How Real Are These Complications I Hear About Breast Augmentation?

I am scheduled to have a breast augmentation this September. I am having pre surgery anxiety to the point of not wanting to go through with the surgery. First, I want to know how real symptoms like chronic fatigue syndrome, memory loss, depression, etc. are. How often are these complications seen? I have read about the chemical components of implants?? Is there a risk of what implants are made of?? Are there more complications from silicone vs. saline? Thanks!!

Doctor Answers 12

Complications from breast augmentation are very rare...

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and the problems you specifically mention are unheard of in my practice.  To the best of our knowledge, there no diseases that are caused by implants.  More common complications would be bleeding or capsular contracture.  Silicone has been around for 40+ years now and if there was a true link to diseases, it would likely have shown itself.  I hope you enjoy your new look for years to come!

Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Risk of Complications From Breast Augmentation

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The risk of complications is about the same between saline and silicone breast implants. The complications that you have mentioned are extreme and very rare. While resolvable complications sometimes occur, over 95% of patients are very happy with their results and would do it again, even if they have had some sort of complication. While surgery is daunting, you need not worry in the hands of an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon.

Jaime Perez, MD
Breast Implant Specialist
Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Complications of breast implants

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complications of breast implants

  • these are all very rare
  • you can review the information  at
  • google mentor implants,  allergan implants, and sientra
  • see the web link below for more info on complications and side effects

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Breast Implant complications

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I have never heard of the complications you have mentioned.  I would recommend that you seek another opinion before having this surgery.  Be sure to consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) to discuss your concerns and expectations.  Saline and Silicone gel implants are FDA approved, and have been used for 50 plus years.  Look at the Mentor website ( love your look site) for additional information on implants.  I think you will find this helpful, also.

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

Breast implant complications

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The complications that you mention would be considered extremely rare for breast augmentation surgery. The much more common risks (although still uncommon) are breast asymmetry, capsular contracture, implant malposition, and implant palpability. The difference in complication rates when using saline or silicone implants is very low. There is a slightly higher incidence of capsular contracture when using silicone implants, but this is largely due to the fact that implant ruptures with silicone implants often remains undetected until a capsular contracture forms. Breast augmentation remains an extremely safe surgery for most patients. That being said, the chance of having complications is not zero and the possibility of requiring a second breast surgery at some point is actually relatively high. Talk with your plastic surgeon and make sure that you understand fully the risks of the surgery. But don't let the possibility of having a complication keep you from following through with your plans. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

It Breast augmentation and anxiety

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First, it is common to be a bit anxious before surgery.  The symptoms you describe are uncommon although early post-op depression can occur. Usually this is transitory and gets better as you heal and feel better.  Silicone and saline have common complications such as implant rupture, hematoma, seroma, infection,malposition, and capsular contracture toname a few, but all in all are not that common.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Anxiety before surgery and about breast implants

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Breast augmentation is a completely elective, cosmetic procedure. If you have the degree of anxiety you express and fears about thoroughly studied conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, and chemical components of implants, then I would recommend that you put off or avoid the surgery for now. 

There is nothing that is implanted in the body that has been as well studied as silicone and silicone rubber (which is what the shell of both silicone gel-filled and saline-filled implants are made of). It is used for other purposes in the human body and the conditions you mention don't seem to a problem there either. In my opinion, the FDA has handled the issue of silicone breast implants politically rather than scientifically and I don't feel you can trust that something is safe or not safe because the FDA says so, but even that government body has approved the use of saline-filled and silicone gel-filled breast implants. 

One other real issue with silicone gel-filled breast implants is that we still don't have a way to easily tell if a silicone gel-filled breast implant has failed and needs to be replaced. If you are worried about knowing what condition your breast implants are in later on then you might want to choose a saline-filled implant as these will tell you if they fail and need to be replaced and are filled with IV solution (the same stuff injected into your veins during the procedure). 

If you go ahead with the surgery, I would concentrate on the small but real risks associated with implanting something into the body and the control over the expected outcome. The surgeon has to carry out the procedure properly which includes sizing the implant properly, positioning it properly, handling it properly during surgery, and filling it properly (if saline-filled). Then it has to heal properly in that position which is where the patient cooperation comes in. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Complications and breast implants

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It is completely normal to have some anxiety prior to surgery.  The complications that you list -- chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression -- are complaints that many women have which led to the FDA investigation into the safety of silicone implants in the 1990's.  All of the scientific literature has shown that there is no association between these disease processes and silicone implants.  However, no surgery is risk free.  More common risks of breast augmentation would include infection, asymmetry, capsular contracture, etc.  I would definitely recommend that you discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon prior to surgery.  He or she should be able to answer all of your questions.  Good luck!

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD
Oklahoma City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Breast Implant 'side effects.'

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It is a requirement by the FDA that we give potential patients the FDA approved information . The patient needs to read it carefully to understand the risk of silicone implants, for the most part these problems do not effect the majority of patients.

Walter D. Gracia, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

How Real Are These Complications I Hear About Breast Augmentation

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The complications you mentioned were part of a constellation of complaints that led to the withdrawal of silicone implants in the early 1990'ies. The FDA supervised extensive testing that showed no relationship of breast implants to any or the many symptoms and diseases tested. Women with breast implants did not suffer from those illnesses with any greater frequency that did women who never had breast surgery.
Complication rates are similar for silicone and saline.
Thanks for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.