Just like any other surgery that involves different risks and complications, breast augmentation too has potential complications. Breast augmentation, or cosmetic breast surgery, is a surgery carried out to enhance the size, shape and symmetry of the breasts, thereby producing larger and fuller busts. Since its introduction, breast implantation has become an instant solution for most women, who are not satisfied with their breasts. They feel that breast implants can improve their appearance, get a better-contoured body and boost their confidence levels. Breast implants are silicone shells filled with either saline (sea water) or silicone gel. While saline-filled breast implants are either pre-filled or filled during surgery, silicone gel implants are mostly pre-filled. The implants are then implanted either under the breast tissue or chest muscle for augmentation. Breast implants are available in different sizes and shapes, thus giving women a large variety to choose from. However, breast augmentation has its own risks and complications. Read on further to know them.
Breast Implant Complications
Capsular contracture is a scar tissue or capsule that forms around the breast implants, thereby tightening and squeezing the implant. It results in the implant feeling firm, looking unnatural and potentially hurting. Quite a painful condition, a woman has to undergo proper treatment including additional surgery, to remove the breast implant capsule tissue and replace it with the breast implant itself. Symptoms of such a condition include mild discomfort, distorted shape, palpability of the breast implant, and/or movement of the breast implant. Women who smoke or have had multiple breast surgeries are at a higher risk of capsular contracture.
Interference with Mammography
Breast implants are very likely to interfere with the ability of a mammogram to check all your breast tissues. Moreover, with breast implants, it is very difficult to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage. However, it is possible to detect lumps during a self breast examination.
Breast Implant Displacement
Breast implants have a huge possibility of moving out of position anytime after the breast augmentation surgery has been performed. They can move in any direction - upward, downward, left or right, without you even noticing it. Though this problem is not common, you may have to get them operated again if they move a lot. The larger the implant, the larger are the chances of it displacing downward.
Saline breast implants can develop a leak or deflate, while silicone breast implants can rupture due to wear and tear. Implant deflation occurs when the implants are not overfilled. As a result, they shrink back to the preoperative size over a period of day or so. The deflation can occur due to surgical instruments during surgery, overfilling or underfilling of the breast implant with saline solution, capsular contracture, closed capsulotomy, stress such as trauma or intense physical manipulation, excessive compression during mammographic imaging, umbilical incision placement and unknown/unexplained reasons.
Symptoms of implant deflation includes hard knots or lumps surrounding the implant or in the armpit, a change in or loss of size or shape of the breast or implant, pain, tingling, swelling, numbness, burning, or hardening of the breast. However, when silicone gel implant shells rupture, the silicone does not get quickly reabsorbed by your body. As such, chances are that you might not know whether you have a rupture. If silicone gel extrudes out of the implant shell, then it might provoke an inflammatory response, causing capsular contracture.
Also referred to as wrinkling, rippling is the appearance of waviness of the skin over the implants, just like ripples of a wave on a lake. This happens when the saline shifts around inside the implants. The condition is disturbing, if rippling takes place in the upper half of the breast, since it becomes evident in low-cut clothing and swim wear.
A woman is very likely to suffer infections after breast augmentation surgery, within two months. If the infection does not subside with antibiotics, the implant must be removed and replaced with another one. Symptoms of infection due to implant surgery include sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, and/or sunburn-like rash.
Changes In Nipple & Breast Sensation
There is a large possibility of experiencing changes in nipple and breast sensation after breast implant surgery. These changes can either increase or decrease. The changes can vary from intense sensitivity to no feeling in the nipple or breast. Also, these changes can be temporary or permanent. The surgery can also affect your sexual response and ability to nurse a baby.
This is a complication wherein the implant is too low in the breast tissue, resulting in pointing nipples upwards. Bottoming out is corrected by re-entering the breast and re-creating the pocket for the implant.
Symmastia is a condition where the breasts appear to be too close to each other. The implants are re-operated where the larger implants are replaced with smaller implants. After this surgery, women have to use a special support bra and other supportive bandages to create the necessary cleavage, until the tissues have completely healed.