No surgical operation is without risk. While breast augmentation risks are low and complications are rare, they are real and should be discussed with your board-certified plastic surgeon in advance.
Bleeding and infection are complications intrinsic to any surgical procedure, and the risk is less than 3% in breast augmentation. Dr. Donaldson and Dr. Sieffert almost always avoid both through meticulous surgical techniques, but it still may happen. Infection is usually prevented with antibiotics but could lead to implant removal in extreme cases.
Minor bleeding may be simply monitored, or released if necessary. Major bleeding could require a second operation.
Measurable breast asymmetry is present in the vast majority of adult women, and this will likely persist even after augmentation. This is due to a number of factors including:
Massage and displacement exercises will often improve symmetry, but if the difference is too obvious, then a revision may be considered.
Capsular contracture is a scar tissue phenomenon in which the body interprets the implant like a splinter and attempts to surround it with a thick, firm capsule. The risk is decreased with modern implant materials and skilled techniques, but it still exists. Treatment may include a second operation to relax or remove the capsule.
Nipple sensation may increase, decrease, become entirely numb or fluctuate – but most commonly, it returns to normal after several months.
Breastfeeding is a challenge for many young mothers, but breast augmentation can make it even more difficult. Implants are likely to cause more back-pressure on the milk glands and ducts, which limits milk production and prevents full engorgement. Infants with augmented mothers can usually suckle and bond, but they often require supplements with synthetic formula to achieve full nutrition.
Breast implants are very durable, but additional operations may be necessary over the course of a lifetime. The most common reason for reoperation is to increase size. Other reasons include changes in shape or position, the desire for subsequent lifting, or the desire to downsize later in life. If you experience deflation, rippling, shifting or other side effects, you may need to replace your breast implants. It’s important to follow up with your surgeon if you suspect a problem or dislike something about the look or feel.
Although they are rare, it’s important that you educate yourself on all of the possible risks of surgery. Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert can explain the extensive measures that are taken to prevent these issues, and we can share various approaches should they arise.
Do you have additional questions about the risks associated with breast augmentation surgery?
Nurse Practitioner, Angie Scala, and Registered Nurse, Shruti Lemus, participated in the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons conference in San Diego this year where they met plastic surgeons and aesthetic providers from across the nation. Presented by the industry’s top thought leaders, the seminars focused on opportunities for improvement in the art of plastic surgery.
At the conference, Angie attended Opioid-Free: A Better Way to Recovery presented by Dr. Lawrence Iteld. Dr. Iteld discussed alternative ways to achieve patient comfort and create an effective healing experience without the intensity of opioids. Her experience – combined with this new insight – inspired her to apply her advanced clinical knowledge to her Nurse Practitioner duties.
Angie has witnessed the negative effects that opioids can cause patients to endure. Symptoms like constipation, drowsiness, nausea, and decreased activity can all be caused by opioid use and create setbacks in a surgical patient’s recovery. Medical professionals across fields are transitioning to new care plans that don’t include opioids. There are other ways to minimize pain and make a patient feel at ease without the downsides.
After plastic surgery, pain relief through medication is often necessary. However, the strength of opioids can sometimes be excessive. Alternatives to opioids during post-op recovery include combinations of:
Like Dr. Iteld, Angie is an advocate for early activity and moving with purpose post-operatively to assist in a quicker and more pain-free recovery. She is also a firm supporter of homeopathic supplements and believes they should be incorporated into all patients’ post-op medication regimens.
At Donaldson Plastic Surgery, we want everyone to be the best versions of themselves, and we apply that same principle to our entire practice. Our entire surgical team is continuously educated on the newest ideas in the surgical field. We aim to provide our patients with the best experience possible through the constant improvement of our processes.
We tailor post-operative regimens to each patient depending on their unique needs. We discuss the post-operative plan with patients, so they are aware of what to expect in terms of instructions and medication. If a patient requires additional pain relief during recovery, then their plan can be altered.
Every patient’s post-op experience is different. Our patient care team will prescribe opioids only if necessary – we want to ensure you are taken care of. However, many patients have reported not needing medication after 1-3 days due to low pain levels. This is due to how meticulous Dr. Donaldson and Dr. Sieffert are during surgery. When surgeons take their time, then recovery is quicker and more easily managed.
Our surgical teams already encourage non-opioid treatments. For example, we use TAP blocks during tummy tuck surgery; this safe, local anesthetic is injected during surgery and acts as a long-lasting pain reliever. We also recommend homeopathic supplements like Arnica Montana or Bromelain tablets to help with swelling, bruising, and pain.
Your pain medication regiment is just one aspect of your customized experience at Donaldson Plastic Surgery. Your surgical journey begins with a personal consultation!