What are the Medical Risks and Complications with Breast Reduction Surgery?

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Breast reduction surgery is a complicated procedure and as a result of this comes with risks and complications. Medical complications can arise in any surgery and there risk increases with surgeries that are more complex.

Reactions to General Anaesthetic

A general anaesthetic is used during breast reduction surgery so that you do not feel any pain. General anaesthetic can lead to complications if you have an allergic reaction to it. This can cause you to develop problems breathing, an abnormal heart rate, and other symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. A reaction to general anaesthetic can be life threatening. Although such reactions are rare, you should be honest with your surgeon about any allergies that you have.

Blood Loss during and after Surgery

Excessive blood loss during breast reduction surgery is rare, as you will be given medication to seal the blood vessels and limit the bleeding. However, should you begin to lose too much blood you will be putting extra pressure on your body and it may not be possible to continue with the treatment.

Blood loss after breast reduction surgery is also rare; however, it can be a serious complication if not treated straight away. If you notice abnormal amounts of blood after your surgery, you should seek medical attention immediately as you may require blood transfusions.

Your surgeon will advise you to stop taking certain medications for some time before your surgery. It is important that you follow this advice and that you are honest about the medications that you are taking. Medications such as anti- coagulants, certain vitamin supplements, and aspirin can greatly increase your chances of excessive blood loss during or after breast reduction surgery.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Breast reduction surgery is a fairly long surgery that can lead to you developing a deep vein thrombosis due to the time spent inactive. This can be life- threatening if part of the clot breaks off and enters your lungs leading to cardiac arrest. This normally happens within three days to three weeks of surgery. If you notice chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness at any time after surgery you should seek medical aid immediately.

If you have had a deep vein thrombosis in the past, you should tell your surgeon about it, as it makes your surgery a high- risk surgery. This does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to have breast reduction surgery, but means that you may have to take precautions such as wearing compression stockings during surgery.

Fat or Tissue Necrosis

Breast reduction surgery has a risk of causing fat necrosis. This is where the fat in and around the breast dies because its blood supply has been cut off. This fat turns into a clear fluid with an orange tint and seeps through the incision. If you believe that you have fat necrosis, you should seek immediate medical help. Fat necrosis can spread to the surrounding tissue and may lead to a fatal infection or gangrene.

Fat and tissue necrosis is very rare in breast reduction surgery. You may be told to stop smoking before your operation and should do so as smoking increases you risk of developing necrosis. Other things such as circulatory problems, diabetes, and failure to heal properly can also increase the risk of necrosis. You should be honest with your surgeon about your medical history as they will be able to prepare you for possible complications that may arise as a result of it.


All surgery carries a risk of infection. Although it is rare because of the awareness of hygiene within most surgeries infection can still develop and can be life- threatening. If your breasts become infected after surgery, you will notice symptoms within days of leaving hospital. These symptoms include redness, abnormal swelling or discharge, an abnormal smell, extreme tenderness or pain, heat in the area, and a fever.

You will be told to wash using anti- bacterial soap before and after your surgery and should do so to help to decrease your risk of developing an infection. You should also ensure that you have your surgery in a clean and hygienic hospital and chose an experienced and reputable surgeon. Should an infection develop you should seek medical help immediately.

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