Side effects and risks include (but are not limited to): loss of sensation on the nipple and breast, puckering of the breast (ripples), asymmetry (creasing or rotating of the implant), extrusion (implant becomes visible through skin), hematomas, infection, redness, swelling, scarring, inflammation, bruising, blood clot, soreness and pain, necrosis, and palpability (feeling implant through skin).
If you experience any complications following a previous breast enlargement surgery, you may require a replacement or revision surgery.
RUPTURE, DEFLATION AND LEAKAGE
Despite the excellent quality of many implants, there's still a possibility of unexpected rupture when the implant tears or splits which can cause the breast to shrink, change shape, or size. A rupture can be particularly problematic with silicone implants as the silicone is not well tolerated by the body. As a result, patients can develop granulomas and lumps, or their breasts may deflate (saline) and reduce in size. On the other hand, saline will be metabolised by the body and will pass as urine.
Capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue around the implant shrinks around one or both implants. A capsule will be graded depending on its severity. At grade three or four, the cosmetic symptoms are more apparent, and the breast may look misshapen and feel hard. At this point, it's worth considering having the capsule removed.
There are ways to minimise the risk of capsular contractures, such as opting for saline implants over silicone and having the implants placed over the muscle. However, many other factors can contribute to the formation of capsular contraction. Your surgeon will work with you to choose the safest option and minimise risks where possible.
'Bottoming out' is an unwanted side effect of breast implants. It's more likely to occur when implants are placed over the muscle.
Bottoming out occurs when the implant drops, which creates an unwanted line under the natural crease of the breast, known as the inframammary fold. Pregnancy increases the risks of these occurrences, as well as opting for an implant that is too large.
Bottoming out and the double bubble effect can usually be differentiated because with 'bottoming out', the nipple or areola might be visible above the bra or bikini.
DOUBLE BUBBLE EFFECT
This complication can present a similar appearance to 'bottoming out'; however, it occurs when the implant is pushed upwards or if the pocket is not strong enough to support the implant. The breast tissue sits below the implant, giving the appearance of two breasts or breast folds.
It can also occur when the pocket for the implant is made below the existing inframammary fold, and the weight of the implant creates a new fold whereby there is skin or a 'bubble' poking out in between the two folds.
Rippling of the skin on the breasts can occur when the implants are too large and may also occur if implants are placed over the muscle. Rippling is also more common with saline implants.
REVISION SURGERY AND CHANGING OF IMPLANT
Breast enlargement surgery can carry risks (as with all surgeries). If you've experienced any of the possible complications as mentioned above, you may require a change of implant(s) as part of a revision surgery.
The possible complications usually present themselves within the first year but can also develop within the first several years. We recommend that prospective patients wait at least six months before considering a revision surgery to minimise future risks. The breasts will continue to evolve during this time and having a second operation requires much thought and consideration.
If you decide to proceed with revision surgery, we will address the problems you've faced with your previous surgery. Depending on the concerns, the implants may need to be removed or replaced. In other instances, we may not need to remove or change the implant but will make changes to the appearance of the breast instead.