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Breast Augmentation: The Risks of Surgery
« on: June 14, 2007, 11:18:12 PM »
By Karen Barrow
Medically Reviewed On: June 14, 2007

Breast augmentation can help women of all shapes and sizes feel better about their body. But whatever the reason a woman may seek this surgery, there are risks involved. Understanding these risks is key to ensuring that you take all necessary precautions and ultimately have a successful surgery.

Breast augmentation is less invasive than some surgeries, but it does introduce a foreign object—the breast implant—into the body and this increases the risk of complications.

Medical Complications

The most common complication of breast implants is capsular contraction. This occurs when scar tissue forms around the breast implant and stiffens. This squeezes the implant, and causes the breast itself to feel hard. It may also cause rippling in the surface of the implant, resulting in some rippling at the surface of the breast itself and even some pain. The only way to treat capsular contraction is additional surgery to either remove the scar tissue or replace the implant itself.

Over time, there is also the risk that the implants may break and leak. If the implant is filled with saline, there is no immediate health risk, but the implant will quickly deflate because the body will absorb the saline naturally.

If the implants are filled with silicone, a leak may not be noticeable right away. The gel will accumulate inside the breast where the implant is placed and cause no noticeable difference in the breasts. However, if this silicone happens to pass into other parts of your body it may cause more of a problem. Because of this, the FDA recommends that every woman with silicone breast implants have an MRI of her breasts three years after the initial surgery and every two years after that to ensure that the implant is intact. Additionally, all implants should be replaced approximately every 10 years.

“A breast implant isn’t meant to last a lifetime,” says Dr. Deborah Bash, spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “All types will wear out with time.”

Breast augmentation also carries the risk of numbness in the nipples or breast itself due to nerve damage. Most of the time this numbness subsides with time, but it may be permanent in some women. Oversensitivity is also sometimes a problem.

Infection is rare, but also a possibility. A small percentage of women will develop an infection after their surgery. If antibiotics are not successful, the implant may need to be removed until the infection clears.

Rarely, blood will collect inside the breast after the surgery and will not clear on its own. When this occurs, surgery will be needed to remove the excess blood and control the bleeding.

Lifestyle Factors

Breast implants will not interfere with pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, as the breasts often change shape and size during pregnancy, this may change how your breasts look and feel. If you are planning on getting pregnant, be sure to discuss this with your doctor prior to surgery.

It is also important to understand that breast implants may interfere with standard tools that screen for breast cancer. The implant may block view of abnormal growth in the breast and make mammography more difficult. It is essential, therefore, to inform the technician at the time of your annual mammogram that you have implants. Women with implants may need to have additional images taken that would not be part of a standard mammography. Though this will help to ensure that your technician gets a full view of your breast tissue, it is typically not covered by insurance and it is an expense you may want to consider when calculating the long-term cost of your surgery.(

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Re: Breast Augmentation: The Risks of Surgery
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2007, 09:07:24 AM »
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Re: Breast Augmentation: The Risks of Surgery
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 11:25:47 AM »
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