Analyzing the risks of breast enhancement procedures Introduction Breast enhancement procedures have an excellent record of delivering effective and reliable results, but it is still invasive. Like all invasive procedures, there are risks. However, it doesn’t mean the risks should keep you away from the benefits of breast enhancement as there are ways to reduce and prevent the risks. Moreover, the advancements in plastic surgery and general surgery have considerably cut down the risks. Despite the fact that most of these risks are rare if you are a good candidate for the surgery and have chosen your plastic surgeon carefully, it is essential to analyze the risks. You can work with your surgeon to slice and dice the risks in light of your health condition. You can then analyze the risks and undergo the procedure only when the benefits are higher. A good plastic surgeon would always discuss the risks of the procedure with you before the surgery and help you make a judicious decision. Nature of breast enhancement procedures Breast enhancement procedures involve significant incisions on the breasts. Where incisions are required, risks are there. Be it breast implants, breast lift, or breast reduction, these procedures are not free of risks. It is vital for the patient to ask the surgeon how the procedures are performed and what may go wrong. Keep in mind that breast enhancement is an elective procedure. People undergo the procedure to enhance their cosmetic appearance. It does not directly improve your health. Breast augmentation makes the breasts more prominent and shapelier, whereas the breast lift makes saggy breasts firmer. Breast reduction reduces the size of overly large breasts. All of these procedures involve risks. Since the procedures are elective, you should avoid any procedure that entails more risks and fewer benefits. Analysis of the risks Breast enhancement procedures are invasive and involve risks. Most of these risks are rare, but we cannot say they will not happen. In most cases, the level of risks eventually comes down to your health condition, meaning if you are in good health condition, the risks are lower. Infection Like all other invasive procedures, the first risk associated with breast enhancement is an infection. Since the procedure involves incisions on the breasts, it exposes you to possible diseases. If you have a weak immune system, the risks of infection are higher for you. To reduce the risk of infections, your plastic surgeon may prescribe antibiotics. Taking the antibiotics according to the surgeon’s instructions is important. Doing so will considerably reduce the risk of infections. Also, be sure to keep the surgical wounds clean. Do not touch the wounds or let any unauthorized person touch it. If an infection has already happened, it can be treated via antibiotics. Infections limited to the skin can be treated with oral antibiotics. If the disease has spread below the surface, you would need IV antibiotics. In extreme cases when the infection is deep, you would need to undergo another surgery to disinfect the affected areas. Anesthesia risks Breast enhancement procedures are performed under general anesthesia in most cases. Some people have an allergic reaction to general anesthesia. If you have pulmonary problems, the risk of anesthesia reaction would be higher for you. While a board-certified anesthesiologist administers the anesthesia, your health must be monitored throughout the surgery. If your surgeon thinks the anesthesia risk can be life-threatening for you, he would advise you to avoid the procedure. Severe breast pain and discomfort Breast enhancement is a traumatic procedure. Even though the procedure is performed under general anesthesia and you would not feel pain and discomfort during the operation, you may feel the pain after the effects of the anesthesia wear off. While mild to moderate pain and discomforts are normal and can be coped with painkillers, some patients may experience severe pain and discomfort. Severe pain indicates an underlying complication or surgical error. For example, it can mean an infection. In case the pain is severe, you should seek immediate treatment. To avoid or reduce this risk, be sure to choose your plastic surgeon carefully. Change or loss of breast sensation The surgery is complicated and involves meddling with the tissues, nerves, and muscles of the breasts. During the operation, your nerves may be injured or damaged. The nerves are responsible for maintaining the natural sensation of your breasts. When they are injured or damaged, it can affect your breast sensation. For example, you may have tingling effects in your breast or your breasts may feel numb. Fortunately, in most cases, this condition is temporary. As time passes, the nerves would regenerate and heal. Your natural breast sensation would be restored as a result. However, severe damage to the nerves can result in a temporary change or loss of breast sensation. Breastfeeding problems It is recommended that you should undergo breast enhancement surgery when you no longer want to have more children. There are multiple reasons for this, and one of the reasons is that the operation may affect your breastfeeding capability. If your surgeon is experienced and board-certified, this risk is drastically decreased. During the surgery, your mammary glands, milk ducts, and breast tissue may be injured. As a result, you may not be able to breastfeed temporarily or permanently. Selecting your plastic surgeon carefully can reduce this risk to a greater extent. Capsular contracture If you are undergoing breast implant surgery, one of the risks you will be exposed to is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is a condition whereby the scar tissue that usually develops around the breasts starts to contract. The continuous contraction affects the shape of the breasts. It also creates physical pain for the patient. Capsular contracture can happen for a variety of reasons. The common causes include the use of overly large implants and placing the implants over the pectoral muscle. You can reduce this risk by working with your surgeon to choose a suitably sized implant and have the implants placed under the pectoral muscle. Infection and smoking may also trigger capsular contracture. If capsular contracture has already happened, the patient would be required to undergo a new surgery during which the scar tissue would be removed along with the implants. The patient can get new implants some months after the surgery. Abnormal scar development Breast enhancement procedures involve incisions. The incisions ultimately develop into scars over time. The scars are normal side effects of the procedure and are not possible without scarring. Normally, the scars become less visible over time. However, some patients are exposed to abnormal scarring. Abnormal scars include keloid and hypertonic scars. They look aesthetically unappealing, raised, and mostly visible. The factors that can cause abnormal scarring include smoking, exposing the incisions to direct sunlight during the first six months of the surgery, genetic factors, and carelessness during recovery. To avoid this condition, you must be careful during the recovery period, do not expose your breasts to direct sunlight during the first six months after the surgery, and stop smoking before the surgery. Implant rupture or leak If you have gotten breast implants, they will ultimately rupture or leak. In most cases, the rupture or leak happens ten years after the surgery. Some patients can even live with the implants for fifteen or twenty years. However, you never know when the rupture or leak may happen. When the implant rupture or leakage occurs, you would be required to undergo a new surgery to remove and replace the implants. Skin necrosis After breast enhancement, there is a risk your skin may die. The condition is referred to as skin necrosis. It happens when the blood vessels are severely damaged, so much so that it fails to supply blood and nutrients to the skin. When skin necrosis occurs, the skin will appear blue, pale, purple, or gray. Other risks Other risks associated with the breast enhancement procedure include the following: o General dissatisfaction with the results o Breast sagging and asymmetry o Seroma and hematoma o Excessive bleeding o Blood clotting Conclusion Breast enhancement is a major plastic surgery procedure. Even though it can effectively enhance your breasts, it is not free of risks. Like all invasive procedures, breast enhancement involves risks and complications. It is vital to analyze those risks and undergo surgery only when the benefits are higher than the risks. In this article, I have analyzed the risks of breast enhancement. During the pre-operative consultation, be sure to ask the surgeon about the associated risks and how you can reduce those risks.