Breast augmentation: risks and complications
Information about risks and complications is extremely important if you are considering a breast augmentation. We perform over 3,000 breast procedures a year, in which the general complication risk is 1 in 150, or 0.66%.
From our experience and from scientific articles we know that specialists that perform a certain procedure very frequently have fewer complications. What's more we work with the highest safety and hygiene requirements.
Therefore if a complication arises, it is an exception. Nevertheless a breast augmentation is still an operation that involves risks, which is something you need to take into account.
The main risks and complications involved in breast enlargements are rejection of the implants, excessive capsular contracture, sensory impairment, skin discolouration, asymmetry, rotation of the implant, the formation of wrinkles or folds, unsightly scar formation and pain and allergic reactions to the anaesthetic. Despite the fact that the procedure is performed under sterile conditions, an infection may still occur. However the risk of infection is low, less than 1%. Sometimes the wound fails to heal properly and bleeding may occur.
If you would like to know more about the aforementioned complications, please read the 'frequently asked questions' section.
Usually, but unfortunately not always, the results of a complication can be corrected in one or several additional procedures.
Frequently asked questions
- What is capsular contracture?
The body considers an implant to be a foreign material. This means that once breast implants are inserted they are surrounded by a thin layer of binding tissue. This is called the capsule and is the body's natural reaction.
- What is excessive capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture is a normal process but in some cases there is excessive capsular contracture. Symptoms of excessive capsular contracture are hard and deformed breasts, which may also be painful. Excessive capsular contraction is more common with implants with smooth shells. This is why we prefer to use implants with a rough surface at the Wellness Kliniek.
- What is post-operative bleeding?
Post-operative bleeding may occur the day of the operation or the following day. The breast will usually swell on one side, feel harder and painful. The doctor usually inserts a small drain in the cavity around the implant to remove the blood. Post-operative bleeding does not affect the end result.
- Wat is an infection?
An infection is a possible complication. This risk is highest when inserting the implant through the areola. This involves access through the mammary gland that always contains bacteria. There is also an increased risk of infection when the implant is inserted through the armpit. Sometimes the implant has to be removed.
- What is sensory impairment?
Inserting the breast implants via the breast fold can cause a sensitive area just above the scar. Inserting the implant via the nipple can cause oversensitiveness around the nipple. Chafing from the bra is then especially distressing. This is because the sensory nerve to the nipple has been stretched. Sensory impairment usually disappears over the course of a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
- Can the implant rotate?
This complication only occurs in teardrop-shaped or anatomical implants. Due to their rough surface these implants attach themselves firmly to the tissue like a Velcro system. If, during the encapsulation phase (first 6 weeks), the implants move too much, encapsulation cannot take place and a smooth encapsulation occurs. The implant can then rotate. This happens in approximately 7 to 14% of patients with teardrop-shaped or anatomical implants. Round implants do not involve this complication.
- What is bad scar formation?
Even though the scars involved in a breast correction are very carefully positioned, sometimes hypertrophic scarring may still occur. The risk of keloid or unsightly scar formation depends on your body. Some people are simply more prone to it than others. It is important to massage the scar properly from day 14 of the procedure. If red or thickened scars appear it is best to contact your doctor. Sometimes, but unfortunately not always, a correction is possible.
- How do I know if my implant has ruptured?
A rupture in an implant (tear in the implant's shell) can only be determined with an MRI scan. If you have any complaints or doubts an MRI examination is recommended. Bring your MRI report with you. If an implant ruptures it must always be replaced.
After the operation
The following symptoms may indicate side effects or complications:
- Abnormal pain;
- New, asymmetric swelling.
Contact your plastic surgeon immediately if you notice one or more of the complications mentioned above.
The medical team at the Wellness Kliniek are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Read more, ask for free online advice or make an appointment
Request free online personal advice or make an appointment for a no-obligation consultation with one of our specialized plastic surgeons. Read more about breast enlargement at the Wellness Kliniek Belgium.