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Risks & Complications - Breast Implants

Serving Salt Lake City, Utah and surrounding areas

Over the years, Dr. Moore has helped thousands of women achieve their desired results through breast implants and augmentation surgery, but every surgery has its risks and complications. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome can occur occasionally, major complications are unusual.

Some of the more common complications are as follows:

Capsular Contracture

This is a scar formation around the breast implant which:

  • Causes the breasts to feel very firm
  • Gives them an unnatural look
  • May be painful
  • Occurs less frequently with the submuscular placement

If you develop a mild contracture, you may not require surgery, but if it becomes severe, you probably will need it. The surgery will remove the scar and may replace the breast implant, but there’s no guarantee that capsular contracture won’t re-occur.

Hematoma

  • A hematoma is a pooling of blood inside the body (in this case, around the breast implant or around the incision)
  • Swelling, pain and bruising usually accompany it
  • It may occur soon after surgery, or at any time, if there is an injury to the breast
  • Small hematomas are absorbed by the body, but large ones may need to be drained surgically for proper healing
  • Surgical draining causes scarring, usually minimal

Implant Deflation

Saline breast implants may, over time, develop a leak and deflate.

  • Your breast will shrink, probably rather quickly
  • You’ll need additional surgery to replace the breast implant
  • Most deflations occur because the breast implant develops wrinkles or folds. The folds or wrinkles form weaknesses in the shell of the implant, that predisposes it to tear.

The risk of deflation is about 1% during the first year after surgery, and then about 1% for each following year. After 10 years, the risk of deflation increases rapidly.

Breast Implant Displacement

Breast implants can move out of place at any time after surgery. If they only move a little, you may not notice, but if they move a lot, you may need further surgery to restore their original position.

Fortunately, this problem is uncommon, and generally found only in women with very large breast implants, where that larger implant displaces downward.

Infection

If an infection occurs, it will likely do so within about two months of the surgery.

  • The risk is about 1%
  • The breast implant will often have to be removed
  • You’ll need to take some antibiotics
  • A new implant can be inserted after 3-6 months, and in the meantime you’d have unevenly sized breasts

Interference with mammograms

Breast implants interfere with the ability of the mammogram to see all of the breast tissue.

  • The mammogram may miss early signs of cancer
  • The submuscular placement creates the least interference, leaving 90% of the breast tissue visible
  • Implants don’t interfere with self breast examinations
  • Implants don’t interfere with ultrasound or MRI scans

Nipple Numbness

The overall risk of having permanently numb nipples is about less than 1%. No cosmetic surgeon can guarantee the preservation of nipple sensation.  It also is not related to incision placement.

Rippling

This is the appearance of a wavy look on your breast skin.

  • Some cosmetic surgeons refer to this as wrinkling
  • It’s caused by the saline shifting inside your implants
  • If it happens on the upper area of the breast it will be visible in low necklines

This risk of rippling is reduced if:

  • The breast implants are slightly overfilled
  • You use smooth implants instead of textured ones
  • You choose the submuscular procedure

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If you have any further question on the risks and complications of breast augmentation surgery, please feel free to call us at 801-685-2730 or email us at your convenience.