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Breast Augmentation Risks

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Beauty related image Photo: Getty Images

Breast augmentation surgery with implants has been growing in popularity for many years. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has tracked cosmetic surgery statistics since 1997, and during that time the number of women seeking breast enlargement has grown more than 200 percent. In 1997, just over 100,000 women in the U.S. chose the procedure. In 2009, the number was over 311,000.

Breast augmentation is a relatively safe operation. Still, it’s best to understand the potential risks and what you can do to mitigate them.

Surgical Risks

Many of the risks of breast enlargement surgery are common to any kind of operation. Seroma (fluid build up) and hematoma (blood build up) at the surgical site are two potential complications. These can most often be managed without additional surgery. A small number of patients experience infection, which is also usually resolved fairly easily.

Other possible surgical risks include an adverse reaction to anesthesia and post-surgical blood clots. Since the time breast augmentation patients are under general anesthesia is fairly short—typically no more than two hours—these complications happen infrequently. Very rarely, poor healing and tissue necrosis can occur.

What can you do about surgical risks? First, make sure you are in good health and ready for the procedure. Your blood pressure should be under control, you should be eating a balanced diet and you should not smoke. Otherwise, choose a highly experienced, board certified plastic surgeon with an accredited surgical facility and privileges at a hospital nearby, just in case. He or she will know how to make sure the chance of a complication is minimal for you, and they’ll have the equipment and training to handle one if necessary.

Implant Surgery Risks

One possible complication unique to surgery that places foreign material inside the body is capsular contracture. In breast augmentation, it occurs when the “capsule” of tissue lining the breast pocket contracts and begins squeezing the implant.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Hi Ciao2112!

Thanks so much for staying in touch! I so appreciate hearing from you, and I would be very pleased to find out about your journey as it unfolds, no matter what you decide. If you want to keep emailing me, I'd be thrilled.

Doctors have all kinds of viewpoints on cosmetic surgery, just like everyone else. I would encourage you to get input from a variety of sources--many, actually--and continue to think about it and sleep on it. You need to make the decision that's best for you, and only you can determine that.

I know many plastic surgeons who are very talented and honest, if you want to consult one, and I can suggest places to get information on the Web if you're having trouble. It's easier to find information about surgery than about NOT having surgery, understandably, so you might consider commenting on some of the other women's comments on my original article. Maybe you could get one of them to respond to you with more information about their decision to leave their breasts as they are.

If I can help, let me know!


January 12, 2011 - 11:50am

Thank you so much for this article! I'm the one that posted about being worried about the risks on your article about tuberous breasts. I'm doing some research and I'm going to talk to my doctor soon. It is a scary issue for me, but I really want the surgery. I have a feeling my doctor is going to try to talk me out of it...

January 11, 2011 - 8:41pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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