If you have heavy breasts that not only interfere with your looks but cause immense back pain, having breast reduction surgery is a great option. It is one of the most successfully performed plastic surgeries around the world. Breast reduction can give you a more proportionate body, relieves strain on your back, shoulders, neck and can offer you a boost of confidence. This article can help you reduce your risks of breast reduction surgery.
While it is considered to be a fairly safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with any surgery. If you take your time in selecting the right facility and plastic surgeon, you reduce your chances of complications. However, it is good to be mindful of the risks that come with a particular procedure. Below we go through the potential risks and complications associated with Breast Reduction surgery and how some can be avoided.
Risks Associated with General Anaesthesia and Surgery
Breast reduction surgery is performed under general anaesthesia which is always accompanied by a certain degree of risk. Make sure that the operating facility you choose has an experienced specialist anaesthetic on board. This greatly minimizes the complications and gives you a comfortable experience. Some patients can experience pneumonia, clotting in the legs, allergic reaction, problems with awareness and in extreme cases problems with lung functioning.
Problems during the Operation
It is important to realise that breast reduction is a highly invasive procedure that comes with the risk of things going wrong during the procedure. Excessive bleeding and damage to the structures surrounding breasts can occur. Therefore, it is important to choose a facility that is well equipped to accommodate you during any part/any situation of the procedure.
With any surgery, comes the risk of infection. If anything goes wrong during the procedure, or you don’t adhere to pre and post-care instructions after the treatment, infections can occur. Infections are not only painful but can be life-threatening as well. Hence, you should take care of yourself and never skip any follow-up appointments or prescribed medications to minimize the risks.
Internal Collection of Fluid or Blood – Seroma or Hematoma
Some people experience swollen breasts immediately after breast reduction surgery. This is due to extensive fluid retention in the breasts. To counter this, surgeons recommend wearing a compression bra for several weeks after the surgery and adhere to the post-surgery instructions. Keep your head alleviated and sleep on your back at all times.
Some patients experience extreme scarring after the surgery. It could be due to a number of factors such as poor technique, problems with wound healing and not adhering to post-care instructions given by the surgeon. Any of these elements can lead to extreme breast scarring which requires a lot of patience and further procedures to get rid of.
Some patients experience constant pain after getting breast reduction surgery. This is mostly due to the surgeon’s fault and sometimes cannot be fixed. In some cases, revision surgery is recommended. This is possibly the worst of all risks as it alters the quality of your life.
PE – Blood Clotting
In some cases, blood clotting can occur. This is a serious threat to the health of a person and can be very alarming. It is a rare condition but can happen to people if they don’t pay close attention to the selection of their surgeon. Be sure you choose a breast reduction surgeon carefully and based on their successful surgery stories and experience. Invest your time, doing that and the rest will follow.
Potential Complications Specific to Breast Surgery
This is the worst fear for many women but it can occur if you don’t do your research properly. It is evident, that the size and shape of your boobs will change after the procedure. This alteration in your boobs will change the natural positioning of your nipples which can look unpleasant. In certain cases, nipples are detached and grafted to a new location. However, even if they are not grafted, the alteration in boob size can alter your nipple positioning as well.
In some cases, breasts can appear asymmetrical after the surgery. This problem will not occur if you choose a credible surgeon. In some cases, you might need to undergo revision surgery. Slight asymmetry is common. Even your natural breasts aren’t perfectly proportionate. A minor variation is common and very normal and does not require revision surgery.
Loss/Change in Sensation
Like any other breast procedure, there can be problems with sensation in the breast area. You might completely lose sensation at the incision site for a few weeks after the surgery. In some cases, the complete loss or minimized sensation is more permanent and irreversible. Make sure to choose a highly experienced surgeon for nipple grafting to avoid any complications.
Some patients experience sagging of breasts and lose firmness after getting breast reduction surgery. It is a fairly common concern for many patients. Always discuss this concern with your surgeon in advance. It allows the surgeon to adopt a technique that minimizes the risks of getting sagging breasts after the surgery.
Breast Feeding Challenges
If you plan to have kids and breastfeed after the surgery, it might be wise to hold off for a bit. The level of risk associated with the fact that you might be able to breastfeed or not is highly dependent on the technique used. Typically, a lot of milk ducts are eliminated during this method which can lead to problems with breastfeeding.
Keys to Minimizing Risks of Breast Reduction Surgery
Apart from listening to your surgeon’s instructions and communicating what you want effectively during the consultation, the next step is to take care of yourself after the surgery. The following tips will help
- Do NOT Smoke – for a long period before and after surgery
- Make sure that you arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery as you won’t be able to it yourself. If you can, arrange for someone to help you around the home as well.
- Make sure to get plenty of rest after the surgery.
- Take some time off from work and do not plan anything that requires strenuous activity.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet as it helps you to heal effectively.
- Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration and deal with plenty of problems.
- Eat plenty of fibre and include a stool softener to avoid constipation which can get quite painful.
- Avoid aspirin and other blood-thinning medications as they can lead to bruising.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption for a least a few weeks after the treatment.
