While breast augmentation is a very safe procedure, some complications may occur soon after the procedure or later.
Hematoma: A build-up of blood that may appear within a few hours to several days after the surgery. In the vast majority of cases, another surgery is needed to treat it, and a temporary small drainage tube is installed as well. A hematoma occurs in less than 5% of all cases.
Infection: Two types are found. The first type, called cellulitis, is a superficial infection found around the incision. It is easily treated with antibiotics. The second type, called abscess, is an infectious collection found around the implant. Another surgery is needed to treat it, and a temporary small drainage tube is installed as well. Implant removal is necessary in the most severe cases. The patient must be treated with antibiotics prior to any new surgery. These complications occur in less than 2% of all cases.
Implant rupture: may occur in various ways, depending on the type of implant used (silicone-based or saline-based). Silicone implants can rupture without being noticed by the patient since most of the silicone gel remains in the shell. The new “cohesive” gel implants are now way more stable than older implants. A diagnosis of rupture can be made through different types of radiological examination, including echography. As for saline implants, a rupture results in quick deflation, which prompts the patient to see the doctor since it is easily noticeable. The lifespan of both silicone and saline breast implants is about 10 to 15 years.
Capsular contracture: as a foreign material, the implant is isolated from the surrounding tissues by the body, which forms a capsule around it; this is a normal process. However, a scar may develop in this capsule, resulting in hardening of the breast and squeezing of the implant. Contracture is associated with various risk factors: type of implant, position of the implant, or postoperative infection or hematoma. The likelihood of a contracture occurring vary from 8 to 15% depending on the abovementioned factors. The treatment requires surgery in a small proportion of cases.
Asymmetry: a slight asymmetry is normal, especially if the patient was showing a breast asymmetry before the surgery.
Changes in nipple sensation: breast augmentation may result in an increase, decrease or complete loss of sensation. In the vast majority of cases, these changes in sensation are temporary.
Scarring: skin scarring can be a problem. A hypertrophic (thick) scar may occur. It appears as a red, raised scar. Several techniques can be used to treat this complication.
Implant displacement: various factors may cause the implant to move from its intended position. It can migrate upwards, downwards, or sideward. Although rare, this complication may require a new surgery if non-invasive procedures prove insufficient.
Rippling: occurs generally in the lower outer area of the breast, where the implant is less well protected by surrounding tissues. Rippling relates to saline implants.
Large cell anaplastic lymphoma: this type of cancer is extremely rare in women with breast implants. It presents with one swollen breast as a result of an accumulation of fluid around the implant. Diagnosis is made through analysis of the fluid. In general, this cancer is easily treated.