Long-term complications of breast implants

 Long-term complications of breast implants

Women can learn vital information about uncommon but major adverse events from the biggest research on breast implants to date. A breast implant is a prosthetic used to alter a woman's breast size or form. While some women choose breast reconstruction to restore a natural-looking breast following a mastectomy, others select breast implants to feel more at ease in their bodies. A mastectomy is carried out by a surgeon to remove breast cancer tumors.

Saline solution and silicone gel are the two most well-liked and FDA-approved breast implants (determined by their filler substance). While the silicone implant employs a silicone shell that has already been prefilled with viscous silicone gel, the saline implant uses a silicone shell that is surgically filled with a sterile saline solution.

History of breast implants

Silicone breast augmentation has not always been well-received by the FDA. The FDA came to the conclusion in 1992 that the evidence at the time was insufficient to sustain approval. Gel-filled breast implants for people undergoing breast reconstruction were not impacted by the ruling; these implants were viewed as experimental medical devices that needed more research and clinical testing.

Saline-filled breast implants were given FDA approval for augmentation in women 18 and older and for restoration in women of any age in the early 2000s. Instead, the clearance for silicone gel-filled breast implants was only good for a certain set of patients having augmentation, reconstruction, or revision surgery at a specific set of locations.

Later, in 2006, the FDA authorized two manufacturers of silicone gel-filled implants. Silicone gel-filled breast implants were made available for the first time for augmentation, reconstruction, and revision. Manufacturers are required to carry out post-approval studies to confirm efficacy and safety.

An uncommon form of lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma was linked to breast implants in 2011, according to a Safety Communication from the FDA (a cancer of the lymphatic system).

The FDA thought that women having breast implants may be at risk of getting the condition based on an evaluation of the clinical data.

Risks of breast implants

Breast implants can cause a number of issues and adverse effects, such as:

Implant complications

The local issues and negative effects that affect at least 1% of breast implant patients at any one moment are listed below. To address any of these, you could require future surgeries or non-surgical procedures. You should talk to your doctor about any complications you may have and the required care.

Breast asymmetry refers to an imbalance in the size, shape, or level of the breasts.

Breast Pain: Aching in the breast or nipple region.

Breast tissue atrophy: Skin that is getting thinner and smaller.

Hard lumps under the skin around the implant are caused by calcification or calcium deposits. During mammography, they may be misinterpreted for malignancy, necessitating extra surgery.

Capsular Contracture: Tightening of the tissue capsule surrounding an implant, which causes the breast to become firmer or harder and, in more extreme cases, to squeeze the implant.

Chest Wall Deformity: The underlying rib cage or chest wall seems to be distorted.

Deflation: Leakage of the saline solution (salt water) from a saline-filled breast implant, frequently as a result of a valve leak or a rip or cut in the implant shell (rupture), with a partial or total collapse of the implant.

Delayed Wound Healing: The incision site does not heal properly or heals more slowly.

Extrusion: The skin tears, allowing the implant to poke through.

Hematoma: An area of blood collection close to the surgical site. may result in bruising, discomfort, and edema. Hematomas typically develop just after surgery, however, they can develop whenever the breast is injured. Small hematomas may be absorbed by the body, while larger ones could need medical treatment, including surgical draining.

Iatrogenic Damage/Injury: Damage or injury to tissue or an implant brought on during implant surgery

Contamination, such as toxic shock syndrome: occurs when wounds are infected with bacteria or fungus, for example. The majority of post-operative infections manifest within a few days to a week, however, infections can occur at any time. The implant might need to be removed if an infection does not go away after taking medications.

Inflammation/Irritation: the body's reaction to an illness or damage. Redness, swelling, warmth, soreness, and/or a loss of function are the symptoms.

Swollen or swollen lymph nodes are a sign of lymphedema or lymphadenopathy.

Displacement: The breast implant is not in the proper position due to malposition or displacement. In the event that the implant moves or shifts from its initial position, this may take place both during surgery and thereafter. Gravity, trauma, or capsular contracture are a few examples of causes that might result in shifting.

Necrosis: Dead breast-area skin or tissue. Infection, the use of steroids in the postoperative breast pocket, smoking, chemotherapy, radiation, and severe heat or cold therapy are all potential causes of necrosis.

Changes in Nipple/Breast Sensation: An improvement or deterioration in the sensation in the nipple and/or breast. might range in strength and be either transient or permanent. may have an impact on breastfeeding or sexual response.

