No surgical operation is without risk. While complications are rare, they are real, and they should be discussed with Dr. Donaldson or Dr. Sieffert in advance. Possibilities include pain, bleeding, infection, asymmetry, capsular contracture, changes in nipple sensation, inability to breastfeed and need for revision in the future.
Bleeding and infection are complications inherent to any surgical procedure, and the risk is less than 5% in breast augmentation. Dr. Donaldson and Dr. Sieffert almost always avoid both through meticulous surgical techniques, but it still may happen.
Minor bleeding may be simply monitored, or released if necessary. Major bleeding could require a second operation.
Infection is usually prevented with antibiotics, but could lead to implant removal in extreme cases.
Measurable breast asymmetry is present in the vast majority of adult women, and this will likely persist after augmentation. There are multiple factors, including anatomy, surgical technique, implant size/shape/texture, post-operative activity levels and the variable healing process. 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 technique, 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 he can share various approaches should they arise.