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Hormonal Deficiencies, Age May Be Linked to Problems after Breast Reduction

Hormonal Deficiencies and Breast ReductionThe risk of developing certain complications after breast reduction surgery, including infection and wound-healing problems, are higher in women that are over the age of 50, according to the results of a recent study.

Researchers at The John Hopkins Medical Institutions conducted a study of 1,192 women that had breast reduction surgery during a 10-year period, from 1999 to 2009. The team evaluated the rates and types of complications that occurred in three age groups: under 40, 40 to 50, and over 50.

The results of the study, which will be published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in December, found that women in the over 50 age group had higher rates of infection. Women in the over 50 age group had an infection rate that was 2.7 times higher than the rate for women in the under 40 age group.

Women in the over 50 age group also had a higher rate of wound-healing problems; wound-healing problems could result in the need for additional surgery to remove areas of dead skin.

The study found that women over the age of 50 experience a higher rate of post-surgical complications. According the Dr. Michele A. Shermak and colleagues, the authors of the study, the increased rate could be associated with age-related hormonal changes.  Hormone levels in women typically begin to decline when women are in their 40s.

It is interesting to note that complication rates were lower in women undergoing hormone replacement therapy and higher in women that may have hormonal deficiency (due to a history of hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy). This suggests that hormonal deficiency, not age, is linked to post-surgical breast reduction complications.

Past studies have identified other risk factors for complications after breast reduction surgery. Cigarette smoking, obesity, and extensive breast reduction are also associated with problems after breast reduction surgery.

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