Breast Augmentation (Breast Enlargement)
Is It Right for You?
Breast augmentation can increase a woman's breast size by one or more bra-cup sizes. The results are long-lasting, but it's important to note that breasts may still sag after pregnancy, weight gain, or from the natural effects of gravity. Some women undergo a "breast lift" to restore their figures. Like all other surgical procedures, breast augmentation carries risks, including the following:
Capsular contracture: This occurs when scar tissue around the implant hardens and squeezes the implant. Breasts may feel hard, skin may ripple, and breasts may change shape. Capsular contracture can also be painful. Surgery may be necessary to remove scar tissue or the implant itself.
Nerve damage in breast: This may cause numbness in nipples or breast tissue. These effects are usually temporary, but can be permanent in some women.
Uneven results: Breasts may be slightly different from one another in size and shape after surgery (as they often are prior to surgery, as well).
Damage to implants: Routine activity or injury can cause implants to leak or rupture. If a saline-filled implant breaks, the body absorbs the contents harmlessly. Over time, however, the implant may harden, shift, or change shape. Surgery may be necessary to remove the implant or replace it.
Infection: Though uncommon, this can occur one to two weeks after surgery. In rare cases, the implant will have to be surgically removed.
Excessive bleeding following surgery: This may lead to swelling and pain. If bleeding continues, another operation may be necessary.
Complications with future mammography: Breast implants can hide abnormal breast tissue or lesions during mammography, making breast-cancer screening more difficult. Be sure to find an x-ray technician experienced with breast implants. Squeezing the breast to obtain high-quality images may lead to rupture of the implant. Your doctor may also require additional views, ultrasound, or an MRI.
Excessive milk production: There is no evidence showing that breast augmentation impedes nursing, fertility, or pregnancy. However, if you have nursed a baby within a year before surgery, your breasts may produce milk a few days after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe medication to stop milk production.
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