Breast Reconstruction Risks And Safety

Breast Reconstruction Risks And Safety | Houston, TexasBreast reconstruction plastic surgery is a complex procedure which involves certain risks, similar to any other surgical procedure. The surgeon will explain the potential risks related to the procedure to the patient to allow her to make an enlightened choice during the pre-op consultation process.

Board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak provides breast reconstruction patients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding locations.


Short-Term Risks

Poor Reaction to Anesthesia

The surgeon will typically undertake breast reconstruction plastic surgery with the patient under general anesthesia.

Patients with circulation, heart, or nervous system related pre-existing health conditions are at a greater risk for the development of complications.

The patient should freely discuss her complete medical history with the surgeon so that appropriate decisions can be made. Patients usually experience side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision upon gaining consciousness.


There is an inherent risk of infection in every surgery, including breast reconstruction surgery. The surgeon will prescribe antibiotic medications for infection prevention or treatment. In case there is a persistent infection after the reconstruction procedure, the patient should promptly reach out to her surgeon.

Excessive redness or color changes around the breast incision, discharge of fluid or pus from the area of the surgery, or a high fever are some signs of infection following this surgery. The risk of infection can be reduced by maintaining a sterile environment.


The patient may experience an increased risk of bleeding during or after the reconstruction procedure if she is presently taking blood thinners or other medications that can affect blood clotting or she has a history of bleeding.

The surgeon will ask the patient to not use certain drugs for at least two weeks prior to the surgery to reduce the risk. In case the patient experiences excessive bleeding during the recovery period, she should contact the surgeon promptly.


Long-Term Risks

Following breast reconstruction surgery using implants, the patient may experience complications due to capsular contracture, deflation, leakage, or damage to the implant at any stage. The complications associated with the flap technique involve a longer recovery phase and blood clotting.

Patients should assess their options carefully and identify the most appropriate surgical technique for them in consultation with their breast surgeon. At times, patients may experience vascular complications in the long-term, including:

  • Restricted blood flow to the reconstructed breast
  • Relocated tissue failure leading to dead tissue
  • Reduced abdominal strength
  • Weakness in the back, arm, or shoulder



Depending on the breast reconstruction technique used, the scarring will differ. Patients undergoing flap reconstruction will experience more scarring than an implant reconstruction procedure due to the fact that both these techniques involve distinct incision areas.

The flap reconstruction technique may involve the development of scars in donor areas such as the back, navel, buttocks, abdomen, or another area along the nipples and breasts. However, an experienced surgeon will place the incisions such that the scarring is as inconspicuous as possible.

A majority of patients find that the benefits of breast reconstruction outweigh certain side-effects such as scarring. Female cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak receives patients from Houston, Texas, and nearby areas for breast reconstruction.
For more information on procedures and treatments provided by board-certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak please call us to schedule a consultation at 713.322.7265 or click here. Offices in Houston, Texas.