What are Breast Lift Risks and Complications?
Most of the time, cosmetic surgery procedures go smoothly, the patient recovers fully, and everything works out perfectly. However, despite all the precautions clinics and surgical staff take to prevent complications, they can still occur on rare occasions. So as with any surgery, a breast lift comes with certain risks. It's also possible to develop complications after surgery. Before you have any surgical procedure, it's important to educate yourself about these potential risks.
If, after reading this page, you still have questions, we invite you to schedule a consultation, and we'll be happy to talk with you about the procedure, and provide you with more information.
Breast Lift Risks and Complications: Medical
At TCC, your safety is our highest priority. We take every precaution possible to ensure our state-of-the-art facility not only makes you feel comfortable, but assures you that your procedure is being performed in a sterile and technologically advanced environment by experienced staff.
However, complications may still arise either during or after any kind of surgery. Medical breast lift risks and complications include, but are not limited to:
Skin needs a constant blood flow in order to receive oxygen and remain healthy. Necrosis is the death of tissue, caused by the lack of oxygen and health-giving blood. During a breast lift, excess skin is detached from the muscle layer in order to be removed so your breasts can be lifted. This can sometimes interrupt blood flow, which may cause the skin near the incision site to die. If you smoke, you're more susceptible to risk of necrosis due to poor oxygen supply in your blood to be begin with.
The signs of necrosis are a bluish tinge to the skin, which progresses to black with some blistering and a foul odor. Necrosis is a very rare complication, but if you notice any of these warning signs, contact us immediately.
As with any invasive surgical procedure, a breast lift carries a risk of infection, which is caused by bacteria or microorganisms entering the surgical site through the incisions. If infection occurs, symptoms will most often appear within a few days of the procedure.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to: pain, itching, redness, swelling, oozing discharge, and the site being hot to the touch. Infections are particularly difficult to treat if a breast implant is present, which would be the case if you've had a breast lift with implants. In severe cases where antibiotics are ineffective at eradicating the infection, the breast implant may have to be removed and replaced at a later date with a breast augmentation surgery. This is a rare occurrence.
Also known as a blood clot, a hematoma occurs when blood collects near the surgical site. The pooling blood causes swelling, pain, and discomfort. Bruising is also a common sign of a hematoma, and can appear blue, purple or black in color. Small hematomas may be absorbed by the body, but a severe hematoma will often require medical attention.
While hematomas are more likely to occur after surgery, it's important to know that they can also occur any time there is an injury to your breast. If you notice excessive swelling, pain, or bruising on or around your breasts, please contact us immediately.
Somewhat like a hematoma, a seroma is a buildup of fluid that can occur after surgery. It usually appears as a small bump in the surgical area. A seroma occurs when damaged blood and lymphatic vessels expel plasma, the clear, yellowish fluid portion of blood. As with hematomas, small seromas can be absorbed back into the body as your body heals itself. However, larger seromas can sometimes become infected, and require medical attention.
Reaction to Anesthesia
During any surgery that requires the use of general anesthesia, there are inherent risks of respiratory or cardiac arrest. Although this is rare, your condition will be monitored by an anesthesiologist the entire time you are under anesthesia to ensure your safety and health.
You may also experience an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. If this occurs, your surgeon may prescribe medication, such as something to alleviate nausea and vomiting.
In order to help prevent these anesthesia reactions, it's important that you disclose your entire medical history, including allergies, prior to surgery.
Breast Pain and Change in Sensation
Pain in the areola, nipple or breast is common for the first few weeks following a breast lift. However, prolonged and/or intense pain may be indicative of infection or other complications, and you should see your doctor immediately.
You may also experience an increase or decrease of sensation in the areola or breast area following a breast lift. This change may be temporary or permanent. In the case of permanent sensation change, this may be due to nerve damage, and may ultimately affect comfort during nursing and sexual activity.
Inability to Breastfeed
To perform a breast lift, your surgeon will need to make incisions around your areolas. Great care will be taken to preserve the milk ducts in this region, however, this is sometimes not possible. It's already a good idea to postpone this surgery if you plan to become pregnant in the future as it may affect your breast lift results. But it's especially important to put it off if you want to breastfeed.
After your breast lift, if you notice any odd symptoms—listed here or not—do not hesitate to contact us immediately.
Breast Lift Risks and Complications: Aesthetic
Some problems that may arise are not life-threatening, and don't require medical attention, but affect the cosmetic results of your breast lift. Aesthetic breast lift risks and complications include, but are not limited to:
It's impossible to have surgery during which the skin is cut, and not end up with some type of scar. The severity of the scar depends on numerous factors, including how you care for yourself after surgery. If you are concerned about breast lift scars, please discuss this with your surgeon prior to the procedure.
Your nipples will be repositioned during your breast lift. This means some scar tissue will develop in and under them, which can sometimes pull the nipple inward as it tightens and hardens. This is a rare occurrence, and can be corrected with a surgical procedure.
Bottoming OutThis occurs when breast tissue is displaced downwards, which rotates the nipple to face upward. It does not happen often, and can be repaired by a surgical procedure.