Can breast implants be rejected by the body?

Can breast implants be rejected by the body?

09th Jul 2019


A common concern of patients interested in undergoing plastic surgery that makes use of implants is whether their body will accept the implant or not. However, we should mention straight from the beginning that implants have been used in other types of procedures, such as heart, urology, and others for many years now and with great success. The implants are not exclusively used for aesthetic purposes, and silicone can be present in different devices or tools inserted into the body during other medical procedures. In other words, breast implants can’t be rejected by the body.

To better understand why the body can’t reject implants, let’s discuss what happens during the procedure and what are some reactions post-op that can be considered as a rejection reaction but are not. 

When breast augmentation with implants is performed, the plastic surgeon will make incisions, often in the inframammary fold and then create a pocket under the mammary gland or the pectoral muscle. This pocket will be used for the insertion of breast implants. After the implants are inside the breasts in the suitable position, the plastic surgeon will suture the incisions and the procedure is completed. 

As a result of the insertion of the implants, the body will create a fibrous tissue around the implant. This is a normal reaction that is triggered when a foreign body is inserted, whatever the prosthesis might be for. This means that the same happens when surgeons use silicone devices during heart surgery. This fibrous tissue is meant to isolate the implants from the rest of the body, and it doesn’t represent an issue unless it gets thick and hardens. When this happens, the condition is called capsular contracture and can occur years after the surgery. Nowadays there are different types of implants that have been developed to reduce the incidence of capsular contracture. Also, a certain positioning of the implant can reduce the risk of capsular contracture. But even this is a complication that can occur after surgery, and the capsular contracture is not a rejection reaction from the body that the patient should be worried about before undergoing the procedure. 

Other things that can happen after the surgery that could lead the patient to believe she is experiencing a rejection reaction is swelling and bruising of the breasts and pain and tension. But these are just normal side effects that can occur after most surgeries, including procedures that don’t entail the use of implants. The body’s response to the surgical trauma is represented by these side effects, and they can also represent a sign of healing. Your plastic surgeon will explain that these are normal occurrences and there is nothing to worry about. If intense pain can be felt after surgery, chances are you might have developed an infection and you should seek medical help as soon as possible.


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