Breast Implant Removal
ORRECTION OF BREAST IMPLANT COMPLICATIONSBreast augmentation surgery (breast enlargement / breast enhancement) carries many of the same risks associated with other types of surgeries, such as adverse reactions to anesthesia, post-operative bleeding (hematoma), infection, swelling, fluid accumulation (seroma), redness, and pain. However, there are short- and long-term complications specific to breast implants that all breast augmentation patients should be aware of.
CAPSULAR CONTRACTURECapsular contracture is one of the most common problems caused by breast implants. This condition occurs when scar tissue around the implant hardens and begins to squeeze the implant. In addition to hardening of the breast tissue, capsular contracture can cause pain, rippling in the skin of the breast, movement of the breast implant, and a distorted shape of the breast. Surgery may be needed to remove the scar tissue or to replace the implant.
DEFLATION/RUPTUREThe saline or silicone gel implant filling may leak out through an unsealed or damaged valve or through a rupture in the implant shell. A leakage may drain the implant immediately or over a longer period of time. Leaked saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body. Leaked silicone gel may remain within the capsule around the breast implant or may spread further. Because the filling is thicker, silicone gel implants are prone to “silent rupture,” where the patient may not realize her implant is leaking. For these reasons, it is important to undergo regular follow-up exams with a physician to check that the implants are intact. Deflation can happen at any time after surgery to one or both implants. Causes of deflation include, but are not limited to, damage from surgical instruments, overfilling or underfilling of the breast implant, capsular contracture, trauma to the breast, and normal wear and tear over time. Deflated breast implants require surgery for removal and optional replacement of the implant.
BOTTOMING OUTBottoming out occurs when the implant rides too low in the breast tissue, causing the nipple to point upwards. This condition is more common in thin patients who have small amounts of breast tissue and skin coverage. There is a higher likelihood of bottoming out when the implant is placed above rather than below the chest muscle. If bottoming out is noticeable shortly after surgery, it has most likely been caused by over-dissection of the implant pocket (the pocket was made too big). If it occurs later on, it has most likely been caused by the weight of the implant. Bottoming out can be corrected by a second surgery to recreate the pocket.
SYMMASTIASymmastia occurs when the breast implants meet at the middle of the chest. This is usually a result of the implants having been placed too close together (known as over-dissection of tissue in the cleaving area), which may have been done to enhance the patient’s cleavage. Symmastia is more common in thinner women because they have less tissue over the breastbone to keep the implants apart. The condition can be corrected by reattaching the fat and underlying tissue between the implants to the breastbone, or by replacing the implants with smaller ones.
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