Whether you developed asymmetric breasts or have always wanted to go bigger, you may have undergone breast augmentation surgery. Unfortunately, complications can arise after even the best executed surgeries. Even for cosmetic surgery. This is why it is essential to watch for issues and keep your surgeon updated on your health.
Here are two breast augmentation complications that may require a second surgery and how cosmetic surgeons can address the issue.
1. Capsular Contracture
Natural tissue can react when subjected to foreign bodies, and breast implants are no exception. Occasionally after breast implant surgery, the tissue within the breast pocket can develop an immune response. When this happens, the immune system wraps collagen fibers around one or both implants.
This condition is capsular contracture, and it occurs in around 1.9% to 2.3% of all patients who undergo breast augmentation surgery. Many people assume the hardening will go away naturally by massaging it. On the contrary, the contracture can become stronger and contribute to a variety of issues including cosmetic defects and physical pain.
Capsular contracture is measured in grades, with grade one contractures causing very few problems. Grade two contractures create more firmness, while grade three contractures make the breast hard and look unnatural. Finally, grade four contractures cause pain and severe visual changes.
Grade three and four capsular contractures are considered severe. In order to remedy this complication, you may need additional operations. These operations will reduce pain and improve the cosmetic appearance of the breasts.
To correct capsular contractures, surgeons can use a variety of different methods. It is possible for physicians to treat early stages of contracture by offering the patient medication which reverses the swelling. However, more severe contractures may require a capsulectomy, which completely removes the implant and the capsulized scar tissue.
Sometimes, breast implants can be placed differently to prevent capsular contracture. For example, they can be placed through the armpit or in a new breast pocket. Occasionally, breast implants may need to be removed temporarily or permanently in order to prevent recurring complications.
Most of the time, however, surgical revisions can relieve pain caused by tightness and inflammation. These simple revisions help women live healthier and more comfortable lives without more lengthy procedures.
2. Implant Rupture
Breast implants have changed significantly since their inception. For example, newer models are more durable than ever before. However, breast implants can still rupture. This can happen particularly under additional stresses such as pressure from capsular contracture or trauma caused by car accidents.
Implants can also rupture due to manufacturing defects, which is why you should mention any changes to your surgeon immediately. Although rare, studies have shown that most implant ruptures occur between 10 and 15 years after the initial surgery. Additionally, ruptures can happen as often as 32% in patients who have received silicone gel implants.
Because an MRI can detect problems in soft tissue, physicians use this test to look for possible breast implant ruptures. If you have a rupture, the FDA recommends removing both implants at the same time. This recommendation is because both implants may need to be replaced at the same time in the future.
While it can be scary to hear that an implant has ruptured, modern saline implants pose little risk to the patient. Older versions of silicone implants actually posed a greater risk to patients. In either situation, experts recommend complete implant removal and replacement to prevent discomfort, infections, and cosmetic deformities.
Remember, if you start experiencing any issues with your breast implants, seek the guidance of a qualified plastic surgeon. The board-certified plastic surgeons at The Surgical Clinic are completely committed to providing professional patient-focused treatment.
By upholding the highest standards of medical care in Tennessee, we aim to bring you the best medical care available. Learn more about our surgeons or schedule a consultation today by giving us a call. You can also visit one of our offices located throughout the Greater Nashville Area.
Our Surgeons Who Offer Breast Reconstruction Surgery
E. Dwayne Lett, MD, FACS
The Lett Center – Mt. Juliet and Lebanon
Robert F. Garza, MD, FACS
Garza Plastic Surgery