What Are the Potential Risks if Too Much Tissue Has Been Removed from Breast Reduction?

Doctor Answers 6

Too small after breast reduction

There are limits to the amount of breast tissue that can be removed during a breast reduction. If too much tissue is removed, it may compromise the blood suppy to one or both of your nipples. Also, if you are too small and don't like the size, you will likely need breast implants to correct this.  I hope this helps. Best of luck.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Issues of over-reducing in a breast reduction

There are both aesthetic and functional risks related to over-resection of breast tissue in a breast reduction. If more than the desired amount of breast tissue was removed resulting in a breast size that is significantly smaller than desired the patient desired, this is not ideal (though subsequent implant placement can correct this to some extent). This can also have a negative impact on the overall breast shape.

If too much tissue is removed from a large breast, there is a substantial risk of some of the remaining tissues not receiving an adequate blood supply. This can result in localized loss of skin, breast tissue and even the nipple-areola complex (NAC). There can also be far greater loss or total loss of sensation of the NAC and skin.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Risks of removing too much tissue in breast reduction

I do not know of any medical risks of remvoing too much tissue. Really it becomes a cosmetic issue with leaving someone too small may not give the patient the desired result or shape.

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

CAN "Too Much Tissue" be Removed with a Breast Reduction?

Large Breasts can be made smaller for both COSMETIC and FUNCTIONAL reasons.

IF your breasts are a bit larger and saggier than you would like them and you would prefer smaller but perkier breasts, your Plastic surgeon can reduce a variable amount of breast tissue from each breast to make them more alike, reduce their size and make them perkier. As a cosmetic procedure you will pay for this out of your pocket.

When an insurance company reviews your complaints of breast, shoulder and back pains which are NOT relieved by non-surgical means and approves a (FUNCTIONAL) breast reduction, it would often stipulate just how much breast tissue must be removed from each breast (usually at least 500 gram). If this amount is not removed, it is within its rights to refuse paying the surgeon, anesthesiologist and facility for your surgery, making you fully liable for all these charges.

The risk of going from a full C to a full A comes when a woman whi should pay out of pocket for a cosmetic breast reduction goes the route of having it done through insurance. Done this way, the surgeon must remove the base amount demanded by the insurance.

It is best to discuss YOUR specific case with your surgeon and see which would be the best way to go especially if you are a smaller woman.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Breast Reduction and Too Much Tissue Removed?

Thank you for the question.

If  too much breast tissue is removed during breast reduction surgery there may be problems related to blood flow to the remaining tissue and/or resulting breast size concerns.

The concern with the amount of tissue removed 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. If the pedicle is made too small (in the effort to reduce the breasts as much as possible)  then patient will likely have problems with tissue survival.  Doing the procedure in more than one stage allows the tissues to  acclimate to the surgically decreased blood flow before  further tissue removal (and potentially further decreased blood flow)  occurs ( with the 2nd stage operation).

The other concern with overly aggressive breast reduction surgery is patient dissatisfaction  afterwards.  It is not unusual for patients who have lived with very large breasts to want to have as much as possible removed. Care must be taken to be judicious in this removal to avoid an outcome where the breasts  are too small in relation (proportionately) to the patient's other body parts.  Again, it is not uncommon, for patients'  breasts to become smaller ( after the breast reduction procedure) with time and/or weight loss-  breast augmentation may become necessary to achieve the patient size goals.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Too much removed with a breast reduction.

I've seen this issue a couple of times when too much tissue was removed in order to satisfy an insurance coverage requirement.  Bummer, huh?  This is such a mistake on the part of the patient and the doctor.  A good result with breasts that are the right size for the patient is so much more important than insurance coverage.

Options for over reduced breasts include fat transfer or breast augmentation.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 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.