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A Guide to Breast Implants Complications and Preventive Measures

Breast implants are medical devices that are surgically placed beneath the breast tissue or chest muscle. They are designed to augment the size and shape of the breasts or restore their appearance after a mastectomy or injury. While the procedure is generally safe when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon, it’s important to be aware of the potential complications that may arise.

In this blog, Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Bish Soliman aims to provide you with valuable insights and practical advice to help you make informed decisions.

Download Dr Bish Soliman’s Guide to Cosmetic Breast Surgery

Ultimate Guide To Cosmetic Breast Surgery

Common Complications Associated with Breast Implants

While breast implant surgery is a common and widely accepted procedure, it’s important to recognise that complications can occur. Acknowledging the potential risks is the first step towards making informed decisions and taking proactive measures to minimise them.

It’s essential to understand that breast implants are not intended to be permanent devices. Over time, they may need to be replaced or removed due to various reasons, including complications or personal preferences. Additionally, breast implants do not eliminate the risk of breast cancer, and regular breast cancer screening is still recommended.

While the risks associated with breast implants vary from individual to individual, you should be aware of the most common complications that may arise.

  • Capsular Contracture: This is one of the most common complications associated with breast implants. It occurs when the scar tissue (capsule) that naturally forms around the implant tightens and squeezes the implant, leading to firmness, distortion, and potential discomfort.
  • Implant Rupture or Deflation: Over time, breast implants can rupture or deflate due to various factors, such as trauma, wear and tear, or manufacturing defects. This can lead to changes in the shape and size of the breast, as well as potential health risks if the implant material leaks into the body.
  • Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection following breast implant surgery. Infections can occur in the incision site, around the implant, or even systemically. Prompt treatment is crucial to prevent further complications.
  • Scarring: While some scarring is inevitable after surgery, excessive or abnormal scarring can occur, leading to unsatisfactory cosmetic results or potential discomfort.
  • Breast Pain: Some women may experience persistent or recurring breast pain after breast implant surgery, which can be caused by various factors, including capsular contracture, implant displacement, or nerve irritation.
  • Implant Displacement or Malposition: In some cases, the implant may shift or become malpositioned, leading to an unnatural appearance or discomfort.
  • Rippling or Wrinkling: Visible rippling or wrinkling of the skin over the implant can occur, particularly in women with thin breast tissue or when the implant is placed above the muscle.

It’s important to note that the likelihood and severity of these complications can vary based on factors such as the type of implant used, the surgical technique employed, and your individual health and body characteristics.

How to Avoid Breast Implant Complications

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of complications associated with breast implants, there are several proactive steps you can take to minimise the chances of encountering these issues.

  • Choose an Experienced and Qualified Surgeon: Selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in breast implant procedures is crucial. A skilled surgeon can help you understand the risks, choose the appropriate implant type and size, and employ the best surgical techniques to minimise complications.
  • Follow Pre-operative Instructions Carefully: Dr Soliman will provide you with specific instructions to prepare for your surgery, such as stopping certain medications, quitting smoking, or maintaining a healthy diet. Adhering to these instructions can help reduce the risk of complications and promote a smoother recovery.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can improve your overall health and support your body’s healing process after surgery.
  • Attend All Follow-up Appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with Dr Bish Soliman are essential for monitoring your recovery and identifying any potential issues or complications early on. Promptly addressing any concerns can help prevent further complications and ensure the best possible outcome.
  • Be Proactive in Self-Care: Following Dr Soliman’s post-operative instructions carefully, including proper wound care, wearing recommended compression garments, and avoiding strenuous activities during the initial recovery period, can significantly reduce the risk of complications.
  • Consider Breast Implant Monitoring: Some manufacturers offer implant monitoring programs that can help detect potential issues, such as implant rupture or deflation, through regular imaging or other diagnostic tests. Discuss the availability and benefits of these programs with your surgeon.

By taking a proactive approach and following these recommendations, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering complications associated with breast implants.

The Role of Surgeon Selection in Minimising Risks

Choosing the right surgeon is one of the most critical factors in minimising the risks associated with breast implant surgery. A skilled and experienced plastic surgeon can make a significant difference in the outcome of your procedure and the overall experience.

