Immediately after breast implant surgery, it’s normal to have some discomfort and swelling in your breasts—in fact, your chest area is probably not going to feel or look quite like what you want it to for at least two (and possibly three) months after you have your procedure done!
Persistent discomfort or long-lasting aesthetic abnormalities may require revisional surgery.
Read on to learn about the most common risks after breast augmentation surgery!
After your surgery, the body begins to form scar tissue around the implants. If too much scar tissue forms, it can squeeze the implant, making your breasts feel firmer than they should and potentially giving them an unnatural shape. This can happen in just one breast, or sometimes in both; and it can happen soon after surgery, or not until years afterward. Severe capsular contracture may require revisional surgery to remove the excess scar tissue and reposition the implant. There is no way to predict who will get a capsular contracture, but there are ways to minimize the chance of it happening to you.
All implants have to be replaced at some point, usually around the 10-15 year mark.
When saline breast implants break, it’s obvious. Your breast deflates rapidly as the saline exits the implant shell. In these cases, the saline (which is harmless) just reabsorbs into your body, and the implant itself is easily removed.
A silicone implant leak is slightly harder to detect. You might notice a change in the shape of your breast, some tenderness, swelling, or numbness, but on the other hand, you might not notice any changes at all. If you’re not sure about whether or not an implant may be leaking, the best way to find out is through an MRI. Either way, once you do notice a leak, it’s important to see a plastic surgeon about having the implant replaced.
It may have a funny name, but a double-bubble deformity is no joke to those who develop it! It occurs when the nipple and breast tissue sag—due to weight loss, breast changes related to pregnancy, or simply the passage of time—but the implant is still sitting high on the chest, making the breast look lumpy. Your plastic surgeon can resolve this issue by performing a revisional surgery in which they reseat the implant and remove extra skin to tighten up the breast and restore it to its natural shape.
Some amount of rippling is normal with breast implants, but it if bothers you, it should be addressed. Rippling is much more common with saline implants (especially if they are underfilled) and with textured implants of any kind (saline or silicone). If you have a saline or a textured implant, the answer to your problem may be as simple as switching to a smooth silicone implant. Rippling is also more common when the implants are placed above the muscle, so another potential solution would be to move the implants to the submuscular (below the muscle) position. Also, if you have small breasts and get very large implants, rippling is also more likely to occur.
If you haven’t had your augmentation surgery yet, you can preemptively head off the likelihood of experiencing rippling by talking to your surgeon about placing the implant below your breast muscle, or by choosing a silicone gel implant with a smooth surface.
Be Your Own Advocate
If your implants don’t look exactly like you’d hope right after your surgery, don’t worry…sometimes it just takes time! However, as with any surgery, breast augmentation carries risks, and you should be aware of them. The risks addressed here are some of the most common that can develop after you get your implants, but this is not a complete list; so if something seems seriously wrong—or if you’ve given your breasts ample time to heal and things still don’t look quite right—don’t hesitate to visit your plastic surgeon.
Dr. Usha Rajagopal
San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center
490 Post St, Suite 430
San Francisco, CA 94102