tissue. Over the course of time, this fat dissolves and turns into a yellow oily fluid which can leak through the wound closure.


         Infection can also cause similar drainage, but this is usually accomplished by other signs of infection. These include redness, fevers and chills.


         Although, this is probably consistent with fat necrosis, the foul smell does suggest the possibility of infection. For this reason, your progress should be monitored closely. 

Breast reduction discharge

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Yellow discharge may represent a number of potential source.  The most obvious is infection, especially when a foul smell is involved.  However, usually an infected region is surrounded bu redness and may or may not be accompanied by a fever.  Fat necrosis (devasularized fat) making it way out of an open wound is also possible.  This may also represent an early stitch abscess.  Your body sometimes reacts to foreign material in this manner.  It would be wise to keep in close contact with your plastic surgeon.  Express your concerns.  Post a pic for a more detailed evaluation.  I hope this helps

Jason Hess, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Yellow discharge after breast reduction - This will pass.

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During a breast reduction,  breast tissue is removed and every effort is made so that the tissue which is left behind has a good blood supply and survives without a problem.   Alas, some of the tissue left behind can lose it's blood supply and dies.  This is called fat necrosis.  After the fat dies, it  can turn hard and then gradually breaks down to a "Wesson Oil" colored fluid which can leak out of the incisions.  If there is no infection, the fluid is just yellow and patience is required to wait while this resolves.  If the fluid is foul smelling there likely is bacteria in the fluid and you should be followed closely by your surgeon to monitor for infection.  Fat necrosis may take several months to fully resolve so be patient.

Wound healing issues after breast reduction

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New yellow drainage about a month after surgery may just be fat necrosis resolving itself.  If it's smelly, then try changing the dressing more often (3-4 times daily, rather than the typical 2 times daily).  Follow your surgeon's instructions and be sure you have close followup with her.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Drainage froma breast reduction

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A foul smelling odor and discharge from your breast after a reduction need to be followed carefully.  Thismay represent an infection or fat necrosis.  Usually with fat necrosis this goes on to heal usually without many problems.

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

Smelly yellow discharge from breast reduction incisions

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AT 4 weeks it is very unusual to have a true breast infection without additional symptoms such as fever. IT is probably more likely that you are experiencing breast fat necrosis. In many instances this will stop on its own and in other circumstances it may require surgical treatment. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary infection

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.