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Women over 50 more prone to complications

Article-Women over 50 more prone to complications

Baltimore — Women over age 50 appear to be more susceptible than others to complications — particularly infections — following breast reduction surgery.

A study published in the December issue of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery notes that the increased complication rate is likely due to age-related changes in hormone levels.

According to an ASPS news release, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions evaluated 1,192 women who had undergone breast reduction surgery from 1999 to 2009. Investigators assessed rates and types of complications in three age groups: under age 40, ages 40 to 50, and over age 50.

Results show that the infection rate was 2.7 times higher in women over 50 than in the under-40 group. Women in the age 40-to-50 group showed a non-significant trend toward an increased risk of infection.

Women over 50 also tended to have a slightly higher rate of wound healing problems, and thus a higher rate of follow-up debridement surgery.

Results also indicate that infections were less common in women using hormone replacement therapy, while the infection rate appeared higher in women who had undergone hysterectomy or oophorectomy, which cause sharp drops in hormone levels.

Researchers suggest that plastic surgeons should ask women considering breast reduction about any factors potentially related to hormonal deficiency, including a history of hysterectomy or oophorectomy. They also write that hormone-replacement therapy “may be worth considering in this group of patients.”

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