I feel it is important that anyone having surgery with me is aware of the possible negative sides of surgery and understands the small but real risks. The following paragraphs cover what happens when things occasionally don’t go as expected.
Like all surgery there are risks of complications whoever does your surgery. It is important you are aware that many of the problems you may get after your surgery, if they are treated promptly, most have no obvious effect on the final outcome.
It is unlikely your breasts are totally symmetrical before surgery and there may be a small degree of asymmetry after the operation. (If it is a big difference then a surgical correction can be discussed).
All operations have a risk of bleeding. In Capsulectomy / Exchange there is a small risk that there may be bleeding inside the operated breast leading to a collection of blood (haematoma), which needs to be removed under an anaesthetic (less than 5%). Infection is rare and antibiotics are given around the time of surgery to reduce the risk. Infected breast implants can sometimes be rescued but once they are infected there is about a 50% chance treatment with them in wont work and the implant will need to be removed. Some people form bad scars (about 2%) and these can be troubling for a while although often respond to treatment over several months. Swelling of one or both breast may happen due to the accumulation of a seroma (straw coloured fluid). This may happen days or weeks after the surgery and may need further surgery. This is rare.
There may be some numbness of the skin, this will normally get better over a period of time but there is a small risk of small areas of permanent numbness.
As this is a surgical procedure to deal with appearance no guarantee can be given to the final appearance, but if we agree it is an unsatisfactory result correction will be offered at no additional cost.
Risks particular to breast surgery are problems with nipple sensation which may be lost or significantly reduced and breast feeding which may not be possible following the surgery. These problems can be permanent.
Sometime the implant can be felt easily ,or the edge be visible under the skin. This is mostly a problem with very thin people. It is not very common, although after the procedure there is less cover over the implant as the capsule has been removed
Other problems include problems with wound healing under the breast which responds in the main to dressings and has little if any impact on the final result.
Some people are worried about breast cancer or arthritis with breast implants. Screening for breast cancer needs to be done by someone with expertise in breast implants, but the rate of breast cancer in women with implants is lower than in women without implants. The arthritis / silicone question has been answered by a number of very good studies and no relationship or increased risk has been found.
Implants can have problems with the capsule around the implant becoming tight over time and this is more likely if you have already had a capsule. This may lead to the implant wrinkling and being visible as rippling or the implant edge may be visible or able to be felt. It may even be necessary to change the implant and release the tightness. This may take a number of years and affects about 10-15% of modern implants.
Some people may have long term pain or discomfort in the breast area.
There have been 71 reported cases in the world of a type of lymphoma (blood cancer) called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. Each year about 1 million breast implants are put in around the world. The risk is between 1 and 6 people getting the problem for every 3 million breast implants.
All operations have a small risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), chest infection and Pulmonary embolism. Death following elective surgery is exceptionally rare (1:250,000 in fit and well people)