Risks associated with Breast Reduction or Breast Lift?

Tags: age 35-44 side effects risks breast cancer

Are there any specific risks associated with having a Breast Reduction or a Breast Lift? I had my second child last year, and I think I'm ready to start thinking about both. Does either procedure increase the likelihood of developing cysts or worse, breast cancer?


F, 40, Vermont

Hi there,

Risks of breast reduction and breast lift are pretty much the same, as the techniques are very similar. The main difference is that a reduction involves more tissue removal than a lift, so there may be slightly more risk of blood supply and nerve sensation compromise to the nipple, but the risk of permanent numbness or loss of nipple tissue is very low. Temporary numbness is not uncommon. The scars may fade better in some patients than others and darker skinned patients may be at greater risk for keloids/thick scars. Asymmetry, bottoming out of the tissue (resulting in a loss of some of the lifting effect) and low risks of infection and bleeding are the main considerations in addition to scars. 

There is a minimal risk of cyst formation in the SKIN of the breast due to a technique where we remove the outer layer of skin on the segment of breast tissue that we leave to keep the nipple alive and rarely, some skin fragments might remain on that "pedicle" of tissue, which could turn into small skin cysts (though I have not had that happen in my patients). The risk of fibrocystic change or cystic disease of the breast tissue is not increased to my knowledge by breast lifting or reduction. There is no evidence I know of linking these procedures to an increased risk of breast cancer beyond the general population risk.

More info can be found on our website: 


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