Potential complication definitions
Irreversible Effects – Many of the changes that occur following implantation are irreversible. If you later choose to remove the implants, you may experience unacceptable dimpling, puckering or wrinkling of the skin and potentially, although rare, noticeable stretch marks.
Haematoma – Blood can gather under the skin and cause a blood clot. If this does occur, Dr. Van Laeken can drain the area. Indications of a haematoma are a firm, painful lump that causes colour change in the skin. This rarely occurs after 48 hours post operatively.
Infection – A small percentage of women develop an infection around the implant. Signs of infection are localized heat, redness, fever, and pain. Dr. Van Laeken can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Occasionally the area will need to be drained. In some cases, the implant may need to be removed for several months until the infection clears. A new implant can then be inserted.
Changes in Nipple Sensation – The sensation of the nipples could be altered temporarily or permanently. Nipples may become hypersensitive, or even numb. These symptoms usually disappear with time, but may be permanent in some patients.
Keloid Scarring – Keloid scars are thick, wide, or raised scars. Cortisone injections can help correct this, but occasionally the scar requires surgical revision to make it acceptable.
Asymmetry – Symmetry is not always achieved.
Breast Feeding – Breast implants may affect your ability to breast feed by either reducing or eliminating milk production.
Rippling – It is not uncommon to be able to see and/or feel the edges of the implants, particularly saline implants. In some patients, placing the implant below the pectoral muscle may reduce rippling. Be prepared that you may experience some rippling with breast augmentation surgery.
Capsular Contracture – The most common problem with breast augmentation occurs when the scar tissue or capsule around the implant contracts. Capsular contracture can cause the breast to feel hard, and may distort the shape of the implant. This problem is associated with a hardened capsule, and does not mean that the implant was placed improperly at surgery. Vigorous massaging may help alleviate some of the contracture, however, in severe cases revision surgery is required to remove the scar tissue, and sometimes it is necessary to replace the implant.Symptoms of capsular contracture range from mild firmness and mild discomfort to severe pain, distorted shape of the implant, and palpability (ability to feel the implant). Capsular conracture is graded into 4 levels depending on its severity. Baker Grades III or IV are considered severe and often additional surgery is needed to correct these grades:Baker Grade I: The breast is normally soft and looks natural
Baker Grade II: The breast is a little firm but looks normal
Baker Grade III: The breast is firm and looks abnormal
Baker Grade IV: The breast is hard, painful and looks abnormal
Rupture of Implant – Although rare, an implant may break or leak. If a saline implant ruptures, it will cause the breast to go flat, and your body without any harm will absorb the salt water. If a break occurs in a gel-filled implant, it may be difficult to detect any change. The silicone gel may either remain in the scar tissue surrounding the implant or migrate into surrounding tissue. You may notice a change in the shape or firmness of the breast. In both cases, revision surgery would be required to replace the implant. The general consensus amoung plastic surgeons tends to be that implants last 10-20 years. Breat implants of any type are not considered lifetime devices.