Early stage breast augmentation surgery complications include:
1. Hypertrophic Scarring - This is a very thick, raised, red scar that develops after surgery. Hypertrophic scarring may require treatment with additional operations or steroid injections into the scar.
2. Hematoma - It is a pocket of blood inside the wound. It usually occurs within 2-3 days after surgery. Hematoma symptoms are swelling of the breast and severe pain that does not respond to pain pills. Treatment includes putting a tube in the breast to drain the blood. This procedure often requires a trip back to the operating room. Sometimes, if the collection of blood is small, no treatment is required and the body is able to clear the hematoma on its own.
3. Seroma - In the days or weeks following the surgery, fluid can collect around the implant, causing pain or swelling. This can be thought of as "blister fluid." It may leak from vessels damaged during the surgery and form a collection. Usually, the fluid can be removed carefully by a needle and does not require additional surgery. However, this technique of draining the seroma with a needle also may create a hole in the implant leading to implant deflation.
4. Wound Separation (Dehiscence) - A relatively rare complication within the first 2 weeks where the edges of the wound separate resulting in an open wound or possibly exposure of the implant. This can be solved by using Steristrips to close the incision, or may require additional surgery.
5. Infection (Cellulitis) - This complication occurs usually from bacteria that normally live on the skin. Most surgeons will give a single dose of antibiotics before the surgery, and use an antibiotic solution in the wound before implant placement to help reduce the chance of infection. Symptoms of infection include pain, redness, swelling, and fever. Doctors may treat this complication with antibiotic pills.
6. Mondor's Disease - This is an inflammation of the blood vessels that run under the surface of the breast. Fortunately, this condition requires no additional treatment and will go away on its own.
Later stage breast augmentation surgery complications include:
1. Asymmetry (difference in size or shape between breasts) - Usually, the differences between the breasts can be improved during surgery, but occasionally the breast can become even more asymmetric after the operation and additional surgery may be required to improve this problem.
2. Contour problems - These may be seen before or after breast augmentation. Although implants usually improve breast shape, contour irregularities may persist or worsen after the operation requiring additional surgery to correct them.
3. Capsular Contracture - Once an implant has been placed, cells called fibroblasts make scar tissue to surround the surface of the implant. The scar tissue that forms around the implant is called "connective tissue" or the "fibrous capsule" and is responsible for keeping the implant in place. This capsule can sometimes thicken and contract. This squeezing of the implant can cause shape changes, hardening, or pain.
4. Altered Sensation or Feeling - Most women have some decrease of breast/nipple feeling or sensation following surgery. For women with these changes, feeling often returns after 6-12 months. Loss of feeling to areas besides the nipple is common as well, though within a year most patients return to normal.
5. Deflation or Rupture - Implants that are placed in the subglandular position and implants larger than 450cc are at greatest risk for deflation. If this complication occurs, additional surgery is required to replace the implant.