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5 Health Risks of Breast Augmentation

The number of breast augmentation (also known as breast enlargement) surgeries in the United States each year has tripled since the 1990s, with more than 300,000 women undergoing the procedure in recent years. While around 95% of women say that they were happy with the results of their own surgeries, there are still a number of health complications that can occur during or after breast augmentation. If you’re considering the surgery, below are just a few of the most pressing risks to keep in mind.

  1. Surgical Complications

    As with any medical procedure, there is always the risk that something will go wrong during your augmentation surgery. The most common of these issues include bleeding, inflammation, and infection. While these risks are minimal, they can still be life-threatening if they occur, and because breast augmentation is typically an elective procedure, many women find they are unwilling to take that chance.

  2. Breast Cancer Detection

    Breast implants have the potential to interfere with the imaging done during a mammogram, which means that there’s the possibility of a delayed breast cancer diagnosis. In a study published by the American Medical Association, researchers found that 55% of tumors went undiagnosed in women with breast implants—which is a full 20% higher than with women who didn’t have implants. Keep in mind that this risk only applies to women with implants and not women who have augmented their breasts with fatty tissue.

  3. Implant Rupture

    Breast implants are not lifetime devices, which means that there’s a chance that they will eventually rupture. Saline implants are filled with salt water, and there’s no indication that exposure to it will harm you, but research is still inconclusive as to the health risks associated with silicone implants leaking into the body. Regardless of the type of implants you use, a rupture almost certainly means you will need follow-up surgeries, which will just open you up to the potential for more health risks.

  4. Hematoma

    Hematomas are pockets of blood that form inside a wound, and they occur in about 5% of all breast augmentation surgeries. While this condition does not pose a lethal risk, they are typically extremely painful and don’t respond well to pain medication. In some cases, you will need additional surgeries to drain the collection of blood.

  5. Lower Back Pain

    Adjusting to the extra weight from an augmentation surgery can be difficult for some people. This procedure often negatively affects their posture and can lead to lower back pain that worsens over time. Many women find that the only way to avoid this back pain is with near-constant attention to the alignment of their spine.

Last Updated: June 28, 2016