Breast Augmentation Risks & Complications
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Breast Augmentation, more commonly referred to as a breast implant, breast lift or a “boob job”, involves utilizing synthetic breast implants or a fat tissue transfer to enlarge the breasts and/or create a more round aesthetic look. Breast Augmentation is also performed in order to restore breast volume that has been lost or deformed due to weight loss, sickness, or pregnancy. Breast augmentation surgery is considered a safe procedure but it is not exempt from the risks inherent in any operation and complications inherent to this specific procedure.
Among the complications associated with breast augmentation surgery, perhaps the most frequent is the so-called “capsular contracture” effect. The capsule is a fibrous tissue that the body forms naturally around the implant during the healing process. This tissue is beneficial if its formation is correctly directed, among other things because it acts as a support or “internal bra” to help keep the implant in place.
Capsular contracture occurs when the body creates too much fibrous tissue around the implant. The capsules that generate abundant fibrous tissue (grades III and IV) can cause breast hardness and discomfort, therefore they should be treated almost always surgically. This occurs in a very low percentage of patients (approximately 1% -2%) and occurs due to the contraction of the “pocket” that forms around the implant.
When the capsular contracture is repetitive it can force the implant to be removed permanently. To adequately solve a severe capsular contracture reaction it is necessary to remove the implant and remove all capsular tissue if possible. Although it is not mandatory, it is advisable to place new implants.
The capsules too soft (Grade 0) are equally problematic as they will be unable to support the weight of the prosthesis, causing the breast to sag over the months or years. Some incipient encapsulations can be treated with a medicine called Accolate® (Zafirlukast). This medicine, used for the control of asthmatic difficulty, does not have among its authorized uses, the treatment of encapsulations, but several studies have shown that it is useful as a treatment.
Is breast augmentation linked to breast cancer?
In no study has it been shown that breast implants cause cancer or that they can delay diagnosis. However, it is necessary that when you undergo a radiological test of the breast (mammography), that you inform the radiologist that you have a prosthesis since the examination and its interpretation may be difficult in these situations. Your radiologist will simply employ a set of task to ensure that your implants are not masking tumor cells.
Rarely, implant ruptures have been reported due to improperly performed mammograms. Mammography and/or ultrasounds prior to the operation are recommended to control future explorations.
Recently, a new pathology associated with breast implants called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma has been described. It is a rare form of lymphoma (a neoplasm originated in lymphocytes) that in its form associated with breast implants manifests itself as a late inflammation (one year after the operation) of one or both breasts caused by the generation of a seroma (accumulation of serum inside the “pocket” that contains the implant). It is estimated that the incidence of this disease is 1 in 300,000 patients and there are currently documented around 250 cases worldwide. The diagnosis of this pathology is usually simple and the treatment is curative in the vast majority of cases if the implants and the capsule that surrounds them are removed.
Changes in breast tenderness
Although it should not be considered a complication, some women may notice changes in the sensitivity of the nipples or other areas of the breasts if they have very large implants inserted as they can stretch the tissue. These symptoms usually disappear in a short time and very rarely are permanent. There is no evidence that the presence of a breast prosthesis affects fertility or gestation as well.
It is important to keep in mind that if you have a pregnancy after surgery, your breasts may suffer changes in size and silhouette. You should also bear in mind that any breast that is operated on may have an altered ability to produce milk, but this is also rare. Breastfeeding trouble is more common with breast reduction surgery in Michigan.
Rupture of the implant
Occasionally, and generally, derived from accidents and trauma, breast implants can break or tear. If this happens, a second intervention will be necessary to remove or replace them. Today, the high cohesion of silicone breast implants prevents leakage in the event of a rupture, which provides greater safety for the patient. The detection of a broken implant during the postoperative period does not constitute a medical emergency, but it is advisable to treat it as soon as possible and replace it with a new one.
Regarding the time that breast implants last, there is no unanimous opinion due to numerous factors, among others the rapid development in implant manufacturing technology. As an empirical rule, it is advisable to perform a thorough exploration (including mammography, magnetic resonance and/or CAT scan) or to consider a replacement after 20 years.
As in any surgery, problems may arise due to excessive bleeding or infection of the implant, both circumstances may require urgent interventions to solve them. You should not be frightened by everything covered, since they are very infrequent and controllable situations, especially if the surgery is performed by experienced surgeons.
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