Surgical breast augmentation has provided millions of women with natural looking breasts, often restoring confidence to women who have had mastectomies because of breast cancer. Both silicone and saline implants, which have been approved by the FDA, help to either reconstruct breasts or augment them to increase breast size. While surgical breast augmentation might seem like the miracle cure to a mastectomy or sagging breasts, there are some risks that might deter patients from having breast implants put in.
Capsular contracture occurs when the tissue around the breast begins to harden around the implant. This tightens the breast tissue, sometimes squeezing the implant. This often causes pain and discomfort around the breast. The FDA reports that while the reason for capsular contracture is unknown, it often follows infections, such as seroma, which refers to the collection of fluid around an implant, and hematoma, where blood collects around the surgical incision. There are four different grades of severity, with the highest grades, 3 and 4, requiring surgical removal of the implant.
While breast augmentation doctors do their best to be accurate when inserting implants, there is always a chance that the implants can shift. When they do shift, it can be painful, and takes away from the aesthetics of the implants. The movement can be due to a number of factors, such as pressure, capsular contracture, trauma, or the force of gravity. Once the implant shifts, it is hard to move it back into place without additional surgery, and there is no guarantee that the implant will not shift again.
Like any surgery, there is always the risk of infection around the surgical incision site. If the breast tissue and skin surrounding the implant do not heal properly, there is higher chance for infection. This can occur a few days after the surgery, or even weeks later. It could be result of dead tissue around the incision point, called necrosis, where the dead tissue prevents the wound from healing completely. This could require further surgery to remove the infected portion on the skin around the implant.
More And More Surgery
Investing in breast implants is not a one time deal. Breast implants are not lifetime devices, and often have a lifespan of about 10 years. With saline implants, patients may only need to have more salt water inserted into the implant shell, but with silicone implants, most cases require additional surgery. This involves removing the original silicone implant and replacing it with an entirely new one, which will likely lose its effectiveness a decade later.
While there are definite upsides to having surgical breast augmentation, the risks could outweigh the pros for several women. Of the 286,274 reported breast augmentations performed in 2012, more than 21,000 women had them completely removed for various reasons. So women should first consult their doctor before deciding to get implants, and determine if the risks are worth the results before they find a cosmetic surgeon. This is a great source for more.