Breast Augmentation: Risks and Recovery Tips

Breast implants are used to increase the size and alter the shape of breasts or make them more even.

Surgery involves cutting the skin either below the areola or beneath the breast, creating a pocket underneath as well as possible dissection of the pectoralis muscle, and placing the implant. The surgeon will stitch up the cut again before applying proper dressing to the breasts.

In the United States, breast augmentation was the most popular surgical procedure last year. It has been one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for years worldwide. Following breast enhancement procedures, many women report gaining greater self-confidence and feeling happier, as well as being ecstatic about the results. Having breast implants is not a decision to be taken lightly, however. In addition to the fact that the results cannot be guaranteed, the procedure can also be expensive.

Besides keeping an eye out for the possible risks and complications of the procedure, some procedures can backfire and cause more complications than you signed up for. In this article, we will explore the two common procedures in detail, examine some complications that may occur, and provide a few preventive tips.

Silicone gel implants

A silicone gel implant is the most popular procedure for breast augmentation. Silicone is formulated in a laboratory, consisting of chemicals like silicon, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Previously it was considered a safe substance, so it was widely used by surgeons in breast implants and cosmetic surgery.

These polyurethane-coated implants are said to reduce the chance of rotation or scarring affecting the shape of the implant. However, when a soft gel silicone implant ruptures, the silicone may leak into the breast tissue, resulting in silicone granulomas. Should the implant rupture, you’ll need to undergo the silicon injection removal procedure. In addition, these implants can also cause temporary skin reactions. 

Using silicone implants as an injectable filler has been strongly warned against by the FDA. In addition, they suggest having an MRI 3 years after placement and then every two years after that. These screening MRIs are not typically covered by health insurance. In general, implants will last 10 to 15 years, requiring replacement at least once during a person’s lifetime.

Saline solution implants

These implants use a salt-water saline solution. If the implants rupture, the saline solution can be safely absorbed by the body or ejected. As compared to the silicone implant, the saline solution implant is much easier to get noticed when ruptured. This is because when the saline solution leaks out of the shell, it will seem as if the affected breast has suddenly shrunk compared to the other breast.

Common breast implant complications

Now that we have discussed the top two procedures let’s look at the common complications. Any surgery requires a recovery period to heal any wounds and help the body adjust to any changes made. Breast augmentation is no exception. One can feel pain, swelling, bruising, and tightness in the chest immediately following surgery. While the pain is only temporary, the tightness can linger for a few weeks.

You must also prepare yourself for some risks. Even the best doctors often fail, and the surgery does not go smoothly. People often experience problems and complications after the surgery. Here are a few common ones:

  • Scarring that is thick, noticeable, and does not fade away
  • Scar tissue shrinks around the implant, causing hardening of the breast tissue
  • Small bumps called silicone granulomas can form when the implant ruptures and leaks
  • A noticeable crease or fold in the implant
  • Implant rotation within the breast
  • “Rippling” of the implant, caused by a thin layer of tissue
  • Implants that become infected and need removal
  • Breast-feeding difficulties or reduced production of breast milk
  • Having unsatisfactory results and requiring further surgery
  • A nipple injury caused by nerve damage

Damage to the nerves in the nipples can make them less sensitive, or they may lose all feeling altogether. Some women may only sustain temporary damage, while others may experience permanent harm.

These less common side effects of breast implant surgery include:

  • Excessive bleeding during surgery
  • Reaction to anesthetics
  • Blood clots in veins

It is crucial that a person researches implant options and their potential complications and select the most suitable one for them.

How To Recover?

Patients may be better prepared for a life-changing experience if they learn beforehand what to expect post-surgery and how long it will take to recover fully.

How long will full recovery take?

The recovery time for every woman is different due to her unique body. However, the majority of surgeons agree that a complete recovery takes about six weeks on average, and women will feel as good as new after about a week.

Tips for a smooth recovery

Following your breast enhancement, you need to do a few things.

  • Invest in recovery bras

It is normal to feel sore and swollen for some time. Nevertheless, you should invest in one or two recovery bras to help reduce the pain and accelerate the healing process. In addition to providing postoperative comfort, these garments provide implant stability, enhanced blood flow, and slight compression to assist with lymphatic drainage.

  • Make sure your home and wardrobe are ready for the procedure

During the first week following surgery, you will experience the most difficulty, so it is better to do all of your housework, clothing shopping, and meal preparation beforehand to relax later.

  • Ask for assistance

Ask your friends or partner to help you after the surgery, especially if you have children. In the weeks following your procedure, you may not be able to pick up your children, so arrange for assistance as much as possible.

  • Rest and Take care of your diet

Take time to rest and make sure your kitchen is equipped with healthy foods and hydrating drinks to help you recover quickly. Keep light, simple meals handy since you will likely be sore and tired.

  • Keep a lookout for healing responses

Now that you have a solid understanding of the topic keep an eye out for any symptoms that seem out of place. Be aware of how your body responds to healing. A person who has undergone surgery should know how to recognize wound infections/breakdowns and hematomas (bleeding through the skin).


Knowing what to expect during the recovery process will give you the confidence to undergo the procedure, and you’ll be able to handle both your enhanced new profile and the recovery process successfully. Therefore, professionals recommend that you ask as many questions as possible or voice any concerns you may have before making a decision.

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