In the surgical world, there is no such thing as a risk-free procedure. The same is true of plastic surgery, where breast augmentation carries just as many risks as any other body procedure. Some would-be patients ultimately shy away from surgeries that have undesirable risks, but the truth is that anyone can take steps to prevent or minimize the chance of their post-operative complications. If you’re considering breast augmentation surgery, make yourself familiar with the potential side effects and what you can do to protect yourself in advance.
Potential Risks of Breast Augmentation
No one likes talking about surgical risks, but they are always there for a surgeon and a patient to consider before any procedure. The modern techniques used to perform breast augmentation already do much to minimize potential risks, but it’s still important to be aware of what can happen in order to manage your complications if they do occur. Some of the potential risks of breast augmentation may include:
- Infection, which occurs in only 2 to 4 percent of patients, typically forms because of bacteria living on the skin.
- Hematoma, or a pocket of blood that forms inside the wound, occurs only in 1 to 6 percent of patients and may cause additional pain at the site. A hematoma can be drained by your surgeon with no lasting damage to the patient.
- Seroma, the collection of fluid around the implant, can increase pain or swelling after surgery. Typically, this fluid comes from nearby vessels that were damaged during surgery. It collects and pools like a blister and can become infected if untreated. Seromas can be removed or drained, depending on the severity of the situation.
- Capsular contracture, the result of excess scar tissue around the implant, can change the shape of the breast, cause hardening, and create discomfort for the patient. In severe cases, a plastic surgeon may decide to perform a secondary surgery. The steps taken to resolve capsular contracture will be decided based on each patient’s specific case.
None of these risks sound very appealing, of course, so your plastic surgeon will be sure to guide you through the process of a healthy and safe surgery and recovery process. Follow his instructions to the letter and consider the following tips to avoid as many potential risks as you can.
Reduce the Risk of Infection
Your plastic surgeon will take steps to eliminate your risk of infection during the surgical procedure. First he may administer a single dose of antibiotics to you as a precaution. Next, your surgeon will clean the surgical area with an antibiotic solution; if the bacteria are removed from the skin, it can’t get into the body through the incisions. This step is especially important if you are prone to chest acne, which increases the amount of bacteria found on your skin.
To be extra cautious, many plastic surgeons rinse the implant pockets before placing the breast implants. To do this, they use a highly effective antibiotic treatment that can eliminate even the most resistant strains of infections like staph and MRSA. Finally, basic protocol such as surgical gloves and clothing, sterilized surgical instruments, and proper handling of the implants can all greatly reduce your infection risks. When it comes to your health and safety, a highly experienced, credentialed plastic surgeon will take every measure.
Reducing Hematoma and Seroma Risks
Hematomas and seromas are two of the possible side effects associated with nearly all surgeries. As complications go, they are fairly easy to resolve. Still, they can become quite devastating to a patient if left untreated. It’s best to avoid all of your post-surgical complications by being proactive and choosing a surgeon who will do the same to preserve your health and safety. During your consultation, you will be asked what medications you are on and for good reason; some common medications can actually encourage these complications to manifest. Blood thinning medicines, for example, may not only put you at risk of a hematoma or seroma, but they may increase the size significantly when it does form. Beyond this, skilled surgical techniques that are precise and deliberate can reduce the chance of a hematoma or seroma following your breast augmentation.
Reducing the Risk of Capsular Contracture
This complication, a troubling risk that is exclusive to breast augmentation procedures, remains partly a mystery to the plastic surgery community. When the excess scar tissue forms and hardens around the breast implant, it is unclear what triggers this capsular contracture. Even today, no one knows exactly what causes this complication, but some surgeons believe that it is related to bacterial contamination during surgery. By completing the post-operative steps recommended to reduce your infection risks, your plastic surgeon can also reduce the chances of capsular contracture after your surgery.
Beyond antibiotics and protocol for scrubbing in, other activities may help to reduce the risk of capsular contracture after a breast augmentation. Your surgeon may provide you with instructions to perform specific breast implant displacement exercises. These techniques have been shown to keep the breasts soft and natural looking. Follow through on your own after-care instructions to make sure that you make a complete and full recovery.
Low-Risk Starts With the Right Plastic Surgeon
As you can see, lower risks begin with the choice of an appropriate, credentialed plastic surgeon. When it’s time to plan for your own breast augmentation surgery, schedule an initial consultation with a specialist plastic surgeon to ensure your optimum results and your lowest risk of complications. During your consultation, discuss any concerns you have about surgery and what you can do to reduce your own risks. At Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, Dr. Ran Rubinstein can help you to achieve your best results. With VECTRA 3D Imaging, your consultation will give you an accurate look at the projected results of your breast augmentation.
Renowned facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Rubinstein at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists of Newburgh, New York. Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists is the only specialty plastic surgery practice in the Hudson Valley area with an on-site joint commission certified surgical suite. To contact Dr. Rubinstein, please call 845-863-1772. Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists is located at 200 Stony Brook Court #2 in Newburgh, New York.