Breast Augmentation Risks and Complications
All elective surgeries come with some level of risk. While every step will be taken to ensure your surgery is performed correctly within safe environments, complications can still arise from anesthesia, infection, allergic reactions or impediments with the implants. How often do complications happen? Not often. Still, it is important that you understand the risks that can occur as part of any breast augmentation in South Florida so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
Below we have listed general complications that can happen from any surgery, as well as a set of risks associated specifically with Breast Augmentation procedures. Click on the complication name to get more information. You will receive more detailed information during your consultation, but if you have any questions you are welcome to ask us as well. Request your certificate for a Free Breast Enlargement Consultation now and call us at (954) 565-7575 or (800) 274-LIPO today to schedule your appointment at the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery with locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
What is Normal?
First of all, before we begin discussing risks or complications, we will tell you normal reactions from surgery. It is normal to experience:
- Swelling and bruising
- Mild to moderate discomfort or pain
- Crusting along the incision lines
- Numbness that dissipates in two to three months
- Itching or "electrical sensations" as nerves heal
- Redness of scars
Scars are fascinating things. You will see the biggest changes to scars in the first three months. Scars initially appear red, deep pink or purple and the color will drastically improve in the first three months. However, scars can take up to two years to heal completely. So you can expect your scar to improve, improve, improve and improve long after your breasts themselves have healed.
All surgeries come with a small chance of risk and complication. Here is a list of general and more rare complications.
Rare complications include pulmonary embolism, severe allergic reactions to medications, and heart problems such as cardiac arrhythmias or heart attack. It is important that you share your entire medical history with your doctor before surgery to help minimize risks.
Specific Risks and Complications Associated with Breast Augmentation
Subpectoral implant placement risks
People who opt to have their implants placed below the pectoral muscles also have a unique set of risks. These risks are based on muscle movement when the muscle is contracted. The two most common abnormalities are implants temporarily flattening during muscle contraction and implants being temporarily "displaced" during muscle contraction.
Smoking can hinder your body's ability to heal or go through surgery successfully. Smoking limits the oxygen available to your body - and your body needs oxygen to get through surgery as well as to heal properly after surgery. Smokers also have a greater chance of skin loss and poor healing due to decreased skin circulation. Do yourself a favor: quit smoking 2 weeks before your surgery and do not smoke for a minimum of 2 weeks after your surgery. Even better, kick the habit for good.
Unsatisfactory results or need for surgerical revisions
All plastic surgery treatments and operations are performed to improve a condition, a problem or an appearance. While the procedures are performed with a very high probability of success, disappointments occur and results are not always acceptable to patients or the surgeon, requiring a secondary procedure. Rarely, problems may occur which are permanent. It is important to be serious about recovery after breast enlargement in Fort Lauderdale or Miami so you can minimize your risks as well.
Short descriptions of possible complications
Small collections of blood under the skin. Typically absorbed spontaneously by the body. Larger hematomas may require aspiration, drainage, or even surgical removal to achieve best results.
Inflammation and Infection
A superficial infection may only require antibiotics. Development of an abscess can require drainage. Infection can affect the body's ability to heal properly.
Thick, wide, or depressed scars
Some areas of the body scar more easily than others. Scarring can also depend on an individual's genetic makeup. Unsightly scars can often be revised surgically.
Wound separation or delayed healing
Any incision, during the healing phase, may separate or heal unusually slow for a number of reasons. If delayed healing occurs the final outcome is not usually affected, but may require secondary revision surgery.
Sensitivity or allergy to dressings or tape
Most allergies are mild, but in extremely rare circumstances allergic reactions can be severe and require aggressive treatment or even hospitalization.
Injury to deeper sutures
Blood vessels, nerves and muscles may be injured during surgery, though this occurrence is very rare.
This is the most common "complication" of breast augmentation surgery. It happens if a fibrous membrane develops over the implant during recovery. Normally the membrane helps to keep the implant in place. Sometimes the membrane can shrink and squeeze the implant, resulting in various degrees of firmness. The contraction can happen soon after surgery or slowly develop over a period of several years after surgery. It can happen in one or both breasts.
Loss of skin or nipple sensation
Nerves that supply skin or nipple sensation may be cut or damaged while the pocket of space for the implant is being created. Although this does not happen routinely, it can happen no matter how carefully the surgery is performed. If sensory loss occurs, the nerves slowly recover over a period of one to two years in about 85% of the cases.
Implant exposure or extrusion
Thin skin, in adequate tissue coverage, capsule formation, infection or severe wrinkling may all contribute to the erosion of an implant through the skin or scar. Should this very rare complication occur, implants may need to be removed.
Visible wrinkling under the skin has been more noticeable with textured implants. Occasionally the edge of the implant can be felt. This often fixes itself within a year.
Sometimes implants sit asymmetrically on the body. If this happens noticeably you may need a small adjustment procedure.
If a valve or implant covering fails, the saline wil. Leak and be excreted by your body. This causes no medical harm, but the implant will need to be replaced in a secondary procedure. Implants leak about 1% every year.
This is an extremely rare complication that typically develops from an infection and causes the death of the involved tissues. It usually only involves a very small area that will eventually heal with good wound care.
Inability to breastfeed
Many women with implants have nursed their babies successfully, but any breast surgery can theoretically interfere with your ability to breastfeed.
Some patients may develop a thin layer of calcium surrounding the implant (typically several years after augmentation surgery). The added density may reduce the ability to detect lesions close to the scar on mammograms.