As a potential breast enlargement patient, you need to consider the potential risks and consequences that sometimes can occur with the surgery you are seeking.
Breast Augmentation surgery carries risk just like any surgical procedure would do. The common risks are infection, seromas, excessive bleeding or reaction to the anaesthetic.
Other risks specific to breast augmentation surgery include;
- Capsular Contracture
After you have had breast implants, your body begins to naturally surround the implant with a layer of scar tissue. This tissue is known as a ‘capsule’ because it encapsulates or surrounds the implant. Sometimes, for a number of reasons, the capsule can tighten and squeeze the implant. This is then known as a capsular contracture. It can cause the breast to feel hard, look misshaped and can sometimes be painful.
Capsular contracture is treatable and it may require additional surgery. Your surgeon will discuss this with you in more detail at your consultation. Capsular contracture is one of the most common reasons for reoperation, and is also a risk factor for implant rupture. As part of your initial clinical assessment your surgeon will take steps to reduce your chance of developing capsular contracture. The severity of capsular contracture is graded using the four-grade baker scale; Grade I capsular contracture is the least severe and Grade IV is the most severe.
- Implant rupture
An implant rupture is a tear or hole in the breast implant shell. When this occurs in a silicone gel-filled implant, the gel may remain in the shell, leak into the tissue (or capsule) tht forms around the implant or spread beyond the capsule. Breast implant ruptures can be caused by a variety of causes such as excessive trauma to the chest, extreme capsular contracture or damage by surgical instruments.
The symptoms of implant rupture that you may notice include; decreased breast size, changes in the breast shape, pain or tenderness and swelling. In some cases a ‘silent rupture’ may occur and the woman will experience no changes to the way the implant looks or feels. This type of rupture is diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and this may be recommended as part of your post-surgery medical examinations.
Implant rupture is treatable, a removal of the implant will be recommended. Your surgeon will diagnose if your implant has ruptured and determine if you should have it replaced or removed. At The Private Clinic you are initially provided with 3 years cover for higher grades of capsular contracture and breast implant rupture that may require further treatments. This cover period can be extended with our unique Extended Aftercare Scheme for additional peace of mind, ask your co-ordinator for details on this.
- Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
BIA-ALCL is a Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, a rare T-cell lymphoma that can arise around breast implants. Currently the cause of BIA-ALCL is not clearly understood. BIA-ALCL is rare and the true incidence is hard to estimate. To date, the estimated incidence rates in scientific literature range from 0.03% to 0.003% or 1 in 3,817 to 1 in 30,000. Current MHRA (The UK Regulator for Medical Devices) estimates that the rate is 1 in 24,000.
BIA-ALCL has been associated with both saline and silicone implants, round and anatomical implants, all gel types, all types of implant texturing, and all projections and seizes, as well as breast implants that have been used for both reconstructive and cosmetic purposes.
Presently, no specific risk factors have been identified by health bodies around the world that are studying this disease. However, factors such as breast implant texture, genetics and bacteria have been implicated and are presently undergoing further study. Breast implants have different surface textures, including smooth or textured. For cases reported to date, BIA-ALCL has been seen most often in patients with textured implants. Your plastic surgeon will be able to provide you with much more information at your consultation and please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have regarding BIA-ALCL or any other risk associated with breast implant surgery.
When diagnosed early BIA-ALCL can be treated, often successfully by removing the breast implant and surrounding scar capsule, however additional treatment may be necessary depending on the individual and whether the disease has spread throughout the body. As with all cancers it is important to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. At The Private Clinic we advise it is good health practice to self-examine breasts regularly and we would recommend that all patients with breast implants do this. Should anything such as swelling of the breast or other symptoms such as pains, lumps and unevenness between the breasts be detected an appointment to see your surgeon or GP should be made as soon as possible.
Other breast augmentation surgery risks include change in breast or nipple sensation, implant displacement, breast asymmetry and ptosis.
What to expect at your consultation?
At your consultation, your plastic surgeon will discuss all the risks and complications mentioned above. You will also receive a Breast Enlargement Patient Guide which details all of the information that you need to know before going ahead with breast augmentation surgery. Your consultation is a great time to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have, your surgeon will also be able to go through the different implant sizes, shapes and brands available and assess which is suitable for you and your shape alongside your desired goals.
last update April 2019
Breast Implant Safety and Risks
For information on Breast Implant Safety and risks please see;