Possible Complications from Breast Implants
Breast augmentation has made it possible for millions of women all over the world to attain fuller, more contoured breasts and achieve their aesthetic goals. When you choose a reputable, experienced, and board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Jon Paul Trevisani, you significantly increase the chances that you will be provided with the best possible care and results that meet your expectations. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks involved with breast breast implants.
Dr. Jon has devoted much of his career to performing breast augmentation and breast surgery procedures, and his number one priority is your safety. Although complications from breast implant procedures are rare, Dr. Jon believes that you deserve all of the information necessary to make the best decisions for your needs. The following list describes some of the possible complications that can arise from breast implants. Dr. Jon will go over all risks and benefits with you during your initial consultation as well, and he encourages you to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have. Dr. Jon is a highly experienced breast surgeon who makes every effort to ensure you receive the safest treatment and the best possible results with minimal risk of complications.
Possible complications with breast implants include:
Capsular contracture is the most common “complication,” or side effect. of breast implant surgery. During surgery, a pocket is created for the implant that is somewhat larger than the implant itself. During healing, a fibrous membrane called a capsule forms around the device. Under ideal circumstances, the pocket maintains its original dimensions and the implant “rests” inside, remaining soft and natural. For reasons still largely unknown, however, the scar capsule shrinks or contracts in some women and squeezes the implant, resulting in various degrees of firmness and undesirable changes in shape. Breast cancer patients who have had radiation therapy may be at greater risk of developing capsular contracture around an implant. This contraction can occur soon after surgery or many years later and can appear in one or both breasts.
In cases of minor contraction, we usually will not suggest surgical correction. Cases of very firm contraction may require surgical intervention. Rarely, if the contraction recurs and cannot be eliminated, the occasional patient may choose to have the implants permanently removed. For patients who develop this condition, Dr. Jon can often remove the scar tissue during breast revision surgery and replace the existing implants, or remove them altogether, depending on your needs.
It is possible for breast implants to rupture and/or deflate. This phenomenon is more easily noticeable with saline implants; however, it may be harder to know when a silicone implant has ruptured because the material inside it is very thick. Women should regularly examine themselves for signs of anything wrong, and those with silicone gel implants are advised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to have an MRI every two years to ensure their implants have not ruptured.
Should the valve or implant covering for the saline implants fail, the liquid composition will leak and be excreted by your body. This causes no medical harm, but the implant will need to be replaced in a secondary procedure. The rate of saline-implant leakage is quoted at about 1-2% over many years.
History of Multiple Breast Surgeries or Complicated Revisionary Breast Surgeries
Patients who have had a number of breast surgeries, or who have had complex breast revision procedures, may be more apt to develop complications and therefore be at a higher risk with breast implants. Dr. Jon will talk with you about your medical history during your initial consultation and advise you on your best options.
For patients who have had previous breast surgery and for those who have complications from an earlier breast surgery, the innovative Strattice® technique can reinforce the breast skin and encourage cell regeneration for an even more beautiful revision breast surgery result. This dermal grafting treatment works to secure the placement of the implants and provide patients with more natural-looking and contoured breasts.
Symmastia (loss of cleavage) is the term for breasts that are placed very close together during breast augmentation, ostensibly to improve cleavage, but ultimately leading to a “uni-breast” appearance. This is a very rare occurrence that can result from the skin not adhering properly to the sternum between the breasts after pockets for the implants have been created. It can occur in very thin women and those who have had implants that may be too large for their body frame. This is a very unusual problem that can develop after normal augmentation either above or below the muscle. In some cases, Dr. Jon can correct symmastia with the innovative new Strattice® technique.
All surgical procedures carry the risk of infection, and breast augmentation is no different. However, Dr. Jon takes all precautions possible to minimize that risk by giving intravenous antibiotics during surgery, starting oral antibiotics 2 days prior to surgery and continuing them after surgery as well. Most infections are mild and resolve without incident. Additionally, a careful health and medical history is assessed to determine candidacy for surgery.
Loss of Sensation to Skin or Nipples
Nerves that supply skin or nipple sensation may be cut or damaged while the pocket or 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 1-2 years in about 85% of cases.
Some post-operative bleeding into the pocket containing the breast implant occurs in 2-3% of women. If the bleeding is minimal, the body will absorb it with time. Marked swelling will probably require surgical removal of the blood.
Wrinkling is possible with any implant. Occasionally, the edge of the implant can be felt. These problems are usually mild and require no treatment. In instances that require surgical intervention, Strattice® may help improve the appearance of this.
This condition is the bottoming out of the breast implant below the inframammary crease, causing another protrusion below the crease. This can result in the implant bulging above and below the inframammary crease, henceforth called the Double Bubble Syndrome. This is a rare complication that can result from breast augmentation and breast lift with implant surgeries. This event is unpredictable and may be a result of many uncontrollable factors, such as your inherent skin elasticity or lack thereof, thin skin, age, or sun damage. More surgery may be necessary to correct it.
Contact The Aesthetic Surgery Centre
If you would like more information on possible complications from breast implants, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss all aspects of the procedure with Dr. Jon, please contact The Aesthetic Surgery Centre today.