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Breast Surgery Complications

Risks and complications involved in plastic surgery procedures are issues patients do not enjoy discussing. A certain amount of risk is inherent with any surgery, and while rare, complications can occur. The plastic and reconstructive surgeons of Atlanta Plastic Surgery find it important to educate patients on any complications possible during or after plastic surgery procedures.

Breast enhancement surgery is common, but as with all surgery, there is a risk of complications. Although this is not something people like to think about, it is important to be aware of as many of the complications that do occur are preventable. Breast surgery complications range from patient complications during the actual surgery to breast complications that develop while recovering from breast surgery. Possible complications during surgery include:

  • Reaction to Anesthesia: In rare cases, some patients can experience a negative reaction to anesthesia. Atlanta Plastic Surgery patients undergo an informative consultation where they are educated on every aspect of their breast surgery. They also have a thorough pre-op where an extensive medical history is taken. The patient is monitored throughout the procedure …accredited hospital… All of these things are measures that are used to minimize adverse reactions.
  • Hematoma/Seroma: Although extremely rare, blood can collect in small cavities. This usually happens shortly after surgery. The body will take care of small blood collections, but larger collections of blood will need to be drained.
  • Infection: Infection is very uncommon, but can occur within the first six weeks after surgery if proper aftercare instructions aren’t followed. If infection does arise, a round of antibiotics may be prescribed. In rare cases, the breast implant may require removal and replacement. Surgical results will vary from person to person.

The following is a list of breast surgery complications that, while rarely experienced, can develop after surgery and may require breast revision surgery to remedy:

  • Nipple or Breast Sensation Change: Some patients report nipple or breast sensation loss after breast augmentation surgery. This sensation loss is usually temporary, and is not solved with breast revision surgery.
  • Capsular Contracture: Capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue around the breast implant hardens, causing the breast to look and feel unnaturally hard. Breast revision surgery can help soften the effects of capsular contracture.
  • Asymmetry: Most women do not have perfectly symmetrical breasts to begin with, so there is a possibility for asymmetry to become more pronounced after breast augmentations, breast lifts, and breast reductions if special techniques are not performed by your plastic surgeon. An experienced plastic surgeon can usually correct asymmetries with breast revision surgery.
  • Breast Cancer Screening/Mammographic Exam (mammogram): Breast implants do not increase risks of breast cancer, but they do make it harder to detect. Therefore, all women are required to obtain a mammogram prior to their breast augmentation. And, women with with augmented breasts should undergo regular mammograms with a radiology technician who is experienced in screening augmented breasts.
  • Breast implant Leak, Rupture, Ripple, or Shift: Breast implants do not come with a lifetime guarantee. While rare, physical trauma can rupture, leak, ripple, or shift causing breasts to look unnatural. A breast implant can be repaired through breast revision surgery if physical trauma occurs.
  • “Double Bubble:” A non-clinical term, double bubble refers to an uncommon situation in which, after breast augmentation surgery, the breast does not mold around the breast implant, causing the implant to descend below the natural crease of the breast. Separation between the bottom edge of the implant and the bottom edge of the natural breast brings about a visible line along the bottom of the breast.

Another form of “double bubble” occurs when a breast implant is placed under the chest muscles of a woman with sagging breasts. The breast tissue remains in its normal lax position while the implant seems higher on the chest giving the appearance of multiple sets of breasts.

Revisionary surgery is often required to reverse this complication. A consultation between you and your plastic surgeon can determine which method of treatment is right for your situation.

Choosing the right cosmetic surgeon is essential in avoiding breast revision surgery. Always do your research and discuss with your surgeon the complications they have experienced in the past. Consultations are available at our offices in AtlantaCumming / Forsyth, and Northside / Sandy Springs, Georgia.

The following surgeons at Atlanta Plastic Surgery perform breast enhancement surgeries:  Click here to view before and after pictures of breast revision surgery.

L. Franklyn Elliott, M.D.
James D. Namnoum, M.D.
Joseph Kerwin Williams, M.D.
Michael Mirzabeigi, M.D.