Long term consequences associated with reduction mammoplasty

Reduction mammoplasty is the medical term we use for breast reduction surgery. The procedure is made to reduce the volume of excessively large breasts and make them more proportionate to the other features of the patient’s body. It can deliver spectacular results in terms of the aesthetics of the body but also relief from the emotional and physical discomforts associated with overly large breasts. However, it is important for patients interested in undergoing breast reduction surgery that there are long-term consequences, just like any other surgical intervention, such as:

– There are permanent scars left behind

This is common for any type of surgery. The scars left after breast reduction surgery are around the areola, from the areola towards the inframammary fold, and in the fold under the breasts. The incisions can be more or less significant, depending on the amount of glandular tissue to be removed. Generally speaking, if the amount of glandular, skin and fat tissue to be eliminated is considerable, chances are the incisions will be lengthier.

It is important for patients to understand how the incisions will develop into scars and that it can take up to one year or even more until the scars are fully healed. During this time, the incisions go through different stages and sometimes they might even look worse than immediately after the surgery. This is normal, and the patient shouldn’t be worried about this. After the cicatrization process is complete, the scars should look like fine white lines that are difficult to notice when wearing lingerie or even a swimsuit.

– Difficulties or impossibility to breastfeed

This consequence is especially important for young patients. Because the procedure can be performed even on teenagers, it is important for the plastic surgeon and also the parents of the patient to take enough time to explain the issues associated with breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery. For patients who want to breastfeed, the recommendation is to schedule breast reduction when they know they are done having children. Breast reduction surgery can result in difficulties with breastfeeding or an impossibility to breastfeed because of the injury of the milk duct network that occurs when this procedure is performed.

– Changes in nipple sensitivity

Because the procedure entails an incision around the nipple and areola complex, and often requiring repositioning after the excess glandular tissue is eliminated, one long-term consequence of reduction mammoplasty could be changes in nipple sensitivity. The changes can be either numbness or increased sensitivity of the nipple. Sometimes these changes are temporary, but there are cases in which they become permanent. If the changes in sensitivity are still present three months after the procedure, chances are they are permanent.


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