Long-term consequences of breast enhancement procedures Introduction Most women already know that the breasts help define the femininity and physical beauty of females. Bigger and shapelier breasts make you appear more feminine, beautiful, and sexy. Smaller or flatter breasts do the opposite. If your breasts are smaller or poorly shaped, you may consider getting a breast enhancement procedure. The common breast enhancement procedures include breast implant surgery, fat transfer to the breasts, and breast lift. Depending on the aesthetic flaws that exist in your breasts, the plastic surgeon will recommend you one of these procedures. During the pre-operative consultation with the plastic surgeon, don’t forget to ask about the long-term consequences of breast enhancement. You should know what will happen in time after you enhance your breasts with plastic surgery. Breast enhancement is a useful but risky and invasive procedure. The results of some procedures are long-lasting whereas others are not permanent. The procedures and long-term consequences The long-term consequences of breast enhancement differ from one procedure to another and from patient to patient. To understand the implications, you need to know what the procedures involve and why people undergo them. – Breast implant long-term consequences As the name suggests, breast implants are artificial objects that are used to augment smaller breasts. Breast implants come in two types: silicone and saline. Silicone breast implants are more commonly used. These implants come in different sizes, profiles, and shapes. The plastic surgeon will examine your breasts and know your goals and then tell you what type and size of the implant is best for you. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The plastic surgeon will place incisions on the breasts and then put the implants in pockets created under, within, or above the breast muscle. After the implants are put in the intended location, the surgeon will suture and close the incisions. Implant leakage and rupture: Now, when it comes to the long-term consequences, the implants have a limited life. Most implant manufacturers give ten years warranty for the breast implants. What this means is that breast implants are temporary devices. They will ultimately rupture or leak any time after the surgery, but most probably ten years after getting them. Some patients can keep living with the implants for 15 and even 20 years. But the fact is that the implants are fragile and subject to wear and tear. As time passes, the risk of implant rupture and leak will increase. So, what happens when the implants rupture or leak? Well, in such case, your breasts will experience some changes. If you get silicone breast implants, which are made of a silicone shell that is filled with a silicone gel, the implant rupture will not be immediately detected because your breast shape and size will not change. This is because the silicone gel remains within the implant shell of the pocket. However, over the weeks and months following the rupture, you may notice some changes. Diagnosing a ruptured or leaked implant is important. To diagnose a ruptured silicone breast implant, the patient must get an MRI. On the other hand, when saline breast implants rupture or leak, it leads to the immediate deflation of the breasts. The saline breast implant is made of a silicone shell that is filled with saline solution after putting the implants inside the breasts. The implant rupture leads to seepage of the saline solution, which is then safely absorbed by your body. The saline solution poses no health issues. After the rupture or leak of a breast implant, you have two options: remove the implants or replace the implants with new ones. If you still want to have bigger breasts, you can opt to get new implants. Capsular contracture: Another severe but rare complication that can happen after breast enhancement surgery is capsular contracture. The incisions made during the operation gradually turn into scars. Typically, the scars develop normally and without problem after the surgery. Capsular contracture is a complication that happens when the scars tighten around the breasts, causing physical pain and changing the breast shape. The contraction is continuous, and the physical pain can be unbearable for many patients. To treat capsular contracture, the patient is required to undergo a corrective surgery during which the scar tissue is removed along with the implants. After the surgery, the patient can opt to get new implants. Implant infection: Infection of the implants is yet another severe but rare long-term consequence of getting implants. After the procedure, your body will be exposed to possible infections. If the infection is limited to the incisions or is not deep, it can be treated with oral or IV antibiotics. However, severe cases occur when the infection is deep and affects the implants. When the implants get infected, the patient should go for immediate treatment because if not treated, it can be life-threatening. During the surgery, the surgeon will open the incisions and remove the infected implants. The implant pocket and surrounding tissues will then be disinfected. – Fat transfer to the breasts and long-term consequences Fat transfer to the breasts is also a popular breast augmentation procedure. If your breasts are smaller or poorly shaped and you desire to get shapelier and mildly projected breasts, you may consider getting fat transfer. The surgery involves removal of the excess fat from different areas of the body and transfer of the fat to your breasts. Fat absorption: After transferring the fat to the breasts, there is a risk your body may absorb some portion of the fat. When the fat is consumed, the results will be affected. Your breasts may lose some projection when your body absorbs the fat. To make up for the lost fat, the patient can opt to get touch-up fat injections. Massive weight loss: After fat transfer, the patient is required to maintain a stable weight and avoid enormous weight loss. Weight loss will affect the fat transferred to your breasts in the same way as it does the fat in other areas of the body. What this means is that when you experience massive weight loss after the surgery, it can lead to shrinkage and even liquefaction of the fat in your breasts. As a result, the breasts will shrink and the achieved results will be lost. If you want the results to be long-lasting, you must keep your weight stable. – Breast lift long-term consequences The breast lift is a popular and effective plastic surgery procedure that can treat saggy breasts. Many factors can cause the breasts to sag over time. Aging, weight changes, heredity, pregnancy, and breastfeeding can cause the breasts to become saggy. Saggy breasts not only look aesthetically unwelcoming but also affect your overall body outline. The breast lift restores the firmness and youthfulness of the breasts by removing the excess skin and fat from the breasts, in addition to tightening the separated breast muscles, repositioning the nipples, and reducing the size of the areolas. After the surgery, some long-term consequences may happen. – Abnormal scarring: The breast lift is a significant and highly invasive operation. It involves major incisions that will develop into scars. There is a risk that abnormal scarring may happen after the procedure. The common abnormal scars include keloid and hypertonic scars, and they can occur due to factors like genetics, carelessness during the recovery, smoking, poorly performed surgery, etc. Abnormal scars are raised, more visible, and aesthetically unwelcoming. – Recurrence of breast sagging: There is a risk that breast sagging can occur again after the surgery. For example, if the patient experiences massive weight changes or gets pregnant after the procedure, the breasts will become saggy again. Also, as you age, the breasts may become saggy again due to the weakness in your skin elastin. You can avoid this condition by avoiding weight changes and pregnancy after the breast lift. Conclusion If your breasts are smaller, poorly shaped, asymmetrical, or saggy, you may consider undergoing breast enhancement procedures like breast augmentation with implants, fat transfer, or a breast lift. Even though these procedures have an excellent history of delivering effective outcomes, there are some long-term consequences associated with each procedure. Those long-term consequences have been discussed above. The conditions can differ from one procedure to another and one person to another. Some patients are prone to certain problems after surgery. It is important for women seeking breast enhancement to discuss the long-term consequences of the specific procedures they are seeking with the surgeon.