Surgery in general, carries common risks that can and cannot be avoided. Breast surgery can carry risks of its own. Often there are preventative measures to help with these ill-effects, so here are some potential risks and treatments, courtesy of our Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr El Gawad:
Bleeding is a common early risk for surgery in general. In breast enlargement, if bleeding were to happen, it would take place in a closed cavity. This has a detrimental effect on the whole operation. The patient must be taken back to theatres to evacuate the collection and control of the source. The chance of bleeding is higher if the implant is put under the muscle.
2. Hardening of the breast tissue
This is otherwise referred to as “capsular contracture” and is a risk that occurs at a later date, i.e. Years later. A capsule is formed as the implant is inserted and the body forms a protection around it. In some cases, the capsule may shrink, forming a contraction around the implant, often for no apparent reason. There have been a number of ways to try to address this difficult problem. In severe cases a surgical intervention to remove the capsule would be the most effective way. The surgeon may advise for implant exchange or plane change.
3. Implant rupture
There is a risk of the breast plant rupturing following breast augmentation. There is no proven link between this and more serious complications, such as tumours, but there would be a considerable amount of pain and discomfort, as well as an odd and uneven appearance to the breast itself.
It can be hard to tell if your implant has ruptured. If you’re uncertain then your doctor will be able to properly diagnose it with a thorough MRI scan to detect such an occurrence. Once detected, your surgeon will often recommend removal of the implant, and in most cases you are able to have a replacement during the same procedure, depending on the extent of any damage that the rupture has caused. One of the most effective ways in which you can help prevent a rupture is remembering that often breast implants aren’t for a life and therefore a routine MRI scan may be a wise choice.
As with any surgical procedure that requires an incision there is always the risk of scarring. Scarring on the breasts after surgery can, in some cases, be rather thick and therefore obvious. There are many ways that are recommended to help treat and prevent excessive scarring. One fundamental prevention is not to irritate the area any more than is necessary – don’t scratch or tamper with the area that could scar, even if it is slightly irritating. Another quite simple way in which you can help scars to heal a little quicker, is to cover the area with an ointment that will keep water out, such as Vaseline. This will allow the collagen to form without further restriction.
5. Nerves within the nipple
Due to the way in which the nipple is involved in breast enlargement surgery, it can lead to sensation being lost to an extent, or even entirely. This is due to the possible severing of nerve endings during the surgery, there has even been reports of nerve pain following the surgery. With regards to avoiding this, there isn’t anything that can be done. Nerves require time to repair so just by being patient and healthy, after three months any possible nerve pain should subside – if it doesn’t then further consultation should be sought out. Numbness and absence of sensation could indeed be permanent around the nipple.
6. Breast feeding issues
In some cases, breast enlargement can result in later complications when it comes to lactation. The surgery may mean that there is a reduced amount of breast milk available, and therefore a resulting problem maybe that breastfeeding is difficult. In most cases breast feeding is possible after surgery, the supply is simply less. Many people hold the misconception that removal of the implant will solve the issue, but this is rarely the case. Only in some cases will the implant apply such pressure on the milk duct that it causes an issue; for the most part breast feeding problems will be caused by nerve damage that isn’t repairable following surgery.
Other related blogs: 10 things to think about before booking breast enlargement surgery