For many women, breast augmentation is a safe and simple procedures. But just because the surgery is safe for many doesn’t mean there aren’t breast augmentation risks. Every surgery has its risks and the potential for complications. There are ways you can reduce the chance of developing any complications after your breast implant surgery.
Let’s take a look at a few of the more common risks and what you can do to minimize them.
Breast Augmentation Risks: Infection
Infection is a possibility after any at type of surgery. The incisions made during the procedure provide an opening for opportunistic bacteria and viruses to get into the patient’s body.
Signs that a woman has an infection after breast augmentation surgery include redness and irritation around the incision, a fever and fluid draining from the incision site.
Usually, infections are easily treated with an antibiotic if they are caused by a bacteria. The surgeon and patient can also take steps to minimize the risk for infection. For example, it’s very important that a surgeon scrub up and disinfect before starting surgery. Surgeons also often give patients a course of antibiotics before the surgery, to kill off any bacteria that might be hanging around.
Surgeons often use the no touch method when inserting breast implants. The no touch method eliminates contact with the implants, ensuring that they are sterile when they are placed in a woman’s chest.
A woman can lower her risk for infection after breast augmentation by quitting smoking and by letting her surgeon know about any health conditions. Having a medical condition before surgery can increase the risk for infection. A surgeon will usually recommend postponing breast augmentation until a health issue is cleared up, just to be on the safe side.
Breast Augmentation Risks: Nipple Numbness
A change in feeling around the nipples is common after breast augmentation. For many women, the numbness fades quickly as they heal. But numbness or other changes in sensation can persist for some women long after they’ve healed from their surgery.
In some cases, it could just be that it is taking a particularly long time for sensation to return. Some women have numbness for up to a year after their surgery.
In certain cases, the numness can occur because of the way the incisions were made during the procedure or because of the placement of the incisions. If you are concerned about losing sensation in the nipples after your surgery, you can talk to your surgeon. He should tell you about the incisions and what he does to lower the risk for permanent or long lasting numbness.
Breast Augmentation Risks: Capsular Contracture
The good news about capsular contracture is that it is a very rare condition. Around 5% of patients develop it. It is also fairly easy to prevent.
The bad news about it is that it can be pretty painful if it does occur. As the body heals around the breast implant, a layer of scar tissue develops. In normal instances, the scar tissue remains somewhat soft and pliable. In the case of capsular contracture, it hardens and shrinks around the implant. The capsule ends up squeezing the implant, which can make the breasts look deformed.
After your surgery, the surgeon or nurse will most likely teach you to perform breast implant exercises. These exercises help the implant settle into place. They also help keep the tissue around implant soft and flexible, minimizing the risk for capsular contracture.
There are a few things the surgeon can do during your breast augmentation surgery to lower the risk for capsular contracture too. The positioning of the implants can increase or decrease the risk of it developing, for example. Positioning the implants under the muscle generally lowers the risk. Using smooth implants instead of textured ones and making an incision beneath the breast, instead of around the nipple, can also minimize the risk.
Breast Augmentation Risks: Worn Out Implants
Although you hope to get many years of use out of your breast implants, the truth is that they aren’t designed to last a lifetime. One of the risks of breast augmentation is that your implants will wear out before you are ready to replace them.
One sign that your implants are past their prime is if they rupture. It’s easier to tell if an implant has ruptured if it is filled with saline, compared to implants filled with silicone. The saline will seep out of the ruptured implant and be absorbed by your body. Your breasts will most likely look uneven, or as if one has been deflated. You’ll need imaging to tell if a silicone implant has ruptured, since the thick gel isn’t going to leak out.
If your implants rupture or otherwise wear out, you’ll need surgery to replace them or to remove them entirely. Aside from avoiding being hit in the chest, there’s not much you can do to keep your implants from wearing out. It’s a part of the process and usually unavoidable. It’s just important to know before your surgery that you might need an additional procedure years in the future.
Picking a skilled plastic surgeon can help lower your breast augmentation risks considerably. Dr. Paul Vitenas is a Houston-based plastic surgeon with more than 30 years of experience. If you are considering breast augmentation and want to learn more, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.