What's the Approximate Death Rate for Women from Complications After Breast Augmentation?
- Asked 2 years ago
I read a report on MSNBC about a cheerleader who died after she had her breasts done. What are the fatal complications?
Any surgical procedure carries risk, but the risk can be managed
The only case I know about that sounds like the one you mentioned was from 2008 in Florida. Although I could not find out much other than what was published at the time, reports when it happened were that she died from a condition known as "Malignant Hyperthermia". That condition is hereditary, and reflects a severe sensitivity to anesthetics.
Malignant Hyperthermia is rare, and most surgeons (and surgery centers) have never seen it, although we all know about it. It can occur with IV sedation, and even with local anesthesia when combined with anesthetic gasses. In my mind, the most important thing you can do to mitigate this risk, as well as all of the other risks of anesthesia, is have your surgery at a surgery center where they are ready to deal with it if it occurs. Aside from supportive care, the most important aspect of treatment is a large amount of a very expensive drug. Unfortunately, the drug also has an expiration date, and needs to be replaced periodically, even if it is not used. Therefore, not every surgery center may have it on the premises.
That is one of the reasons why a larger surgery center, especially one associated with a hospital, may be a good choice. In addition to having all of the drugs that may be needed, and being under far higher scrutiny than any independent surgery center or doctor's office, a larger surgery center is likely to have more professionals available to help deal with an unexpected problem.
I would also say that I disagree with the notion that IV sedation is safer than general anesthesia. Most anesthetic problems result from difficulty with the airway, and there are not as many choices in dealing with the airway, and not as much control of the airway, when a patient is not under general anesthesia. For myself, when I was having my colonoscopy, I selected general anesthesia because I truly believe that it is safer than IV sedation, at least when conducted by a physician anesthesiologist in a busy, well run, and well stocked surgery center.
However, even if you and your anesthesiologist choose IV sedation, I would recommend that you use a physician anesthesiologist, who is there during the entire procedure, and who is ready to convert to general anesthesia if needed. This is not the right place to cut corners to save a few dollars.
Death after cosmetic surgery extremely rare
The reason you heard about it on TV is because it is an attention-getting story: that should tell you something. There is almost always "more to the story" when you hear about problems like this--poor preparation, poor monitoring, an unusual patient reaction. Michael Jackson died from propofol administration, but the drug is excellent and used hundreds of thousands of times monthly in the US--but used safely.
Find a reputable surgeon whom you trust. That is your best insurance.
Total IV anesthetic eliminates the risk of malignant hyperthermia.
This patient died from malignant hyperthermia, a complication of a traditional general endotracheal anesthetic. It may be avoided with a total intravenous anesthetic. In my practice, this is the only way we perform cosmetic surgery, so that this rare but potentially fatal complication is eliminated as a risk. It's a good question. Medical personnel understand that a safe anesthetic is as important as choosing the right surgeon. So you are well advised to go to a surgeon who uses total IV anesthesia.
Web reference: http://www.swansoncenter.com
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What's the Approximate Death Rate for Women from Complications After Breast Augmentation?
The unfortunate young lady who died had a complication of anesthesia and her genetic make up not from the breast implant. It was a complication by being placed under general anesthesia. Just to put a perspective on the situation.
Augmentation mammoplasty complicaions
In over 30 years of being a plastic surgeon ,and having done nearly a thousand of breast enhancement , I personally ,am not aware nor have I heard a death due to or as a result of complications of augmentation mammoplasty. Of course any surgery has some risks, however if it is done by a board certified plastic surgeon in a safe & controlled environment the chance of dying as a result of undergoing augmentation mammoplasty is hunred times less than getting killed in an auto accident. You should not worry about this extremely low risk ,if you are considering to have an augmentation mammoplasty.
Web reference: http://www.mahjouricosmeticsurgery.com/
Infinitesimal risk of death from breast augmentation
Without being redundant, the risk of death from a breast augmentation is exceedling remote as made clear by the several answers from the responding plastic surgeons. In general, the cause would be most likely related to problems associated with anesthesia.
Let's look at this from a different perspective. Risks for problems will be increased when the training, experience,etc. of the operating surgeon is substandard. Those who have not been trained in plastic surgery and are performing cosmetic surgery would be examples - such as internist, gynecologists, etc.
Having the procedure performed in a non certified facility or having non-qualified anesthetists or anesthesiologists will also increase your risk for problems including death from anesthetic related issues. Virtually all of these problems are preventable when proper precautions are taken and there is proper training.
The bottom line: using a board certified plastic surgeon for your cosmetic surgery will help minimize your risks compared to the alternatives.
Web reference: http://www.turkeltaub.com
Breast augmentation risks
I can't think of a single case in the UK where a woman had breast implants inserted and died as a result, and I think that's because safety is our first priority in elective cosmetic surgery.
Breast Augmentation and the Risk of Death
The risk of dying during surgery for breast augmentation is extremely rare and is primarily associated with the risk of anesthesia used during the procedure. The death rate of having anesthesia is about 1.5 in 1,000,000. To put that in perspective the death rate associated with riding in a car in the United States is 350 in 1,000,000. To minimize risk make sure you are seeing a properly trained plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Just as important is that you have your procedure done at an accredited ambulatory surgery center or hospital that would be able to handle an emergency in the rare case when that is necessary. You don't want to have your surgery in the a back room of someone's office despite the "cost savings" that may be presented.
Web reference: http://www.drhamawy.com/breast/augmentation-westchester-ny/
Breast augmentation surgery is very safe
Breast augmentation surgery done with intravenous sedation is a very safe procedure. This anesthesia technique avoids the complications (although exceedingly rare) of a general anesthetic, such as malignant hyperthermia.
Web reference: http://www.scottsattlermd.com
Fatal complications after breast augmentation?
Although I do not have a number for you in terms of risk, in the 26 years I have been in practice, I am not aware of any fatal complications after breast augmentation certainly in my own practice or that of any of my board-certified colleagues here in Seattle or for that matter of my colleagues across the country. Certainly any surgery has risks. If someone were to have a fatal complication after any cosmetic surgery, it would almost certainly be due to anesthesia problems such as the extremely rare malignant hyperthermia, an unrecognized underlying medical problem such as silent heart disease, or the very rare risk of pulmonary embolus which is a known risk with any surgical procedure, though exceeding rare after a relatively short procedure such as breast augmentation. Many of the problems you read about with severe patient illness or death following cosmetic surgeries occurs with doctors who are not properly trained and not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, in operating rooms without proper certification, and with anesthesia provided by individuals who are not properly trained to deal with problems that may arise. I mention malignant hyperthermia as an anesthetic risk, but keep in mind that I have worked with a large number of anesthesiologists over the past 26 years who also work at our large and very busy local hospital, and so far not one of them has ever in their 20+ year practices seen a case of malignant hyperthermia, so although these cases may occur, and it is important that any surgical facility have the medications and protocols to deal with it, the risk is probably less than getting hit by lightening.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.