Risks of Breast Implants


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All surgery has some risk to it; breast implants are no exception. There are the normal risks: risks of anaesthesia, scarring, swelling, and infection; and the risks that come particularly with breast implant surgery: the risk of capsular contracture, implant rupture, silicon safety, breast and implant asymmetry, rippling or wrinkling, change in nipple or breast sensation and implant rotation, and a risk to breastfeeding. It is important to be aware of them all before going ahead with surgery.

General Surgical Risks

The usual risks present themselves and are dealt with, for the most part, as they do in other cases: anaesthesia can cause confusion and emotional lows, and scarring will be as discrete as possible but it may take a long time to fade. Swelling after implant surgery, though usually normal post-surgery, can be a sign of a haematoma (a pooling of blood) forming around the breast implant. This is easily dealt with by the surgeon draining the blood. Infection can occur after surgery, but with breast implants this causes more complications than with other surgeries. It will present itself as discharge or as a rise in temperature of the breasts. If this occurs it is likely that the implants will have to be removed with replacements put in 2 or 3 months later.  Fortunately, though, infection rarely occurs.

Breast Implant Risks: Capsular Contracture & Implant Rupturing

Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue around the implant shrinks and hardens the breast. This is rare, but when it arises it can cause some pain. Implant ruptures can also cause some pain. Usually the implant fluid can be contained in the scar capsule around the implant, but if it seeps into the rest of the body, tender nodules can grow. This is a problem usually associated with silicone implants.

Breast Implant Risks: Asymmetry & Implant Rotation

It is quite common for women to have one breast larger than the other. If you do have this, then you must bring this to the attention of your surgeon. This is because, if you have implants of the same size put into both breasts, then breast asymmetry will simply be enlarged. Implant asymmetry is another risk of breast enlargement. For various reasons implants may settle differently in each breast. This is usually only slight and therefore not noticeable when a woman wears clothing, even underwear. If it is severe, then secondary surgery can improve looks. Sometimes implant rotation can occur. If your implant is circular this is no problem, but if tear drop implants shift then this can cause misshapen breasts. More surgery may be necessary to correct this.

Breast Implant Risks: Rippling and Puckering of the Breast

In slim individuals with small breasts there is less fat to cover breast implants. This means if implants pucker, which often occurs since they are soft objects, then this can be visible in the skin. Unfortunately there is not much that can be done about this. To reduce chances of rippling and puckering of the breast then choosing a silicone implant may prevent this. This is due to saline implants being more susceptible to deflation and can get smaller more quickly over time.


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