Is breast reduction surgery safe?

Is breast reduction surgery safe?

Breast reduction surgery is a surgical option for women looking to alter their breasts permanently. Breasts are made smaller, resulting in them being less heavy and often more lifted. It can also be used to make breasts more symmetrical if required.

There are a number of cosmetic and medical reasons why a person may choose to undergo breast reduction surgery and different ways the process is carried out. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved so here we are going to break down whether breast reduction surgery is safe to undergo and what some of the risks may be - to help you make an informed decision about whether to have surgery.

What’s involved?

There are a number of different surgical procedures that can be carried out in order to reduce the size and weight of the breasts and your surgeon will discuss these with you before choosing the most appropriate option. All of the procedures involve removing excess fat and skin before re-shaping the breasts and re-positioning the nipples. 

 Depending on the procedure, this can result in up to three scars including around the areola. You may also have some scarring vertically from the nipple to the crease below the breast or along the underside of the breast. However, these often heal very well and become less noticeable and are largely hidden when wearing underwear or swimwear.

The risks involved

All surgical procedures involve some risks. However, for women with very large breasts who experience a lot of pain as a result, or for women who are incredibly unhappy with their appearance, the benefits can outweigh these risks.

At Benenden Hospital, as with many other hospitals across the country, we work hard to ensure that we mitigate risks as much as possible - offering the safest surgical procedures we can. However, there are some things to consider if you’re thinking about undergoing breast reduction surgery.

Naturally, a significant reduction in size can alter the shape and look of your breasts as well as the scarring that occurs following the procedure. Some patients experience a loss in nipple sensation following surgery or a change in the way that their nipples feel.

 You should also take into account that losing or putting on weight can cause breasts to change in size and shape in the years after you have had the surgery, so the way they appear can be affected. Breasts naturally tend to droop over time and this can still occur following reduction surgery.

Some women also often wait until after they no longer wish to have any more children before deciding whether to have breast reduction surgery. This is because breasts can get bigger naturally during pregnancy which can impact the overall appearance and cause changes. Breast reduction surgery may also mean that you are not able to breastfeed afterwards, so this is worth considering if you are planning on having more children.

For breast reduction surgery, patients are often required to stay in hospital for a night or two to be monitored. You may have drains inserted following surgery as well as dressings and bandages, which we look after whilst you are with us. If they are used, any drains are typically removed before you leave. While it is a surgical procedure, and resting afterwards is advised, most patients are up and mobile from day one. It is important to discuss your recovery with your surgeon as everyone heals differently but you can usually return to all normal activities within approximately six weeks.

The reasoning behind the decision

There are a number of reasons why people consider breast reduction surgery, all of which can make undergoing the procedure an easier decision to make.

If you have very large breasts, you may suffer from chronic back, neck and shoulder pain as a result. Skin irritation, or rashes and infections, can occur under the breasts and be difficult to manage, as well as being painful. As well as these physical conditions, there are also many psychological reasons for wanting to undergo breast reduction surgery. People with very large breasts can experience distress such as low self-esteem or depression. They may also feel unable to undertake activities they enjoy such as exercise or playing certain sports. They may also struggle to find clothes that fit them, or that are comfortable.

Breast reduction surgery can help to cancel out some of these issues, resulting in a permanent change to the body. While there are risks involved in all surgical procedures, breast reduction surgery is generally very safe and performed in accordance with all safety process and procedures. At Benenden Hospital, we pride ourselves on our quality of service and ensuring that each and every patient leaves us feeling happy. If you have any questions regarding breast reduction surgery, or wish to talk about the process in more detail, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialist team members for more information.

Published on 19 August 2019