Potential complications of breast augmentation

Breast augmentation is a real surgical procedures which carries potential risks.  Dr. Waltzman will spend time in the office with you discussing the risks and benefits of breast augmentation surgery in detail.  Some of these risks include:

  • Bleeding: If there is significant bleeding around in the implant (called a hematoma), this will require going back to the operating room to remove the implant, wash out the collection of blood, and then replacing the implant. It is not a good idea to leave collections of blood around the implant because it is uncomfortable for the patient and can increase their risk for infection and capsular contracture.
  • Excessive scar tissue can form around the implant and distort the shape of the breast implant. This is called capsular contracture. Whenever a foreign substance is put in the body, the body recognizes it as foreign and attempts to isolate the material. However, if this capsule becomes too thick it may cause the breasts that feel firm and hard. Between 5-10% of augmentations will develop capsular contractures. If this happens, it may require an additional surgical procedure to correct it. Capsular contractures pose no health threat, but they can compromise the aesthetic results and be uncomfortable.
  • At the first sign of any infection the patient is immediately placed on antibiotics. Unfortunately, if the actual implant is infected then if often times requires removing the implant to treat the infection.  The implant can be replaced at a future date once the infection is appropriately treated.
  • Changes in sensation in the nipples and breast. This can result in increased or decreased sensation.  This is usually only temporary.
  • Implant rupture or leakage. When a saline implant ruptures patients notice almost an immediate change in breast shape or size.  This is similar to breaking a balloon filled with water.  In contrast, if a silicone implant is damaged or ruptured, the patient may not notice any difference.  Often times the rupture is detected incidentally during an imaging study. This is referred to as a “silent rupture”.  Many implant companies will cover the replacement of a ruptured implant under the product warranty.