Breast Augmentation - What Are Some Common Risks?

I am 39 years old, married, mother of 2, and considering BA (breast augmentation). Very worried about problems associated with implants. Have read and seen the horror stories. Started out being excited about bigger boobies...not so sure now. Want to really know what the risks are and how common they are?

Doctor Answers 19

Potential complications of Breast Augmentation surgery

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While breast augmentation is usually a very gratifying procedure for most women who choose to have the procedure, this plastic surgery procedure is not without potential complications. The complications that are associated with breast augmentation can be classified into immediate and long-term, as well as those associated with the surgery itself and those inherent to the implants.

The most common potential immediate complication is hematoma, which is bleeding into the breast pocket or the wound after closure of incision. This may occur within 24 to 48 hours following surgery. However, hematoma may still occur within two weeks of surgery if there is trauma to the chest. Therefore, one should refrain from vigorous activities during the first two to four weeks following surgery to minimize this risk.

Other potential short-term complications include infection, temporary asymmetry, temporary altered nipple sensation.

The most common long-term (beyond the immediate postoperative period of 4 weeks) potential complication is capsular contracture, or formation of firm scar around the implant. This contracture may distort the breast and cause pain in severe cases. Capsular contracture can be treated with capsulectomy. Other long-term potential complications include spontaneous implant rupture, unfavorable external scarring (of the incision), and asymmetry.

Fortunately, these complications occur infrequently in the hands of a well-trained plastic surgeon. I would recommend that you do your research, and make sure that your plastic surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Good luck!

Modesto Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation risks

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Breast augmentation is a very commonly performed aesthetic surgery. There are risks with any surgery but thankfully the risks of breast augmentation are low. As long as you do your research about the surgery, your chosen surgeon and all aspects of the surgery, you should be able to achieve your goals with low risks of complication.

There is no replacement for preparedness and you should undergo a comprehensive informed consent process with your plastic surgeon about the anticipated results, your alternatives - to include not having surgery - and the potential risks and complications and what will happen if they occur.

Common risks

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Common complications:
bruising, swelling and discomfort (all temporary) 
Capsular contracture
Rupture and/or deflation
aesthetic concerns (rippling, wrinkling) 

Breast augmentation is a safe procedure that has helped hundreds of thousands of women, and many love their new look and don't have any problems. Don't be scared off by horror stories, since statistics show that complications are rare.

Breast Enhancement Surgery

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The most common reason for reoperation is size change, after that the only risk that is above 1% is capsular contracture

Dr.S' top 5 main risks for breast augmentation

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There are a lot misconceptions about the complications associated with breast augmentation.  The internet has proliferated a lot of horror stories which cause woman to overestimate the rate of complications happening.


1.       The most common complication is patients that have problem with scaring. Also, a lot of these are preventable by technique and follow-up Scars fade over three months.  However, the most important thing to understand is to make sure your surgeon has many different ways that he uses to absolutely minimize the chance of a scar showing. 


2.       Asymmetry is another complication.  It is imperative that your doctor does pre-operative measurements and photo morphing to minimize post-operative asymmetry.


3.       Infection is also a possible complication.  Make sure your physician has a top notch JACHO accredited surgical center which has a documented low infection rate.


4.       Make sure you go to a surgeon who has a protocol for capsular contracture as many of these can be prevented with careful technique by the surgeon along with staff and post-operative meds.


5.       Post-operative oozing is a sign of another complication.  Talk to your physician about things he does to minimize the possibly this can happen to you.

             I hope this helps.  Dr. S

Breast Augmentation potential complications

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Every surgery has some type of risk, but Breast Augmentation is low.  There is always a chance of scar contractures.  This can happen right away or years down the road.  It is best to consult with your plastic surgeon to understand recovery.  You should follow- up with your surgeon as he recommends for the best result.  This surgery makes a lot of happy people.  Good luck to you!

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Breast Augmentation Risks

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Every surgery has some degree of risks.  With the breast augmentation, the potential risks include:


  • Bleeding


  • Seroma (Fluid accumulation)


  • Infection


  • Scarring


  • Effects form Surgical anesthesia


  • Allergic reactions such as to tape, suture material etc


  • Thrombosed Veins


  • Pain


  • Skin Discoloration/Swelling


  • Sutures


  • Asymmetry


  • Change in nipple and skin sensation


  • Damage to Deeper Structures such as nerves, blood vessels and muscles.


  • Delayed Healing


  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Comlications


  • Shock


The degree of risk of surgical complication is low. The risk can be further minimized with an experienced surgeon in a safe environment with a skilled anesthesiologist and medical staff.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Risks of Breast Augmentation

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There are risks to crossing the street or flying in an airplane and, of course, there are risks to any surgical procedure. These risks can occur regardless of surgeon or technique. These include but are not limited to: infection, hematoma, discomfort, wound breakdown, hypertrophic scar formation, asymmetry, unfavorable healing, implant infection exposure, rupture, deflation, palpability, visibility, distortion with muscular contraction, capsular contracture, interference with mammography or surgical evaluation of breast masses, interference with nipple sensation with nursing and aging, need for secondary surgical revisions, and inability to guarantee a specific cosmetic result. Although many other claims of diseases associated with silicone breast implants have been reported these have not been substantiated by major studies.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Breast augmentation complications and risks

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Some of the more common complications of breast augmentation include bleeding that requires another operation to wash out the blood, asymmetry, numbness or decreased sensation in the nipples, tenderness requiring medications.  It is incredibly rare to see an infection or a deflation (7% in 10 years) but they come up on ocassion. 

The numbness is directly related to the size difference (if you're very little and you want to go very large the nerves are going to be stretched to a degree).  Contracture is another complication that used to be much more common than nowadays.  People don't seem to get it anymore.  My suspicion is that today's implants are simply that much better than before's.  

Rarely, the scar can be more visible than anticipated.  That can be related to smoking or too much stretching or tension too early after surgery.  In general, this operation is very easily tolerated and patients are so enthused to have had it done that they move forward and look back wishing they had done it years before.

Best Wishes.

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Risks of Breast Augmentation Surgery

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With any surgery there are associated risks. The most important thing to consider before surgery is finding a board certified plastic surgeon to perform your surgery. Risks and compliccations with breast augmentation surgery ar infection, bleeding, assymetry, encapsulation, loss of nipple sensation or hypersensitivy, interference of a mammogram, rupture/leakage, inability to breast feed and inability to predict exact cup size.

Schedule a consultation with a board certified doctor to prevent risks and complications. For more information regarding the procedure you are interested in, check out and compare before and after photos of patients.

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.