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Risky Business? Breast Augmentation Surgery Complications No One Talks About

If you’re contemplating breast augmentation surgery, be sure you’re aware of the possible complications that could arise during and after the popular surgical procedure.  It is only then that you and your doctor can make the best risk assessment regarding your personal body goals.
Like any cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation comes with its own set of unique challenges/complications that have the probability of arising at any time during the procedure – or after. For most patients, the breast augmentation surgery will go off without a hitch from start to finish, save for less than 1% of women who will, unfortunately, experience complications linked to their breast implants.  Before undergoing an invasive cosmetic procedure, it’s imperative to know what you’re getting yourself into and that you’re fully aware of all the risks involved with your new aesthetic endeavor.  

The Risks of Receiving Breast Implants
All saline and silicone-based breast implants are FDA-approved and go under rigorous testing to eliminate any possibility of defects before a final approval deems the “after-market” parts reasonably safe and effective.  However, there is always the probability that any of the following risks could incur during or after your surgery:

  • Breast pain, including changes in nipple/breast tissue sensation
  • Possibility of requiring additional surgeries, revision, or complete removal of breast implants
  • Capsular contracture (scar tissue that forms around one or both implants over time, squeezing the implant(s) and causing subsequent pain, discomfort, and disfigurement)
  • Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) – a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, an immune-related cancer
  • Breast Implant Illness (BII) – a medical mystery featuring the sudden onset of inexplicable symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, joint/muscle pain, depression, and skin ailments believed to be intrinsically linked to breast implants
  • Breastfeeding issues (breast implants can sometimes interfere with a woman’s ability to breastfeed after receiving breast implants)
  • Asymmetry regarding size, shape, fullness, or feel of implants
  • Bleeding during or post-op
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Infection
  • Skin wrinkling over the implant that isn’t related to the natural aging process
  • Flawed positioning of the implant 

Other, less worrisome complications to consider:

  • Weight loss/fluctuations, pregnancy, and menopause may have an impact on the aesthetic of your implants over time.
  • Implants don’t come with a lifetime warranty, are not guaranteed for life, and therefore, may or may not need replacing over time.  While some patients will never have to replace their breast implants, others will.  Unfortunately, breast augmentation surgery is not a permanent solution.
  • Be prepared to commit to regular check-ups to assess the health of your breast tissue and the condition of your “after-market” parts.  Staying ahead of problems rather than chasing problems is key to your overall health and longevity and isn’t just applicable to breast augmentation surgery.

Be sure to choose a plastic surgeon who is a top, board-certified doctor who performs all their procedures at an accredited hospital or outpatient surgery center, has reputable references, and is willing to candidly discuss all your options while weighing BOTH risks and rewards. 

Did You Know?
As mentioned earlier, the FDA reports less than 1% of women will experience any of the aforementioned complications when undergoing breast augmentation surgery or breast reconstruction surgery with FDA-approved implants.  However, it’s always recommended to discuss all the pros and cons of any cosmetic surgery with your doctor before making such life-changing decisions.  Also, a full medical history and physical examination before surgery will help determine if you’re pre-dispositioned to developing any of these complications, so it’s best to come clean and begin an honest dialogue with your doctor.  This is the perfect time to ask all the burning questions and address anything that may be giving you misgivings about your surgery. If you’re considering undergoing breast augmentation surgery, be sure to request an SSED (Summary of Safety and Effective Data), as this vital information is every patient’s right to receive and review.  This data offers the latest, up-to-the-minute health and risk statistics that can help patients and their doctors make informed decisions about a patient’s surgery.  

If you’re ready to discuss the possibility of undergoing breast augmentation surgery or have questions/concerns about the risks involved and would like to speak to someone, please contact our office to set up a one-on-one, personal consultation with Dr. Jaime Schwartz. 

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