Whether you developed asymmetric breasts when you were younger or you have always wanted to go bigger, you may have undergone breast augmentation. Unfortunately, complications can arise after even the best-executed surgeries, which is why it is essential to be on the lookout for issues and to keep your surgeon updated on how you’re doing.

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 implants are placed, the tissue within the breast pocket can develop an immune response, triggering collagen fibers to wrap 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. Although many people assume the hardening will naturally go away on its own with massage, in fact the contracture can become stronger, contributing to a variety of issues from cosmetic defects to physical pain.

Capsular contracture is measured in grades, with grade one contractures causing very few problems, grade two contractures creating firmness, grade three contractures making the breast hard and unnatural-looking, and grade four contractures causing pain and severe visual irregularities. Grade three and four capsular contractures are considered severe and may need additional operations to reduce pain and improve the cosmetic appearance of the breasts.

To correct capsular contractures, surgeons can use a variety of different methods. While physicians can treat early stages of contracture by offering the patient medication to reverse the inflammatory response, more severe issues with contracture may require a capsulectomy, or the complete removal of the implant and the capsulized scar tissue.

Sometimes, breast implants can be placed differently to prevent capsular contracture, such as through the armpit or within a new breast pocket. Occasionally, breast implants may need to be removed temporarily or permanently to keep the complication from recurring. However, surgical revisions can relieve pain due to tightness and inflammation, helping women to live healthier, more comfortable lives.

2. Implant Rupture

Breast implants have changed a lot since their inception, and newer models are more durable than ever before. However, breast implants can still rupture, especially if they are subjected to additional stresses such as pressure from capsular contracture or trauma due to issues like 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 and can happen as frequently as up to 32% in patients who have received silicone gel–filled implant varieties.

Because an MRI can detect inconsistencies in soft tissue, physicians use this test for patients who suspect they may have a breast implant rupture. If you have a rupture, the FDA recommends removing both of the implants since they may need to be replaced simultaneously at a future date.

While it can be scary to hear that an implant has ruptured, modern saline-filled implants post little risk to the patient, unlike their silicone-filled counterparts that were popular years ago. However, experts recommend 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 and upholding the highest standards of medical care. Learn more about our surgeons or schedule a consultation today by giving us a call.