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Common breast augmentation problems include medical complications and general dissatisfaction. The medical complications may include adverse reactions to anesthesia, post-operative bleeding, infection and capsular contracture. However, for many patients, the problems related to general dissatisfaction are particular troubling.
Some of the common breast augmentation problems which relate to general dissatisfaction include asymmetry, contour irregularities, synmastia, bottoming out or “double bubble.” Asymmetry is a problem in which the breasts are not properly proportioned in terms of size or location. If the size of the breasts is noticeably different or the location of the breasts causes an uneven appearance, it's unlikely the patient will be satisfied with the results. These patients may opt for further surgeries to correct the breast augmentation problems.
Contour irregularities may include ripples on the surface of the breast. These ripples are most common with textured, saline implants placed above the chest muscle. However, they may occur for a number of different reasons. An additional procedure can correct this problem if the patient is not happy with the results.
Synmastia occurs when the implants migrate toward each other across the breast bone. This is often a result of insufficient tissue over the sternum and may be detected soon after the procedure or may not become evident until months later. Additional surgical procedures to correct synmastia require the surgeon to build up the barrier between the implants.
Bottoming out is a scenario in which the supportive tissue of the breasts is no longer capable of supporting the breasts and sagging begins to occur. An additional procedure involving the use of permanent sutures to support the breast can correct this problem.
“Double bubble” is a slang term patients use to describe the situation in which the natural breast tissue sags while the implant remains in place. This occurs when implants are placed under the chest muscles. As the implants remain in place beneath the muscle and the natural breast tissue starts to sag it creates the appearance of four breasts instead of two. An additional procedure such as a breast lift can produce a more natural appearance.
Breast implant rippling is one of the major reasons why many breast augmentation patients wind up being dissatisfied with the results of their procedure. Breast implant rippling is when indents or waves on or above the implant are visible through the skin. Patients may be embarrassed by this effect and may wish to undergo an additional procedure to minimize the breast implant rippling. Some of the causes of the rippling may include a lack of tissue above the implant, the use of textured implants and under filling the implants.
If breast implant rippling is a problem and the patient opts to undergo an additional procedure to reduce the appearance of rippling, there are some factors to consider.One factor is the potential for placing the implant under the muscle if it was previously placed over the muscle. Imlants placed under the muscle are less likely to result in rippling. Also, silicone implants are less susceptible to breast implant rippling than saline implants. Implants that are textured are more susceptible to rippling. If textured implants were used in the original procedure, the patient may want to consider switching to implants that are not textured. These are just a few of the factors for the patient to consider when undergoing a procedure to minimize rippling, but the subject should be discussed with a surgeon to explore all available options.
The risks associated with breast augmentation range from infections and post-operative bleeding to general dissatisfaction with the results. Patients who opt to undergo breast augmentation surgery should be aware there are inherent risks associated with breast augmentation surgery. Although most procedures are fairly routine and when performed by a qualified and skilled surgeon, the risks will be minimal, there is always the possibility for complications or dissatisfaction with the results.
Capsular contracture is one of the most common risks associated with breast augmentation. When this occurs the scar tissue surrounding the implant reacts to the foreign body by contracting and constricting the implant. This can result in distortion and pain from the hardened implant. Capsular contracture may be treated by either removing the scar tissue or completely removing the implant. In the event that removal of the implant is necessary, surrounding tissue might also be taken out.
Infection, although rare, is another risk associated with breast augmentation surgery. Infections may occur at the incision sites or around the implant and usually develop within four to six weeks after the procedure. The risk of infection is minimized by scrubbing the incision sites with antimicrobial agents prior to the procedure.
Excessive postoperative bleeding is also possible after breast augmentation surgery. This excessive bleeding may cause both swelling and pain. If excessive bleeding persists, the surgeon may need to perform an additional procedure to stop the bleeding and remove blood, which is accumulating around the surgical site.
Other risks associated with breast augmentation surgery include an adverse reaction to the anesthesia and a change in nipple sensitivity. Patients may react negatively to anesthesia, which will be evident with symptoms such as rashes, difficulty breathing, increased or decreased heart rate, hives, wheezing, anxiety, fainting, dizziness, nausea or vomiting. Changes in nipple sensitivity may include numbness, oversensitivity or under sensitivity. Patients should discuss all risks with the surgeon prior to the procedure.
