All forms of surgery involve some degree of risk including:
• Adverse reaction to the anaesthetic
• Excessive bleeding
• Blood clotting
Complications specific to breast reduction surgery can include:
Permanent scarring – caused by the commonly used ‘anchor’ technique, which leaves three separate scars:
1 Around the nipple
2 From the nipple to the crease below the breast (most significant scar)
3 From the breast bone to the armpit along the crease below the breast
Uneven shape - breasts will change shape after reduction surgery, sometimes leading to looking slightly lopsided or lumpy with uneven nipples.
Wound healing problems – are commonafter breast reduction surgery, particularly after use of the anchor procedure where the vertical and horizontal scars meet.Most problems are minor and can be simply managed and treated. More severe wound complications, such as infection, skin loss and wound separation, may take longer to heal.Some excess skin left around the scars may need to be surgically removed after a few months.
Loss of nipple sensation – can occur and the nipples may also lose their ability to become erect because the nerve supply to the nipple was damaged during surgery.
A disrupted blood supply very rarely causes a nipple to die and detach but is more likely to occur in heavy smokers or those who suffer from poor circulation.
Inability to breastfeed – may be the result of an operation involving the separation of the nipples from the milk ducts.
Haematoma – generally occurs within the first 24 hours after the operation when there is bleeding inside the breast tissue, which becomes swollen and painful. Another operation may be needed to drain the blood and stop the bleeding.