Risks & Complications

  • How to Report Problems With Medical Products to the FDA If you or someone you know has had an adverse event after taking an approved drug, you should report to the FDA. Here’s how.
  • Capsular Contracture The most common complication of breast implants is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue tightens around the breast implant. This can cause the implant to harden and become very painful.
  • Breast Pain, Redness, or Swelling As with any surgery, augmentation patients should expect to feel pain immediately after surgery. However, pain that lasts for months or longer can have many different causes and requires treatment. It can be a sign of an infection, especially if the pain is accompanied by redness, swelling, and tenderness.
  • Rupture If a breast implant tears or develops a hole, it is called a rupture. Some ruptures happen during the first few months, but the older an implant is, the more likely it is to rupture.
  • Autoimmune Symptoms and “Breast Implant Illness” Breast implant companies were required to complete safety studies before they could sell their implants in the United States. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved breast implants, they admitted that “studies would need to be larger and longer” to find out if implants could cause the kinds of symptoms and diseases many women were reporting, such as joint pain, “brain fog,” fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms that don’t go away. These health issues seem to be caused by autoimmune or connective tissue problems, and many women with these and other symptoms refer to them as “breast implant illness.” Breast implant illness is not a medical diagnosis and most plastic surgeons reject the term. However, many women with this pattern of health problems report that they recovered dramatically (sometimes completely) after their breast implants were removed.
  • Interference with Breast Cancer Detection Breast implants make it more difficult to detect breast cancer. If you are considering getting breast implants or already have breast implants, it is important to know how they can make mammography and breast exams less accurate.
  • Infection Infections can happen after breast augmentation surgery if bacteria get into the incision site. These infections can be serious. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening complication from bacterial infections, has been reported following breast augmentation surgery.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Concerns Pregnancy can cause drastic changes in breast size and shape, so having implants may affect the shape of breasts after the baby is born. Women with breast implants may find it difficult to produce enough milk due to pressure on the milk ducts from implants or damage to mammary glands or ducts during the implant surgery.
  • Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare form of cancer of the immune system. Experts now agree that women with breast implants are more likely to develop ALCL. Since it will develop in the breast area, it is called Breast Implant Associated-ALCL (BIA-ALCL).
  • Extrusion, Pain, and Cosmetic Complications Extrusion, or when a breast implant comes through the skin and becomes exposed, is an uncommon, but dangerous, complication of breast implant surgery. In addition, the added weight of breast implants can strain the muscles in your neck, back and chest, resulting in pain and poor posture.