When selecting a surgeon, consider the following factors:

  • ASPS Certification: Ensure that your surgeon is certified by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). Board certification indicates that the surgeon has completed extensive training and meets the highest standards of education, experience, and ethical practice.
  • Experience and Specialisation: Look for a surgeon who regularly performs breast implant procedures and has extensive experience performing these types of surgeries. A surgeon with a high volume of breast implant cases is more likely to have encountered and successfully managed various complications, improving their ability to handle potential issues.
  • Hospital Privileges: Verify that your surgeon has operating privileges at an accredited hospital or surgical facility. This ensures that your procedure will be performed in a safe and sterile environment, with access to necessary resources and support staff in case of any complications.
  • Communication and Rapport: During your consultation, evaluate the surgeon’s communication style, bedside manner, and willingness to answer your questions thoroughly. A good surgeon should make you feel comfortable, address your concerns, and provide clear explanations about the procedure, risks, and expected outcomes.
  • Before-and-After Photos: Review before-and-after photos to gain insight into the surgeon’s work and the experiences of previous patients. However, keep in mind that individual results may vary.

Pre-operative Considerations for Reducing Complications

Proper preparation before your breast implant surgery can play an important role in minimising the risk of complications and ensuring a smooth recovery process. Here are some essential pre-operative considerations:

  • Medical Evaluation: Dr Bish Soliman will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to assess your overall health and identify any potential risk factors or underlying conditions that may impact the surgery or recovery process. This evaluation may include blood tests, imaging studies, and a review of your medical history.
  • Smoking Cessation: If you are a smoker, Dr Soliman will recommend quitting smoking several weeks before and after the surgery. Smoking can impair wound healing and increase the risk of complications, such as infection and poor scarring.
  • Medication Management: Discuss all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies you are currently taking with Dr Soliman. Some medications may need to be adjusted or discontinued temporarily to minimise the risk of complications, such as excessive bleeding or interactions with anaesthesia.
  • Weight Optimisation: Maintaining a stable and healthy weight before your surgery can improve surgical outcomes and reduce the risk of complications. Dr Soliman may provide guidance on achieving a suitable weight range for the procedure.
  • Breast Measurements and Implant Selection: Your surgeon will take precise measurements of your breasts and discuss your desired outcome to help you select the appropriate implant type, size, and shape. This personalised approach ensures that the implants are tailored to your body and goals.
  • Pre-operative Instructions: Dr Soliman will provide you with specific pre-operative instructions, such as dietary guidelines, hygiene recommendations, and activity restrictions. Following these instructions carefully can help minimise the risk of complications and ensure a smooth surgical experience.
  • Mental Preparation: It’s essential to have realistic expectations and a positive mindset before undergoing breast implant surgery. Discuss your goals, concerns, and expectations with Dr Soliman to ensure that you are mentally prepared for the procedure and the recovery process.

Post-operative Care to Avoid Breast Implant Complications

Proper post-operative care is important for minimising the risk of complications and ensuring a smooth recovery after breast implant surgery. Here are some essential post-operative considerations:

  • Follow your Surgeon’s Instructions: Dr Soliman will provide you with specific post-operative instructions regarding medication, wound care, activity restrictions, and follow-up appointments. Adhering to these instructions carefully is essential for promoting healing and reducing the risk of complications.
  • Manage Pain and Discomfort: Dr Soliman will prescribe pain medication to help manage discomfort during the initial recovery period. Follow the dosage instructions carefully and report any severe or persistent pain to your surgeon.
  • Wear Recommended Support Garments: Your surgeon will recommend wearing a supportive bra or compression garment after surgery to minimise swelling, support the breasts, and promote proper healing. Follow the instructions on when and how to wear these garments.
  • Avoid Strenuous Activities: Refrain from strenuous physical activities, heavy lifting, or excessive arm movements for the recommended period, as these can disrupt the healing process and increase the risk of complications.
  • Monitor for Signs of Infection: Be vigilant for signs of infection, such as fever, increased pain, redness, swelling, or drainage from the incision sites. Report any concerning symptoms to Dr Bish Soliman immediately.
  • Attend Follow-up Appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon are essential for monitoring your recovery and addressing any concerns or potential complications promptly.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, adequate hydration, and light exercise, can promote healing and support your overall recovery.
  • Be Patient and Allow Adequate Recovery Time: The recovery process after breast implant surgery can take several weeks or months. Be patient and allow your body the necessary time to heal properly, as rushing the recovery process can increase the risk of complications.

