Despite the health concerns that the procedure may cause, breast implant surgery continues to be a popular elective surgery. However, it is important for those considering implant surgery to fully understand the potential health risks that this procedure can cause.
As with any surgery, implant procedures carry risk from infection, scarring and loss of sensitivity or sensation. With breast implants procedures, a poor outcome is also possible. For example, the implants may not appear even or uniform, may have a lumpy texture or otherwise not meet expectations. Fluid deposits may also develop around the implant as a result of the body healing from the procedure. Some fluid may go away, but some deposits may need to be drained from the breast.
Over time, additional problems can develop with the implant. This includes implant failure, the development of scar tissue and the onset of loss of breast and nipple sensitivity or even pain. Some bodies may react to the implant with a hardening of the skin that can make the entire breast feel tight and painful. Implants can fail over time, losing both size and shape and leaving patients with a very unnatural appearance. With or without failure of the implant, most women will need some type of follow up surgery in the years after having implants. This follow up surgery will again expose the patient to all of the possible health risks of the first surgery.
Though there is no definite scientific data that implants cause an increased chance of breast cancer, the implants do make detection of cancer more difficult. Implants make it difficult to feel lumps and also make it difficult for doctor to read mammograms that may otherwise show a cancerous growth. In fact, the side effect of the implant making the detection of cancer more difficult may be the most serious risk from implants. Additionally, implant surgery can cause false positives due to deposits developing in the breasts. These deposits may appear to be cancerous tumors, but are actually relatively harmless.
Surgical risks vary somewhat depending on where the procedure is performed. Implant surgery can be performed in a variety of settings from a hospital to a local aesthetic clinic which specializes in this type of procedure. While a clinic may be more experienced in a particular type of procedure, hospitals will have more experience dealing with unforeseen complications. A patient having a procedure performed at a clinic should make certain that the clinic has a working relationship with a local hospital in case of a surgical or anesthetic issue.