Risks of Breast Reduction Surgery (Reduction Mammoplasty)


What are the RISKS of having Reduction Mammoplasty (Breast Reduction) Surgery?

All surgery has risks and this includes breast reduction surgery. Some potential complication risks are readily treated and others are more serious, but fortunately these occur less frequently.

  • You need to fully consider your surgery risks before you proceed with your procedure.
  • Learn what you CAN do to help minimise potentially preventable risks, such as never smoking and following the post-op advice of your Plastic Surgeon.


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Risks of Reduction Mammoplasty (Breast Reduction Risks)

Possible RISKS from Breast Reduction Surgery include:

Infection – If you get an infection following surgery, your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and monitor your progress closely.

Scars – All surgery leaves scars. Some patients scar more readily than others. To help minimise scarring, you may be recommended to see our Coco Ruby Dermal Clinicians.

Breast Asymmetry – Most women will naturally have some degree of unevenness to their breasts. This will be taken into account prior to the surgery. However, it should be noted that asymmetry may be visible after surgery as well.

Delayed Wound Healing – Delayed wound healing will sometimes occur in patients who are overweight or smokers, have poor nutritional intake or develop an infection. Your surgeon and nurse coordinator will manage your healing process and take necessary steps if delayed wound healing occurs.

Nipple Sensitivity –  Most patients find they lose nipple sensation temporarily after surgery. However, this generally returns to normal after about six months for many patients. Permanent loss of nipple sensation can occur, but this is somewhat rare.

Breastfeeding – Your ability to breastfeed may be affected after a breast reduction surgery as it may be with other forms or types of breast procedures. However, many women have been successful with breastfeeding after surgery, and even non-surgery patients may be unable to breastfeed. Ask your Surgeon for details.

Serious Surgery RISKS but which occur less frequently include:

Bleeding (Haematoma) – After surgery, a collection of blood sometimes pools at the surgical site in the treated breast area(s). If a haematoma occurs, you may require a return visit to the operating theatre for surgery to treat or remove the haematoma.

General Anaesthesia – You will be provided with the details of your anaesthetist prior to surgery in order to discuss any specific concerns you may have. Most healthy patients respond well to general anaesthesia and modern anaesthetics are usually well-tolerated; but allergic reactions are possible in a small percentage of surgery patients.

Nipple Loss/NecrosisNecrosis essentially means tissue decay. Necrosis is a very rare complication that can affect all or part of your nipple. Necrosis has been found to occur more frequently in smokers.

Allergies – If you have any allergies, be SURE you let your Surgeon, hospital care team and nursing team know about your allergies. If you have allergies to the following: antibiotics, surgical tape, suture materials, glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents, discuss these with your surgeon.

Keloid Scars or Large Scars – All surgery leaves scars, as mentioned above. We can help reduce scar visibility for many patients, but there is variability between patients.  Some patients, however, are prone to keloid scars and more significant, uneven, zigzag or more visible scars. Be sure you understand that SCAR formation after breast surgery VARIES significantly from patient to patient. Read the article on silicon strips and scar healing.

Other risks may also apply and some patients may have elevated risks or unexpected reactions to surgery.

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cosmetic surgery for women and men Downloadable guides

Other good articles on breast reduction you may like:

Is there such a thing as the scar-less or no-scar breast reduction?

The truth about the so-called “no-scar” reduction

General Surgery Risks page.

Scientific References, Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and research publications about RISKS of having breast reduction procedures:

Surgery Risks: Breast Reduction and Smoking

Authors: Schumacher, Hagen H. A. MD, MRCSEd

doi: 10.1097/01.sap.0000146878.14207.9
Accessed online on: 01/04/2019.

Complications Following Reduction Mammaplasty: A Review of 3538 Cases From the 2005–2010 NSQIP Data Sets 

Authors: John P. Fischer, MD (Penn Medicine), Emily C. Cleveland, BA Eric K. Shang, MDJonas A. Nelson, MD, Joseph M. Serletti, MD, Volume 34, Issue 1, Published: January 2014.  Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 34, Issue 1, 1 January 2014, Pages 66-73, https://doi.org/10.1177/1090820X13515676. Accessed online: 01/04/2019
Want to meet with one of our trusted Plastic Surgeons? Phone 1300 264 811 today.

Last updated: 28/04/2022
Author profile image
Dr Craig Rubinstein - MBBS, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Craig Rubinstein MBBS, FRACS (Plast), a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, is one of Australia's most respected Melbourne Surgeons for Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift (Mastopexy), Breast Reduction surgery and Abdominoplasty procedures. Using advanced surgical techniques to gain better body contouring and natural-looking surgical results, Dr Rubinstein is highly regarded by peers and patients for best-practice Clinic Patient-care and patient education strategies. He published a chapter on corrective surgery for Breast Asymmetry. Qualifications/Training Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) The Australian Medical Association (AMA) American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) Founder: Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery previously Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men Bio Page: https://cocorubyplasticsurgery.com.au/dr-craig-rubinstein-plastic-surgeon/

Coco Ruby’s Specialist Plastic and ENT Surgeons

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic Surgeons are dedicated to best practice patient care and education, customising Breast Enlargement Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

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What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Phone 1300 264 811, Email us: enquiries@cocoruby.com.au or Book a FREE 15-minute Phone Chat with our Patient Liaison Manager or a Virtual Consultation with a Surgeon.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.