Most patients will experience few, if any complications but it is important to be aware of possible problems.
Bleeding: Bleeding may occur after surgery (usually within 12 hours of the operation). A very small amount of bleeding is not uncommon but anything more than this may mean that you need another short operation to stop the bleeding.
Infection: You may be given antibiotics at the time of surgery as a precaution against infection. If the wound becomes infected, you may require a further course of antibiotics. If an abscess develops in the breast, you may require a second short operation to drain it.
Failure of blood supply to nipple: Rarely, problems arise with the blood supply to the nipple which could be lost if this occurred. Usually, it would be possible to have further surgery to reconstruct the nipple.
Asymmetry (unequal size and shape): The breasts may not be exactly symmetrical following the procedure. One may be slightly larger than the other and the nipples may be at slightly different heights. As time passes, the breasts may change shape, tending to lie lower on the chest wall. This happens as part of the normal ageing process.
Nipple sensitivity: The nipple sensitivity may be affected. It can become less sensitive or, very rarely more sensitive.
Delayed wound healing: Breasts have very little natural support and the wounds are under tension following this surgery. Occasionally, the wounds may be slow to heal.
Scars: All scars become red and raised initially and then begin to settle after a 12-month period. Occasionally, the scars can become red and raised permanently and can itch. These are known as hypertrophic or keloid scars and are difficult to treat. The scars may also stretch. However, once the skin has healed, massage of the scars with non-perfumed moisturising cream for ten minutes, four times a day, will help the scars to fade.
Fat necrosis: Occasionally, you may develop small lumps or nodules within the remaining breast tissue. This happens when the blood supply to a small area of fat is reduced and the fat breaks down into either a fluid collection or scar tissue. It is not harmful to you but all breast lumps should be reported to your doctor to rule out any more serious cause.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnancy after this surgery may alter the shape and size of the breasts. You may be advised to consider waiting to have this procedure done until you think that your family is complete. It is possible that this procedure would affect your ability to breastfeed: you will need to discuss this with your surgeon.
If you require any further information or advice, please contact any of the following:
Plastic Surgery Breast Nurse RVI
(Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm)
Telephone: (0191) 282 0194
Sister or Nurse in Charge – Plastic Surgery Outpatient Department RVI
(Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm)
Telephone: (0191) 282 4228
Sister or Nurse in Charge – Ward 47 RVI
(at any time)
Telephone: (0191) 282 5647