Every surgery has risks, and breast augmentation is no different. The risks vary, and usually include the general types that most surgeries have, such as excessive bleeding, infection, blood clots, necrosis, and scarring. Other risks of breast augmentation are directly related to this operation, such as loss of nipple sensation, rejection of the implants, and capsular contracture. Additionally, implants typically make it difficult for healthcare providers to spot tumors related to breast cancer, which means that this condition may not be caught early in some cases.
Many risks of breast augmentation also occur during other types of surgery. For example, infection of the incision is one of the most common issues after surgery, but the presence of redness, irritation, and fever often allow patients to notice it and get quick treatment. Some patients do not stop bleeding when they should, causing them to lose a lot of blood until they return to their doctor, while others experience blood clots. These are typically found in the legs, and can lead to necrosis, or tissue death caused by a lack of sufficient blood supply to the area. Of course, scarring is another risk associated with any surgery that involves one or more incisions, but fortunately, this issue is not life-threatening.
Some risks of breast augmentation are unique to this surgery, such as loss of nipple sensation, which can be either temporary or permanent. While loss of sensation may occur in the entire breast, it is most often found in the nipple, as the nerves may be damaged during the operation. Another one of the risks of breast augmentation is that the body rejects the implants, causing them to be pushed out of place, often requiring revision surgery. Capsular contracture can also occur, which is caused by scar tissue developing around the implants, leading to hard breasts that hurt. It is rare, but can occur in any woman, though the risk is increased in those who smoke, receive trauma to the chest, or experience an infection, seroma or hematoma during recovery.
One of the most serious risks of breast augmentation comes during a mammogram, as the implants often hide any tumors or lesions that may be present. Since these are often associated with breast cancer, this risk can be particularly dangerous, which is why patients should let their doctors know that they have implants before the mammogram begins. This will allow them to take extra time to x-ray the breasts, or even use special equipment that permits them to view the breasts from a different angle so that any tumors become visible.