Possible Risks and Complications of Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is a common surgery women across the globe undergo for various reasons like breast symmetry, increasing the size of one breast and for improved posture. As this is a surgery performed under general anesthesia, it has its share of risks and complications.

According to Houston Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mark Schusterman, the breasts need a few months to settle down after a breast implant surgery. This is when you may experience some swelling, discomfort, bruising, hardness, pains and twinges over the first few weeks.

However if you suffer from excessive swelling, offensive wound discharges, lots of pain, heat in the breasts or deflated breasts, report these symptoms to your surgeon immediately. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics. However if antibiotics do not treat the infection, the implant may have to be removed and replaced.

The presence of a large haematoma, which is a collection of blood or a seroma which is a collection of watery fluid increases the risks of an infection. This is because while the body can absorb small haematomas or seromas, a surgical drain is needed to remove larger ones. Surgical drains in turn increase the risk of deflation or ruptures.

Common risks

  • Capsular contracture is the most common risk. It occurs in about one in 10 women how have undergone breast augmentation surgery and require an additional surgery to remove and replace the implant. It is when the scar tissue naturally formed around the breast implant shrinks to make the implant harden and even deform in some cases.
  • Rupturing is a common risk wherein the breast implant splits or tears, and was more common with the former thin-walled implants. This is not actually a medical problem as different fillers react differently.
  • The risk of implants rupturing is that the implant contents may escape from the shell into the breast to create siliconomas, which make the breast tender or painful. In such cases, the implant has to be taken out.

Firm silicone breast implants are less likely to cause such complications as they can keep their shape even if its shell ruptures. Generally, the silicone gel remains in the capsule formed by the body and may be removed once the ruptured implant is removed.

  • Another common risk of breast augmentation is deflation of the implant wherein it reduces in size. It occurs as a result of other complications after surgery like rupturing and capsular contracture. Sometimes, breast augmentation may trigger the formation of small amounts of calcium around the implant which get confused as tumors in a mammography.
  • Research has proven that women who have undergone breast augmentation do not have an increased risk of suffering from breast cancer. In fact, it is thought that the risk of breast cancer in them is considerably reduced. However, women who have undergone the surgery and have developed breast cancer have no higher risk of the recurrence of cancer.
  • Sometimes the scars of the surgery may redden or get highly colored, thick and painful and require years to improve. The other risks associated with breast augmentation are blood loss, loss of sensation in the breast and creasing or rippling around the implant.

About a tenth of the women who have undergone breast augmentation experience the contraction of fibrous capsules which make the implant deform or get painful or hard. In such cases, the implant and capsule have to be removed and replaced with another implant if required.

Of course, these risks and complications do not occur to everyone, and if it does, being well informed about them helps you treat the condition in a jiffy.

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