When to Seek Medical Advice Post Breast Implant Surgery

While most breast implant surgeries proceed without any significant complications, it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms that may indicate a potential issue requiring prompt medical attention. Here are some situations when you should seek medical advice after your breast implant surgery:

  • Persistent or Severe Pain: While some discomfort is expected after surgery, persistent or severe pain that does not respond to prescribed pain medication may indicate a complication and should be reported to your medical team immediately.
  • Fever or Chills: A fever, especially accompanied by chills, can be a sign of infection and requires prompt medical evaluation and treatment.
  • Excessive Bleeding or Drainage: While some minor bleeding or drainage is normal after surgery, excessive or persistent bleeding or drainage from the incision sites should be reported to Dr Soliman right away.
  • Redness, Swelling, or Warmth: Significant redness, swelling, or warmth around the breast or incision sites can be signs of infection or other complications and should be evaluated by your surgeon.
  • Changes in Breast Shape or Size: If you notice any sudden or significant changes in the shape or size of your breasts, such as asymmetry, rippling, or deflation, it may indicate an issue with the implant, and you should seek medical advice promptly.
  • Difficulty Breathing or Chest Pain: While rare, any difficulty breathing or chest pain after breast implant surgery should be treated as a medical emergency, as it may indicate a serious complication such as a blood clot or implant-related issue.
  • Unusual Symptoms or Concerns: If you experience any unusual symptoms or have concerns that do not seem to be addressed in your post-operative instructions, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult with your surgeon.

FAQs about Breast Implants Complications and How to Avoid Them

What are the most common complications associated with breast implants?

  • The most common complications include capsular contracture (hardening of the tissue around the implant), implant rupture or leakage, infection, changes in nipple and breast sensation, and implant displacement. These issues can arise due to various factors such as the body’s reaction to the implant, surgical technique, or implant quality.

How can I minimise the risk of capsular contracture?

  • To minimise the risk of capsular contracture, choose an experienced surgeon with a good track record. Follow all post-operative care instructions meticulously, which may include massaging the breasts, taking prescribed medications, and attending all follow-up appointments.

What steps can be taken to prevent implant rupture or leakage?

  • To prevent implant rupture or leakage, opt for high-quality implants from reputable manufacturers. Regular monitoring through imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound is crucial to detect any early signs of rupture. Avoid high-impact activities that may put undue stress on the implants and follow your surgeon’s recommendations regarding physical activity.

How can I reduce the risk of infection after breast implant surgery?

  • To reduce the risk of infection, ensure that the surgical facility is accredited and follows stringent sterilisation protocols. Follow all pre- and post-operative care instructions, including taking prescribed antibiotics. Maintain good hygiene, avoid smoking, and refrain from activities that can expose the incision sites to bacteria.

What should I do if I notice any changes or complications after getting breast implants?

  • If you notice any changes or complications, such as unusual pain, swelling, asymmetry, or changes in sensation, contact your surgeon immediately. Regular follow-ups are essential for early detection of potential issues. Keep a record of your implant details, including the type, size, and manufacturer, for reference in case of any problems.

Further Reading about Breast Implants with Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Bish Soliman

Medical References about Potential Breast Implants Complications

About Dr Bish Soliman

Dr Bish Soliman - Sydney Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, about us 01 2x
Specialist Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon
FRACS (Plas), MS (Plas), MBBS (Hons 1), BCom

AHPRA Registered Medical Practitioner MED 0001679053 Specialist Registration in Plastic Surgery

Dr Bish Soliman is a Sydney-based Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who performs aesthetic surgery of the face, breast, and body as well as skin cancer surgery.

He currently holds two consultant microsurgery positions in major Sydney hospitals performing complex microsurgical reconstruction including DIEP breast reconstruction.

After graduating from The King’s School, Dr Bish completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Sydney. After working briefly at a major Sydney finance firm, he decided to pursue his passion and long-term goal of a career in medicine. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame at the top of his class, receiving First class honours and the prestigious Bower and Sherrard medal. He then went on to complete his junior medical training at Westmead Hospital during which time he was awarded Junior Medical Officer (JMO) of the Year, as well as a finalist for NSW Doctor of the Year.

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