Scarring is one of the most prominent concerns for many breast augmentation patients. However, breast augmentation scars do not have to be extensive and there are steps the patient can take to minimize the scarring. These steps include selecting the surgeon carefully, making informed decisions regarding incision location and following all postoperative instructions carefully.
Although the final decision regarding the length and location of the incisions may rest with the surgeon, the patient should discuss the options beforehand and express any preferences openly to ensure these preferences are considered by the surgeon. Common locations for incisions include the crease beneath the breast, around the areola or in the armpit. Most breast augmentation surgeons will be careful to make the incisions in a discrete location whenever possible, but the patient should be sure to express this preference prior to the procedure.
Finally, a patient can minimize breast augmentation scarring by following all post-operative instructions carefully and completely. This will help to ensure an optimal recovery and may result in minimal scarring.
Choosing a skillful surgeon is one of the most important steps a patient can take to help minimize breast augmentation scars. Skillful surgeons with a great deal of experience performing breast augmentation procedures are likely to be capable of producing results with only minimal breast augmentation scars. Before selecting a surgeon, ask to see before-and-after pictures of previous patients. This will give you a good idea of the extent of the scarring that the surgeon typically leaves on patients.
Breast implants should not be considered permanent and patients who undergo a breast augmentation procedure should be aware of the potential for breast implant rupture which may occur at any time. Breast implant rupture can occur because of the handling during the procedure, a faulty valve, improperly filled implants, trauma, capsular contracture, damage by surgical instruments and normal wear and tear.
When there is a breast implant rupture of a saline implant, the patient is usually aware of the rupture almost immediately. The saline solution which fills the implant shell is thin and will likely leak through the rupture quickly, although in some cases the deflation may take place over a number of days. Patients notice the change in the size and shape of the breasts as the saline solution exits the shell and is absorbed by the body. This solution is similar to other fluids in the body and can be absorbed and excreted by normal body functions. However, removal of the shell is still necessary by way of a surgical procedure.
Breast implant rupture is not as apparent with silicone gel implants. The gel used to fill these implants is much thicker and may not escape through small ruptures as easily, if at all. As a result, the patient may be unaware of the breast implant rupture. Patients who have silicone gel implants are advised to have annual checkups by the surgeon to determine whether or not the implant is intact and functioning properly, although in some cases the surgeon may not be able to detect the rupture either. An MRI is recommended every three years to evaluate the function of the silicone gel implant because the MRI is capable of detecting ruptures in the membrane. When silicone gel does pass through the membrane it may cause lumps known as granulomas in the breast tissue or wherever the silicone has migrated. Escaped silicone may remain in the breast or may migrate to organs throughout the body. Removing the silicone once it migrates can be rather difficult.
For patients who plan to undergo any type of cosmetic surgery, there is always the possibility they will be dissatisfied with the results of the procedure. This can be an extremely difficult situation because it may have psychological effects and require further procedures to correct the perceived imperfections. However, patients can minimize the potential for general dissatisfaction by selecting a surgeon carefully and being clear about the desired results of the cosmetic surgery.
Surgeon selection is one of the most important factors in preventing general dissatisfaction resulting from cosmetic surgery. Many patients mistakenly select a surgeon based on price, as opposed to experience and skill level. This can be a dire mistake because the priority should be on the experience and skill level of the surgeon. A surgeon who has a great deal of experience performing similar procedures with a high level of success is very likely to be able to perform the procedure with a great deal of success in the future.
In 1992 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on the use of silicone gel breast implants. Although this ban was made without the support of conclusive evidence documenting the need for such a ban, it has helped to fuel the theory that silicone gel breast implants are not safe. While many surgeons and patients believe the silicone gel implants produce the most realistic results, there were strict limitations on the use of silicone implants until recently.
On Nov. 17, 2006 the FDA issued a press release announcing the approval of silicone gel breast implants made by two companies for the use in reconstructive surgeries for women of all ages, as well as augmentation surgeries for women over the age of 22. This approval came after 10 years of extensive research which led the FDA to conclude the use of silicone gel breast implants was safe for the intended purposes.