Breast Surgery Risks and Complications

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Lone Tree, Colorado & Nationwide

During your consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons, we can immediately help determine whether or not you are a candidate for breast reconstruction. Furthermore, we can help provide recommendations as to the best suited option we offer for your situation.

No matter your circumstances, we want to meet with you and discuss your options. There is no optimal age for patients considering breast reconstruction, and we will talk about your overall health during your initial consultation. We will work closely with your oncologist and general surgeon if you are in the treatment process to develop a timeline that works for you. If you had a mastectomy some time ago and are looking for reconstruction (delayed reconstruction), we look forward to developing a plan with you.

There are certain risk factors that put each patient at a higher risk for a successful breast reconstruction. Certainly, any of these will not necessarily disqualify a patient from surgery, but other options may need to be discussed as a result of any of these issues. These will be reviewed during your consultation. Be sure to give the trusted Drs. Christopher & Jeremy Williams a call today at 303-706-1100 for your consultation!

Risk Factors for Breast Reconstruction

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Previous radiation in the chest region
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Previous procedures in donor sites (liposuction, surgical scars)
  • Significant heart disease or pulmonary problems
  • Multiple significant medical issues

During this consultation and physical health evaluation, we will also discuss the risks and complications of each procedure, as there are with any procedure. We want you to be well-informed and aware as you make each decision along the way.

Potential Complications

Breast reconstruction surgery involves possible risks, including:

  • Loss of flap
  • Abdominal wall hernia
  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Delayed healing
  • Fat necrosis
  • Firmness from internal scarring
  • Infection
  • Pulmonary complications
  • Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
  • Scarring
  • Seroma requiring draining
  • Unsatisfactory results
  • Weakness in abdominal muscle function
  • Effects of anesthesia

Pain: If you experience severe pain not relieved by pain medicine, notify your surgeon immediately. Some discomfort is expected after surgery and you will receive a prescription for pain medication. The intensity and duration of pain after breast reconstruction will vary among women.

Dissatisfaction with cosmetic results: We strive to attain the aesthetic results you desire. Some women are not entirely satisfied with their results due to mild wrinkling, asymmetry, incorrect size, unanticipated shape, scar deformity, hypertrophic (irregular, raised scar) scarring, or “sloshing”. Careful surgical planning and technique can minimize but not always prevent such results. Follow-up revision surgeries should be expected to achieve optimal results.

Infection: A small number of women develop an infection. This typically can occur several days to several weeks after the procedure.

Hematoma and seroma: A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin, and a seroma is a collection of the watery portion of the blood under the skin. Hematomas or seromas typically develop within the first few days after surgery. However, they may occur at any time after injury to the breast. The body can reabsorb small hematomas or seromas and often patients will be unaware or asymptomatic of these smaller fluid collections. Larger ones require the placement of surgical drains for proper healing. A small scar can develop at the surgical drain site.

Breast sensation: Feelings in the breast can decrease after breast reconstruction. People report a range of feelings, from intense sensitivity to complete numbness in the breast. These changes are usually temporary, but can be permanent and may affect your sexual response. These changes vary widely between patients, but in general it can be expected that overall sensation to the breast region will be decreased after the mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

Delayed wound healing or wound dehiscence: In some instances, the incision site takes longer to heal than normal. Cigarette smoking, poor nutritional status and a compromised immune system can all cause delayed wound healing or wound separation.

Speak With Dr. Williams About The Risks & Complications Of Breast Surgery!

Certainly, no matter the case, we want to see you and discuss your unique situation. To schedule a confidential consultation, please call 303-706-1100 or schedule your appointment with us online. We look forward to meeting you!

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Tuesday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
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