Many people are concerned about the potential risks associated with having breast enlargement surgery, and they are right to be; breast augmentation involves serious surgery, and as with all operations, there are risks and things that could go wrong. However, knowing the facts about the risks of implants, as well as what measures can be taken to minimise them, can help clients make informed decisions about their treatment.
What are the risks associated with boob jobs?
Having breast implants could lead to several complications. Below is a list of possible negative side effects that some people have experienced after having breast augmentation. It is important to note that the number of cases of some of these are very low, and with the correct aftercare, the vast majority of breast implant surgeries are completely successful.
Known possible risks include:
- capsular contracture
- ‘bottoming out’
- loss of sensation in nipples
- troubles breastfeeding
Risk 1: Scarring
All women will experience some scarring after their breast implant operation. The position of the scars will vary depending on where the incision was made; for example, if the implant was inserted underneath the breast then it will be scarred in a different place than those who opted for insertion through the nipple. In most cases and with the correct aftercare, the scars will heal as normal scars do and should eventually fade and be unnoticeable. In some cases, however, the scarring could be more serious. Some women have experienced very red, raised, painful scarring that takes much longer to heal.
Risk 2: Infection
Infection is possible after all types of surgery and can be caused by a number of things, such as bacteria getting in the wound or bleeding. Redness, swelling and pain are all signs of possible infection following breast implants, and most of the time these symptoms will go away following a course of antibiotics. Anyone who thinks they may have an infection should contact their surgeon immediately to receive the right treatment.
Risk 3: Capsular Contracture
Whenever a foreign object is inserted into the body, our bodies naturally produce a capsule of scar tissue around the object. This is a natural part of the healing process, and happens to everybody who has breast implants. There is a risk, however, that too much scar tissue will form, and this is what is known as capsula contracture. The scar tissue can restrict the implants, keeping them in an unnatural position, and can also make the breasts feel hard and uncomfortable. Taking the recommended antibiotics after surgery can minimise the chance of this happening, but if it does, then it can usually be corrected with further surgery.
Risk 4: Ruptures
These days, implants are made with much stronger outer casing, making the chance of puncturing or rupturing less likely than it was a couple of decades ago. However, ruptures in breast implants are still possible. In the case of saline implants, a rupture would mean that the implant would also deflate. This is not particularly dangerous, as saline can be absorbed by the body. However, if the implant is made of silicone, then ruptures can be much more dangerous. Firstly, a patient may not know if a silicone implant has ruptured because nothing will leak out. However, the rupture could lead to siliconomas, which are small lumps caused by silicone spreading into the rest of the breast.
Risk 5: Bottoming Out
‘Bottoming out’ is the term used when a breast implant travels too far down a woman’s breast. This can be happen when the tissue underneath the implant fails to support it, and is more common in women who have chosen to have larger, heavier implants fitted. The result of bottoming out is that the nipples can look as if they sit too high on the breast, and the surgery scar underneath the breast fold may also travel up the breast. Although there is no actual physical danger in bottoming out, it can look aesthetically displeasing, and so women who experience this will usually opt to have it fixed with further surgery.
Risk 6: Loss of Sensation in Nipples
Many women worry about whether or not they will have the same sensation in their nipples once they have had breast augmentation. This is certainly something that can happen after having breast implants inserted, as the nerve endings
may be interfered with during the surgery. It is also thought to be more likely to happen if the client is having a larger implant inserted, as the skin is stretched more and thus the nerves are more affected. However, not everybody who has implants will experience a loss of sensation in their nipples; and often, for those who do, the effects will only be temporary (and feeling may return as normal within 6-18 months).
Risk 7: Troubles Breastfeeding
Another risk associated with breast implants is whether it will affect the woman’s ability to breastfeed in the future. Many women assume that they won’t be able to breastfeed following the procedure, but most actually should be able to. The chances of not being able to are increased if the implant is inserted via the nipple – which some people choose to do as the scarring is less obvious – as there are more chances of the woman’s milk ducts being affected during the surgery. However, if the implant is inserted underneath the breast fold, then there is less risk of this happened. Implants placed underneath the muscle make it even more likely still that a woman will be able to breastfeed without any problems, as the mammary gland can continue to work without having pressure on it.
Although some of these risks might be alarming, the majority of women who have breast augmentation surgery have fully positive experiences and results. Your surgeon will be able to talk you through the potential risks at your consultation, and you can raise with him or her any that are particularly troubling you.
As mentioned, there are some things that you can do that can minimise the chances of some of these things happening, such as choosing to have the implant inserted underneath the breast as opposed to through the nipple. However, many of the risks associated with breast enhancements are simply those risks that all major operations carry. Choosing a reputable surgeon and following all aftercare advice are the best ways to minimise the chances of anything going wrong during or after your procedure.