October 26, 2007, Newsletter Issue #41: Risks Associated with Breast Augmentation Surgery

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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.

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