Breast Implant Complications

Top cosmetic surgery procedures 2013

With breast augmentation being the most common procedure amongst woman with 11,123 operations completed in 2013 it only seems natural to reflect this in my design. According to the BAAPS last year saw a 13% rise in woman having breast enlargement surgery in the UK. These stats are extremely high and there is no doubt that some will have encountered complications and so I am intrigued to find out what they may have had to deal with.

Rupture

‘A rupture is a split that occurs in the implant’s casing. A rupture can be caused if:

  • the implant’s shell (which holds the silicone or saline) gets weaker over time
  • the implant is damaged during the operation
  • there is a flaw in the implant
  • the breast is injured

When implants were first developed, they had very thin walls and rupturing was a common problem. However, modern implants that have been used in the UK since the 1990s rupture much less frequently.

If your implant ruptures, it is recommended that you should have it removed and replaced with a new one.

If you have a saline (salt water) implant, any leakage from the implant should not cause you problems. As saline is a sterile, salt water solution, your body is able to safely absorb it. However, if you have silicone implants, the silicone that leaks out of a ruptured implant may cause problems, such as siliconomas or a gel bleed (see below). You may be expected to pay for any special investigations needed to confirm a suspected implant rupture.’

Infection and Bleeding

‘Following breast implant surgery, infection and bleeding are relatively rare, occurring in less than 1% of cases. Internal bleeding is also unusual.

However, if you are having an implant fitted for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy (breast removal) you may have a greater risk of infection and bleeding.

Most infections can be treated using antibiotics. However, if your breast becomes severely infected, you may need to have the implant removed to prevent further complications developing. You should be able to have the implant re-inserted after the infection has cleared up.

However, it is important that the implant is not re-inserted too soon, as this can increase the risk of infection. Waiting a minimum of three months after the implant was removed is usually recommended.

Some research suggests your risk of infection and bleeding may be increased if you smoke, because your wounds will take longer to heal. The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) recommend you do not smoke before your operation in order to reduce the risk of developing complications.’

Siliconomas

‘If you have a silicone breast implant that ruptures, the silicone may spread outside of the scar capsule and into your breast. This can lead to small lumps developing that are known as siliconomas.

Siliconomas can be tender to touch and if they are causing significant pain they may need to be removed. In rare cases, the silicone can spread to the muscles under your breast, your lymph nodes (glands) under your armpit or around the nerves to your arm.’

Gel Bleed

‘Gel bleed occurs to some degree in all breast implants, and has recently been a problem with PIP breast implants.

It is where small molecules of silicone polymer separate from the surface of the implant and are taken up into the surrounding tissues or lymphatic system (the network of vessels that help the body fight infection and are found in several places around the body, including in the armpit).

If the silicone molecules get into the lymphatic system, they may cause your lymph nodes (glands) to become slightly swollen. This is usually a minor problem, although in some cases the enlarged lymph nodes can become uncomfortable.’

Silicone Implant Safety

‘In recent years, the safety of silicone breast implants has been debated. A small number of women have reported serious complications following silicone gel breast implant surgery. These complications include:

  • muscle spasm and pain
  • swollen and painful joints
  • rashes
  • changes in eye and saliva fluid
  • hair loss

It was thought these complications occurred as a result of silicone gel leakage that spread to other parts of the body.

In response to these concerns, the Department of Health set up an independent review group to investigate the safety of silicone implants. The group found no scientific evidence to support the relationship between silicone implants and illness in women.’

(source: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Breast-implants/Pages/Complications.aspx)

Above are just some of the dangers that the NHS have listed on their website, however there are so many more. It’s obviously not the safest of operations so why do patients and doctors alike treat it so lightly? It seems to me that there are great risks connected to having a ‘boob job’, and even though the information is out there I’m not sure that everyone considering the dangers as much as they should.

On looking further into problems patients have found, I came across this headline ‘Botched surgery leaves woman with uniboob’. The victim was a 40 year old woman from the US who has had this operation several times and was going under the knife again for some routine maintenance, unfortunately this is what she was left with.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 16.42.52(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/27/botched-surgery-uniboob_n_983390.html)

 

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