Breast Implant Risks and Side Effects

Before undergoing any surgical procedure, a patient should be aware of the risks and side effects associated with their surgery. The following complications may arise during the course of breast augmentation/breast implants surgery:

Bottoming Out

If there is little breast tissue to support the implant after breast augmentation surgery, bottoming out may occur. This is where the implant displaces and sinks to the lower portion of the breast. Bottoming out may lead to asymmetrical nipples and breasts, which would require correctional or revisional surgery.

A leak or rupture

No matter the type of the implant material chosen, there is always a risk of the breast implant accidentally leaking or rupturing. A leak or rupture may occur for many reasons: an unexpected impact to the chest, a defect in the implant, daily stress, or most often, spontaneously without a direct cause. With saline implants, a leak or rupture will be immediately noticeable because the implant will deflate, similar to a balloon . A silicone implant leak is not as visibly obvious and can go unnoticed for years, which can be quite dangerous; the longer that a leaked silicone implant goes unchecked, the more time it has to travel throughout the body from the breast to the lymph nodes or even the lungs, where silicone is impossible to remove. For the safety of all silicone implant recipients, the FDA recommends that an MRI be performed after the first two years, and every three years thereafter. Whether saline or silicone, all leaking or ruptured implants need to be replaced. Insurance, however, may not always cover breast implant revision surgery.


As is standard with any kind of surgery, blood clots (hematoma) may happen. Depending on the patient’s medical history, this can be extremely dangerous for certain individuals.

Decreased Detection of Breast Cancer

Some studies show that breast implants can hide tumors, which may lower the chances of a mammogram’s effectiveness in finding breast cancer. To scan breasts that contain implants, a specially trained and experienced technician must carry out the mammogram. This typically costs more, takes longer, and must expose more radiation to the breasts.


Sometimes fluid can accumulate around the implant, needing to be drained. In rare cases, additional surgery may need to take place.

Capsular Contracture

The body naturally forms scar tissue around the implant after surgery. However, if this scar tissue growth becomes excessive, the implant may tighten. This may be slightly uncomfortable to extremely painful. It will also cause changes to the shape of the breast. If this occurs, depending on the severity of the situation, surgery is the only way to correct it.

Other notable risks include

• Reaction to anesthesia
• Visible scarring
• Infection
• A lack, or complete loss, of nipple and/or breast sensitivity
• Rippling (indentations on the breast caused by implant movement)

Upon a thorough consultation and examination with a breast implant expert, the doctor should be able to determine if you are at risk of experiencing these problems and side effects. To reduce your chances of complications, be open and honest with your surgeon regarding your medical history and lifestyle habits.

Another way to prevent complications is by selecting a talented plastic surgeon who specializes in breast implants surgery. If you are careful in choosing the right physician, you shouldn’t fear the chance of doctor error. Look to Using Your Smarts: Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon for more helpful tips.

For more breast implant information, and to share your own thoughts on the breast augmentation procedure, please visit the breast implants forum.