The implant is palpable it can be felt through the skin.

Ptosis: Breast sagging that often results from pregnancy, weight loss, or normal aging.

Redness/Bruising: During surgery, bleeding can affect the color of the skin. This is a typical side effect of surgery and is probably just transitory.

Rupture: A rip or hole in the outer covering of the implant.

Seroma: A fluid-filled area surrounding the implant. may result in bruising, discomfort, and edema. Small seromas may be absorbed by the body. A surgical drain will be necessary for large ones.

Rash on the skin: A rash on or around the breast.

Unsatisfactory Style/Size: The patient or doctor is not happy with the final appearance due to the implant's style or size.

Visibility: Through the skin, the implant is visible.

Rippling: The implant is wrinkling, and it is visible through the skin or can be felt.

Additional surgeries

Breast implants are not regarded as lifelong medical equipment. The likelihood that they may experience problems, some of which will need further surgery, increases the longer patients have them. There is no assurance that any reoperation will result in a good cosmetic result for you.

The kind of surgery done during a revision operation depends on the complication at hand. Over the course of your life, you could require one or more reoperations because of a single local difficulty or a confluence of local issues. A single reoperation may include the completion of many procedures.

Capsular Contracture

The hardening of the breast tissue surrounding the implant is known as capsular contracture. One or both implants' surrounding tissues may experience it. The tissue becomes tighter as a result of this hardening, which may be uncomfortable.

Capsular contracture may be more prevalent with infection, hematoma, and seroma. Capsular contracture's origin is unknown, though. Capsular contracture is categorized into four levels or Baker grades.

Grade I: Breasts are typically supple and appear natural.

Grade II: Breast appears normal but is a touch firm.

Grade III: Firm and atypical-looking breasts

Grade IV: The breast is painful, hard, and abnormal-looking.

Deflation and Rupture

A rupture is a rip or hole in the breast implant's outer shell. Possible reasons for breast implants to rupture include:

Contracted capsule.

During mammography, and compression.

Surgical tool damage.

Damage caused by breast-related operations including fluid draining and biopsies.

Implant aging is normal.

Saline-filled breast implants that are either overfilled or underfilled.

Physical pressure or trauma are examples of physical stressors.

Placement through an incision site is not permitted by the FDA, such as the belly button.

Excessive handling throughout the operation.

Breast cancer, connective tissue disease, and reproductive issues

Breast implants filled with silicone gel have not been linked by the FDA to connective tissue illness, breast cancer, or reproductive issues. However, some patients who have both saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants have reported experiencing systemic symptoms to the FDA (see below). Studies that are larger and longer than those carried out thus far are necessary to completely grasp these problems.

Breast Implant Illness (BII)

Breast implants may cause symptoms including tiredness, memory loss, rash, "brain fog," and joint discomfort. These signs may be referred to by some patients as breast implant sickness (BII). To learn more about the causes of these symptoms, researchers are looking into them. It is unclear what causes these symptoms and how they manifest. Breast implant sickness symptoms have reportedly been reversed in some instances by removing breast implants without replacing them.


Breast augmentation patients can breastfeed effectively in certain cases but not in others. Due to the loss of breast tissue and milk-producing glands, women who have mastectomies followed by breast implant reconstruction operations may not be able to breastfeed on the side that was surgically altered.

Effects on Children

It is unknown at this time if a tiny quantity of silicone might leak from the breast implant silicone shell into breast milk when nursing. A study measuring silicon (one of the components in silicone) levels found no evidence of higher levels in breast milk from women with silicone gel-filled implants when compared to women without implants, despite the fact that there are currently no established methods for accurately detecting silicone levels in breast milk.

Concerns have also been expressed about the possible negative effects on children born to moms who have received implants. Children born to moms who underwent breast implant surgery have no higher risk of birth abnormalities, according to two human studies. Although a third research noted low birth weight, other factors (such as decreased pre-pregnancy weight).

Women may want breast implants to assist them to get the size, shape, or level of their breasts that they think would be more aesthetically pleasing. But it's crucial that women who choose to proceed are fully aware of the risks and repercussions.

While most breast implant surgeries go without a hitch, there is a potential that anything may go wrong at any point following the treatment, so long as the implants are still in place.

When deciding whether to have breast implants or not, a lady should do her research on the surgeon, the surgery, and any possible hazards.

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