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Breast Lift Complications & Risks

Medical Surgery Complications

As with any surgery, undergoing mastopexy involves possible medical complications. Aside from the potential dangers common to any complicated surgery (like experiencing anaesthetic side effects or allergic reactions to the use of certain medications), other risks include the following:

Loss of Sensitivity Of The Breasts

Many patients experience a temporary loss in breast sensitivity after mastopexy. This is the result of nerve endings being cut during the operation. Cut nerve endings require time (often several months) to regenerate and for normal sensation to return. In some cases, the procedure can lead to a permanent loss of sensation in the breasts and/or areola area.

Scarring Irregularities

Scars are left behind after any incision is made on the body, but are usually not problematic. Breast lifts can cause hypertrophic (red, raised and lumpy) scarring, keloids (tissue overgrowth that extends past the incisions made during surgery) or the development of inner scar tissue. Patients who smoke or have a medical history of abnormal scarring are at greater risk for developing more apparent breast lift scars. Scar gels and silicone gel sheeting can help minimize scarring.

It’s important to remember that scarring looks worse before it begins to fade.

Wound Separation (Dehiscence)

Some patients, especially smokers and diabetics, may experience a separation of the operating wound edges. If wound separation does occur, patients must take care to keep the area as clean as possible and contact Edelstein Cosmetic. Though revision surgery isn’t usually required to treat the problem, women who experience wound separation will take longer to completely recover from their mastopexy.

Breast Skin Or Nipple Loss

Due to effects on the blood circulation during a breast lift, there is a risk that part of the breast skin, or the nipple, could die (ie turn black). Fortunately, Dr. Edelstein has never had this occur. It is a much higher risk, however, in diabetics and smokers, and for this reason our surgeons do not perform mastopexy surgery on these patients.

Breast Asymmetry

All women have some level of asymmetry naturally. However, if the asymmetry is causing distress, we will work to correct it during the procedure for a more balanced result.

Blood Loss

Bleeding that fails to stop on its own requires immediate medical attention. Although not common, excessive blood loss may require a blood transfusion. In order to reduce the risk of post-operative bleeding, patients are instructed to avoid the use of anti-coagulant medications and supplements like vitamin E, garlic tablets and aspirin.


A hematoma is caused by clotted blood collecting in a body cavity. It can lead to swelling, pain, the development of scar tissue, infections and other complications. Patients would know a hematoma has developed because one breast would become much bigger than the other (like 2-3 times bigger!), and would become very painful. If these changes do occur they should seek immediate medical attention.

Fat Necrosis

When fat lacks a proper supply of blood it becomes necrotic (perishes). Affected tissue typically turns orange and begins to weep. Since the problem can spread and gradually cause major infections, patients must seek immediate treatment to remove the necrotic tissue. Breast tissue necrosis is very rare. Smokers, women who suffer from diabetes or circulatory problems and those who have undergone radioactive/chemotherapy treatment are at an increased risk of developing this condition.


If an infection does develop, its symptoms usually become apparent within three days following surgery. Warning signs of an infection include severe swelling, redness, significant pain that shows no sign of improvement, discharge, a foul smell, a fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher and intense heat stemming from the operating area.

General Dissatisfaction With Surgical Results Of Mastopexy

Patients must have realistic expectations of their breast lift. The appearance of scars and results that don’t meet personal goals may cause some women to feel unhappy with their mastopexy. Knowing what to expect will help patients have a realistic outcome.

Consult With Us

Before undergoing any Plastic Surgery Canada procedure, consult an experienced and reputable Plastic Surgeon. Book your consultation at our plastic surgery clinic in Toronto by calling (416) 256-4194 or by clicking here.

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    Before undergoing any Plastic Surgery procedure, consult an experienced and reputable Plastic Surgeon.
    Book your consultation at our plastic surgery clinic in Toronto by calling (416) 256-5614 or by filling in this quick form.

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