What are the possible side effects of breast augmentation?

What are the possible side effects of breast augmentation?

13th Sep 2017

Nowadays, breast augmentation has become a procedure that so often performed that the risks and complications have decreased considerably. However, as is the case with any surgical procedure, breast enhancement comes with side effects and risks. The rate of complications occurring is minimal, but patients must still be informed before deciding to go under the knife.

Risks and side effects

Excessive bleeding, bruising, hematoma, seroma, and infections are among the most commonly encountered side effects of breast augmentation surgery. However, the incidence rate is minimal at about 0.5%. In exceptional cases severe infections can develop, and removal of the implant might be necessary for treatment. Consequently, a responsible and experienced plastic surgeon should prescribe antibiotics to be taken before and after surgery to avoid infection. This common practice is highly effective in preventing infections both at the incision site and inside the breasts.

Keep in mind that excessive bleeding inside the breasts can occur for 12 hours after breast augmentation. This will cause the breasts to swell considerably. An additional surgical intervention will be required to correct the condition.

Leaking of the silicone implant

Nowadays, the materials used for breast implants are of such high quality that the risk of leaking has been drastically reduced. The implants are thick and designed to prevent leaking, even in the case of rupture. However in exceptional cases, a silicone implant may still leak. This can cause a change in shape and small nodules may appear around the implant where the leaking occurred.

An MRI will be necessary to diagnose implant leakage. An echography can also be used, but this method is not as precise as an MRI. If the silicone breast implant is ruptured and leaking, revision surgery is mandatory to remove and replace the implant.

Breasts sagging

Breasts sagging usually occurs in women who have had implant surgery without previously correcting their breast ptosis. While the degree of sagging may vary, patients who get large implants are more predisposed to sagging. However, breast ptosis may be remedied with a mastopexy (breast lift).

Changes in sensitivity

After surgery, patients might notice a change in sensitivity in the breasts and around the nipple. A lack of sensitivity or hypersensitivity are normal side effects that will subside after a few weeks or months after surgery, depending on the patient. In extreme cases, the changes in sensitivity can last up to 18 months or even become permanent.

Capsular contracture

Capsular contracture is one of the side effects that is specific to breast augmentation. In some patients, a capsule envelops the implant after surgery. The phenomenon is completely natural and normal and happens every time a foreign object enters the body.

In some cases, the capsule can thicken and harden, causing pain and discomfort. However, it is not a life-threatening condition. The incidence rate of capsular contracture used to be up to 20% but has now since been reduced to 3%. Some patients experience signs of capsular contracture within the first six months after breast augmentation, but the condition can also occur many years after surgery.

Capsular contracture cannot be completely avoided, but massaging the breasts after surgery may reduce the incidence rate. Make sure to discuss this with your plastic surgeon to have a better idea on how to massage your breasts.

Breastfeeding after breast augmentation

Breast augmentation can be associated with the inability to breastfeed, but only in rare cases. It is essential to keep in mind that even if you can breastfeed, doing so for long periods of time after surgery can alter the results of the operation.

Delayed wound healing

The development of abnormal scarring and wound opening can also occur after surgery. If you find yourself suffering from any of these conditions, inform your plastic surgeon immediately as they can affect the results of your operation.


All surgeries come with potential risks and side effects that patients should be well-informed about before going under the knife. Everyday, thousands of women consider these side effects as minor inconveniences when weighted against the benefits the surgery can provide. Some of these complications may be avoided by selecting an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, but there is no guarantee. An additional surgery to remove and replace the implants might be necessary, so make sure to listen to your doctor’s advice every step of the way to ensure a safe and successful recovery as much as possible.


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