Breast reduction surgery is carried out under general anaesthesia with two nights booked in hospital. The risks of general anaesthesia include clots to the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolus), and we take precautions to minimise the risk of these. Other risks include chest infection, and the risk of a severe life-threatening complication is approximately 1 in 100,000.
The risks of breast reduction surgery include:
Bleeding – Which may require a return to the theatre (less than 1 in 20 patients).
Infection – Uncommon and usually settles with antibiotics.
Delayed wound healing – Not uncommon – especially small areas at the “T junction” of the scars.
Fat necrosis– This is a rare complication where some of the breast fat does not survive and can look like an infection. It can take several weeks to resolve and may result in a contour defect.
Changes in nipple sensitivity – This is an expected outcome – nipples can sometimes be more sensitive or less sensitive, and sensitivity will change over time.
Nipple loss – exceedingly rare complication – higher risk in smokers and very large reductions.
Breastfeeding – The possibility of reduced ability to breastfeed although several studies show women who have had breast reduction are just as likely to be able to breastfeed as those who have not had breast reduction surgery.
Asymmetry – Minor residual asymmetry is not uncommon – breasts are rarely perfectly symmetrical.
Scarring – Scars are permanent and may be unpredictable and red for some time – most women rarely complain about the nature of scars following breast reduction – scars usually stretch over time and fade in colour. You were shown several images highlighting the full extent of the scarring.
Under or over correction – Removing too much or too little breast tissue – final size can never be guaranteed – patients rarely ever mention that they feel too much tissue has been removed.
Revision – A small number of patients (less than 1 in 20) may require some minor revision which can usually be performed under local anaesthetic.