Risks Associated with Breast Reduction Surgery

Breast surgery, when performed by a highly trained and experienced surgeon like Dr. Golshani, is very safe. However, it’s important to understand that all surgeries come with potential complications. In the rare case that complications do occur with breast surgery, they are usually minor and most patients are very satisfied with the outcome. When breast reduction complications happen, they can generally be managed without hospitalization or further surgery. Most complications involve an extension of the recovery period rather than any permanent effect on your final result.

Dr. Golshani and his highly qualified medical team will use their expertise and knowledge to avoid complications or solve the problem as quickly as possible. If complications do arise, it will be important to have your full cooperation to resolve the problem as we will function as a team. Therefore, before you decide to have surgery, you should familiarize yourself and fully understand the risks and potential complications associated with breast reduction surgery.

Hematoma & Excessive Bleeding

Bleeding after breast reduction surgery is a rare event. If it does occur, it may be because of a leaking blood vessel or an undiagnosed bleeding disorder. Before surgery even begins, a full workup including blood tests will be performed to prevent such problems. Some patients may develop a very small collection of blood under the skin and inside the breast called a Hematoma. This can result in swelling and pain but they are usually absorbed by the body and do not require medical treatment. However, larger hematomas, which are very rare in occurrence, may require aspiration, drainage, or even surgical removal to achieve the best result.

Inflammation & Infection

If a surgical incision becomes increasingly painful, red, and inflamed, it may be infected. Sometimes a skin infection occurs, and this can generally be treated with an antibiotic ointment. In the very rare case that you develop a deeper infection, oral antibiotics are usually enough to treat it. Finally, if someone’s incision becomes infected and develops an abscess (infected pus) or fat necrosis (dead tissue), we generally treat this with drainage.

Wound Separate or Delayed Healing

While breast reductions scars usually heal well, there is the possibility that your wound may heal more slowly than normal, or may separate. Small wound separations are usually well-managed by following wound care instructions and changing your dressing. However, larger wound separations may need additional surgical repair.

Thick, Wide, or Depressed Scarring

Breast reductions scars usually fade significantly within the first year. However, a small number of patients may develop thicker scars, or hypertrophic scars. These scars are typically red, firm and raised, but do not extend past the boundaries of the original surgery area. There is another type of scar called a keloid, which is also raised and thick, but can extend past the original scar area. These scars are generally related to a patient’s genetic predisposition. Injections of steroids, such as kenalog injections, into the scars, placement of silicone gel sheeting or liquid silicone gel applications onto the scars, or further surgery to correct the scars is occasionally necessary. Over-the counter medications, including Mederma® and Scarguard®, are also available for conservative scar management. It is important to note that some areas on the body and some people scar more than others. Therefore, based on your own history of scarring, you may know what to expect.

Deeper Injuries

There is a small chance that nerves, blood vessels, or muscles could be damaged during a breast reduction surgery. Because of Dr. Golshani’s years of experience and knowledge, as well as his strict adherence to excellent surgical technique, the chance of this type of injury is very low.

Nipple Loss

A rare event which must be discussed with all prospective patients prior to surgery, nipple loss is avoided by ensuring excellent blood supply to the nipple during surgery.

Though many medical studies have shown that the majority of breast reduction patients are pleased with their results, there are some patients who may be dissatisfied with their results. These patients are usually more concerned with the cosmetic aspects of the surgery rather than the relief of symptoms. Also, they usually have unrealistic expectations and do not take the time to fully educate themselves prior to surgery. Mild asymmetries of size, shape or nipple position are normal but complications including fat necrosis or poor healing may result in a major discrepancy. Though most breast reduction patients can accept minimal differences, larger differences, though rare, may require revisional surgery.

During your consultation, Dr. Golshani will make sure to thoroughly answer all your questions about rare breast reduction complications.

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