Post Surgery Activity Level
- After a week, you can start to walk lightly around the house to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling. This greatly helps avoid blood clots and pneumonia.
- Refrain from excessive arm use for three weeks after the surgery.
- Refrain from any kind of vigorous activity for a period of 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery.
- Slowly and steadily increase your activity level week by week after consulting with your surgeon.
- In fact, you should avoid all upper body exercises for at least six weeks after the surgery.
- DO NOT lift anything heavy for the first six weeks after the surgery.
- Avoid all the housework (Yes, you read that right) do not do the dishes, laundry, yard work or cleaning for at least six weeks after the surgery.
- Avoid going in for work for the first four weeks after the surgery or as discussed with your surgeon.
- Do not swim until your surgeon gives you a go-ahead.
Post Surgery Incision Care
- Take a shower after 48 hours, once the drainage tubes are removed.
- Do not expose your scars to direct sunlight for at least six months after the procedure.
- Always wear sunblock. This is to avoid incisions getting darker.
- Do not take off steri-strips until they start to curl at the ends. Let the skin glue flake off naturally. Moreover, avoid picking it with your hands.
- Make sure that your incisions are clean and keep inspecting them for any signs of infection. If you experience any redness, irritation or pain, immediately contact your surgeon.
- Avoid taking baths or soaking in a hot tub.
- Wear compression bra for up to six weeks after the procedure. After that, you can start wearing a sports bra.
- Do not wear bras that have underwires or padding for a period of 3 months.
- If your breasts feel dry, apply a moisturizer several times a day and keep them hydrated.
Download Dr Briggs’ FREE Guide to Breast Reduction Surgery – Reduction Mammoplasty
When You Should Call for a Doctor after BR surgery?
Despite all the care, complications can occur. Fortunately, you should be able to spot these issues, if you;
- Experience any unusual swelling, bruising
- Believe that your breasts are looking different from each other
- Notice an increased redness at the treatment site
- Experience extreme pain which doesn’t go away even after you take painkillers
- Are experiencing an allergic reaction to any of the medications, given by your surgeon
- Are feeling nauseous, vomiting or experiencing a headache
- Have a temperature
- Experience any yellowish-green discharge from the incision site
- Experience loss of motion or feeling
- Or, If you simply don’t feel right
It’s important that you call your doctor IMMEDIATELY to avoid risks of breast reduction surgery.
Some Final Tips about selecting a Surgeon and minimising risks of breast reduction
Always do your research prior to settling on a surgeon. Search the internet, read reviews. Find some online groups in which people share their experiences about breast reduction surgery. Ask within your friends and family, your co-workers and your extended circle. You might find someone who has undergone the procedure.
Do not rely entirely on online resources for reviews. They might help immensely but nothing beats an actual, authentic review from a real-life person. Shortlist at least three surgeons and go for consultations with each of them.
Do not forget to visit their facility and make sure they are capable of handling any emergency situations. You’ll probably either like all three of them or none of them. If you like all of them, great. Trust your gut and choose the surgeon you feel most comfortable with. If you don’t like any of them, don’t settle and keep on researching.
Remember, the right surgeon will make all the difference when it comes to breast reduction surgery. So, invest most of the time in doing that and the surgeon will take care of the rest.
We hope you found this article insightful. If you have any more questions, leave them down in the comments section below and we will get back to you shortly. Good luck with your breast reduction surgery!
What to Expect During a Consultation with Dr Briggs?
One of the most important elements of any successful cosmetic surgery is your consultation with your surgeon. It is important to open up with your surgeon and ask as many questions as you can. Don’t hold back at this point. Until you are completely satisfied with the surgeon and all the answers, do not proceed with the surgery.
Dr Briggs will ask you about your; medical history, any surgeries you have had in the past, allergies to any particular substances and your general health. This step is critical to ensure that you are the right candidate for the surgery and any of the above-mentioned complications do not occur.
Dr Briggs will also discuss your goals associated with the surgery. Be open about the aesthetic you want and how having larger breasts make you feel. You can also show some reference photos of how you want your body to look.
Dr Briggs will measure your breasts and will give you a rough estimate of how much breast tissue will be removed and how your breasts will look in the end. Your surgeon will request that you get a mammogram and breast exam prior to the surgery.
The surgeon might dive deeper into your lifestyle and daily habits such as; whether you smoke or drink alcohol, how active you are and ask you to make necessary adjustments prior to the surgery. The surgeon might ask you to avoid certain medications along with a few other precautions to take prior to the surgery. Make sure you adhere to all the instructions given by your surgeon to avoid any risks and complications.
Dr Patrick Briggs FRCS (Plast) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is vastly experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.
With worldwide expertise, Dr Patrick Briggs is practising breast, face and body surgery for men and women in Melbourne, VIC.
Next Steps to find a top Plastic Surgeon
Want more information about your Procedure?
- For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
- Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday on 1300 264 811.
What to Bring to your Plastic Surgery Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
How to Book your Initial Consultation
- Dr Briggs Consultation fee is $300.
- A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential.
- To claim any medicare benefits or Health Insurance for reconstructive plastic surgery you will need a referral.
- Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.
*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general. For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation.