General breast augmentation complications
Each surgical procedure has its possible complications and we have to consider them, although they appear in a low percentage of cases. General anesthesia has certain risks, which will be explained to you by your anesthesiologist before the planned procedure.
There are complications concerning the healing and possible infection of the wound around the area of the implant. There have been documented cases when the implant had to be removed because of infection.
Another surgical complication might be bleeding. That’s why a laboratory examination of blood clotting before the surgery is essential. Also staying in a calm environment after the procedure is important. Another problem can be scar healing.
A serious complication that can occur in any surgery in which the patient is under general anesthesia is a so-called pulmonary embolism – blocking of the pulmonary artery with a blood clot. For prevention, doctors use elastic bandages on the legs and movement soon after the surgery, the best is the first day. Hormonal birth control raises the risk of thrombosis, so it is possible to stop it or take medication against blood coagulation - low molecular heparin (e.g.Fraxiparin, Clexan, Fragmin.)
Some patients are more likely to receive so-called keloid or hypertrophic scars. Sometimes a correction may be necessary, which is relatively difficult in these types of scars.
Breast augmentation is performed with the arms stretched. Patients can sometimes feel pain shooting into the forearm and hands after the surgery. It is caused by the tension of nerves running from the armpit to the arms. These problems are temporary and fade away after few days or weeks.
Complications and risks concerning the breast implant placement
It is the most often described and feared complication of breast augmentation. A fibrous cover – capsule is always formed around the implant. The tissue reacts naturally to the foreign element of the body. The capsules form in all patients and they can be thin or thick. Its creation is individual. In 5% of cases the capsule can start to shrink – this is capsular contracture around the implant. It is accompanied by pain and a firmness to hardening of the breast. This phenomenon can occur in one breast or both breasts. There are ways to avoid the forming of a capsule or at least minimize its creation. It is for example important to ensure a sufficient size of the cavity for implant placement. Also implants with a textured surface reduce the risk of capsular contracture. The shrinking capsule often has to be treated surgically. There have been documented repeated cases of capsular contractures around the implants and sometimes the rigidness can repeat so that the only possibility is the removal of the implant .
Prolapse (expulsion) of the implant
The skin is in permanent tension in the area of the wound. The size of the implant can also cause a progressive thinning to breakage of the skin and therefore the prolapse of the implant. This breast augmentation complication is more common in patients whose skin has been damaged in any way or scarred for example by irradiation from tumor disease.
This is the creation of liquid around the implant immediately after the surgery or later. It is manifested by pain and breast enlargement. The reason is most often physical strain after the surgical procedure, excessive sport activity or injury.
Blood coagulation around the implant - hematoma
A collection of blood around the implant is mainly caused by disobeying the relazation orders after the surgery or defective blood coagulation.
Burst and penetration of the implant
The approximate durability of an implant set by the producer is around 10 - 15 years. The implant slowly wears out and its surface thins, which can cause it to burst. The breast can change its shape and will hurt. In such case a change of the implant is necessary. A breast rupture can also be caused by injury, accident or extreme sport activity. Microscopic particles of silicone can penetrate through the gel filled implant's external cover. These particles have been found around the implant and even in other parts of body. No harmfulness has been proved.
Shrinkage of the implant
The shrinkage of the implant cover is manifested by small folds that can be touched under the skin. It can be painful and big folds can irritate the surrounding tissue. It is a problem for skinny patients with a thin skin layer, very small mammary gland and in cases of implant placement under the gland.
Sensitiveness of nipples
The change of sensitiveness of nipples, either increased or decreased is often described by women after the breast augmentation surgery. In most cases it gets back to normal in several months to one year. The change can be sometimes permanent.
Even breasts enlarged with an implant can droop or sag after some time. Also asymmetries may occur, when one side droops more than the other. It can be caused by disobeying instructions after the surgery but also for other reasons. The implant can change its position through the movement of breast muscle right after the surgery. A higher risk of such a shift is threatened by teardrop implants.
Small particles of calcium may appear around the implant. They can be confused with a beginning stage of breast cancer.
Tiny thrombotic vessels
Tiny vessels in the armpits or under the abdominal wall blocked by thrombus may appear after the surgery. They disappear naturally within several months.
Can silicone implants be harmful for body?
There have been made many studies concerning the harmfulness of breasts implants. All the substances that form the implant have been gradually studied and examined. This includes silicone, polyurethane, which is part of the cover of some implants, and platinum, which is used by polymerization of silicone gel. None of these substances showed explicit carcinogenic effect, i.e. they don't cause tumor malignancy. Further studies have been done for any relation between implants and rheumatic and autoimmune diseases, again none have been proved. Elementary silicone occurs normally in parts of the blood, breast milk, connective tissue and most organs. Its content in the body depends on a person's diet, geographic conditions, quality of drinking water or beer consumption. Also mothers that breast feed with silicone implants do not present any risk to their babies. Silicon is part of nursing bottles, dummies, spoons and other medical products.