Possible Breast Augmentation Complications & Risks

Most common complications of breast augmentation:

    • Wrong choice of implant size. Sometimes it is too big, but more commonly too small. This can be markedly reduced by a proper preoperative evaluation as well as experience. Joseph T Cruise, MD developed the "Look You Want" interactive diagram to help his patients select the breast attributes they wish to obtain with breast augmentation surgery.  During your consultation you will also try on specially designed bras filled with various volumes that closely imitate what you could look like after surgery. This helps tremendously to determine what size is best for you. Read more in this article titled "I wish I went bigger."
    • Asymmetry and/or implant mal position. One or both sides may be affected. More frequently just one side.
    • Capsular contracture. This is when thick scar tissue forms over the implant making the breast feel hard. Read More.
    • Nipple sensory changes. This is common right after surgery but usually goes away. Often, the nipple is hypersensitive for the first 6 weeks after the procedure and may be quite erect. This will go away with time.
    • Infection. Because an implant is a foreign body, infection is always a consideration. To avoid this, most plastic surgeons use antibiotics during and after the operation as well as meticulously sterile technique. If it does occur it is possible that the implant may need to be removed.
    • Implant rupture. More frequent with saline implants. Read about possible manufacturer warranties covering ruptures.
    • Implant deflation. Occurs when a saline implant ruptures and the salt water leaks out of the implant.
    • Implant rippling. This is markedly reduced when the implant is placed under the muscle. It occurs more commonly along the lateral margin where complete sub-muscular coverage is not always possible. See our FAQ page for more information as this is explained in great detail.
    • Unfavorable Scarring. Can be a result of an uneven scar, thickening, or redness.

Other less frequent breast augmentation complications

  • Implant extrusion or rejection. When the body rejects the implant.
  • Galactorrhea. When the breast produces milk.
  • Granuloma. When tissue inflammation occurs because a silicone implant ruptures and leaks.
  • Synmastia. When the two implants touch each other in the center of the chest. Also called a uni-boob.
  • Bottoming out. This happens when there is little breast tissue support and the implant begins to move below the breast fold located at the bottom of the breast.
  • Mondor's cord. The presence of a bulging vein under your breast lobe, on your upper abdomen and breast. It is caused by inflammation of a vein.

Breast Implant Warranty 

Most women don't know that breast implants come with a manufacturer warranty. Some defects and capsular contracture may be covered with financial assistance and/or implant replacement should a secondary surgery be necessary.

Joseph T Cruise, MD most frequently uses Allergan Natrelle® Saline and Silicone Implants, however in the event a patient has a defective implant or capsular contracture resulting from another implant manufacturer such as Mentor, Sientra or Ideal, his office can assist with obtaining benefits.

Allergan offers patients the following warranty programs.

Lifetime Product Warranty -

  • Automatically applies to all recipients of certain Natrelle® saline and silicone breast implants.
  • Regardless of the age of the implant, Allergan provides product replacement in the event of deflation or rupture.
  • Your plastic surgeon can request any size or style (some restrictions apply) to replace your current Natrelle® breast implants. *a charge may apply if the new implants are more expensive than the original.*

Confidence Plus® Warranty -

  • Automatically enrolled at no charge
  • 10 years of financial assistance, up to $1,200 in out-of-pocket expenses for surgery related fees.
  • Both saline and silicone breast implants covered.
  • Lifetime product replacement due to deflation/rupture.
  • Non-cancellable terms.

Confidence Plus® Premier Warranty - $100 enrollment fee

Receive all of the benefits above, plus:

  • Up to $3,500 for silicone implants and $2,400 for saline implants to cover out-of-pocket expenses for surgery related fees.
  • At the surgeons request, Allergan will also provide implant replacement of the contralateral breast (the breast not affected by rupture/deflation).

Additional information can be found by visiting Allergan's website.

*terms subject to change at anytime per the manufacturer*

Other risks

Anesthesia risks
Joseph T Cruise, MD performs most breast augmentation surgeries under general anesthesia (completely asleep). General anesthesia carries rare, but potentially life threatening risks such as allergic reaction, aspiration,  nausea, vomiting and increased blood pressure and heart rate. The risk of something going wrong is greater among women with serious medical conditions. In these instances, it is unlikely an individual would be a candidate for breast augmentation surgery.
From time to time, Joseph T Cruise, MD may perform a revision surgery under local anesthesia (in-office, not asleep). Local anesthesia is considered very safe. The risks include headache, light headed, mild nausea, vomiting, unpleasant memories of your surgery.

General surgery risks

Even with the best breast  augmentation surgeon, there are general risks associated with having surgery.

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Seroma
  • Blood clots
  • Necrosis
  • Death

Smoking is known to increase the risks associated with surgery. There is a greater chance of infection, poor wound healing, and unfavorable scarring.  Smokers who undergo surgery are also more likely to experience heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, lengthy hospital stays or death. For these reasons, Joseph T Cruise, MD will require you to quite smoking for a period of time before surgery and after surgery. In many cases, he can prescribe a prescription for Chantix to help you get through this period without smoking.

Some complications such as ruptures/deflations, capsular contracture, symmastia, and general dissatisfaction with the result may require a revision surgery.

Protect yourself from unnecessary complications by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive breast augmentation experience. Breast augmentation may seem like a very straightforward procedure, but there are many intricacies which are necessary for a plastic surgeon to understand and be able to successfully execute to achieve an optimal result.