What Are the Risks of a Breast Reduction Procedure?

It is not unusual for women with smaller breasts to be envious of their friends with larger breasts. The popularity of breast augmentation surgical procedures is almost certainly proof of this fact. However, those women with overly large breasts may consider their breasts more of a curse than a blessing. Such women may have difficulty finding clothing, bras, and swimsuits that fit properly. Even worse, they may develop skin rashes on the breasts, as well as suffer from back pain and difficulty breathing due to the weight of their breasts.

It is not unusual for many of these women to come to see Dr. Paul Pin for a consultation about possibly undergoing a breast reduction procedure. As with any surgery, there are certain risks and possible complications, which should not be taken lightly. It is imperative that patients understand precisely what those risks might be, as well as how to avoid them, in order to get the best possible results from their breast reduction procedure. Listed below are some of the more common risks associated with the procedure, as well as how to minimize them.

Excessive Bleeding

Excessive bleeding can occur either during or after the actual surgery itself. Bleeding can lead to longer healing times, greater risk for infection, and possible excessive scarring. However, there are steps that patients can take prior to surgery to reduce this risk. Alcohol is a known blood thinner, as are certain medications such as Plavix or warfarin. Dr. Pin advises patients to stop any alcohol intake starting at least two to three weeks prior to surgery, lasting until four to six weeks afterward. He also recommends that patients taking blood thinners discuss their upcoming surgery with their primary care doctors.

Wound Infection

Any time that the skin is cut open, there will be a risk of infection. Breast reduction surgery is no exception to this. Infections may delay wound healing and lead to excessive scarring. Dr. Pin will provide patients with a prescription for antibiotics that may be started prior to surgery. Following surgery, the breasts will be bound with dressings. Wash hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap prior to changing these dressings, and do not directly touch the incisions until they have fully healed over.

Excessive Scarring

Just as with the risk for infection, there is also a risk for scarring any time the body is incised. In the case of a breast reduction procedure, this can be particularly difficult, as the incision pattern needed to reduce the size of the breasts will leave noticeable scars, even under the best of conditions. However, patients can reduce the amount and thickness of scarring by keeping incisions clean and dry during the first few weeks after surgery. Once the incisions are healed over, patients can apply silicone sheeting and vitamin E oil. While scars may still remain a different color from the surrounding skin, sheeting and vitamin E oil can flatten the scars out, thus reducing their appearance.

Patients who undergo a breast reduction procedure are not just hoping to improve their features. They are also seeking relief from medical problems brought about by the size and weight of overly large breasts. Therefore, such patients have a great investment in a positive outcome from the procedure. Understanding the surgical risks and how to minimize them will greatly improve the odds of that positive outcome.