Some pain is normal after breast surgery and is generally accompanied by bruising, swelling and numbness. However, for some women, this pain does not go away. Such stagnant pain can be indicative of underlying complications, which can range from mild to severe. Knowing the risks for complications and what symptoms to watch for can help you identify and remedy a complication quickly.
Normal Pain with Breast Augmentation
Pain such as bruising, swelling, numbness and discomfort is common after the operation. You might experience bruising for up to two weeks, according to the Smart Plastic Surgery site. In addition, if your breast implant was placed below the pectoralis muscle, you will experience swelling for two to 12 weeks. If above the muscle, swelling might last up to two weeks. Your numbness can pass quickly, leaving at one to two weeks. For overall discomfort, expect one to two weeks of mild to moderate discomfort if your breast implant is above the muscle. If below however, you may experience severe discomfort for one to two weeks.
Severe Complications and Symptoms
One of the most common complications of breast augmentation surgery is capsular contracture, or the hardening of scar tissue around your implant. There are four grades of capsular contracture, which vary in their involvement of treatment. Capsular contracture is characterized by mild to severe pain and the appearance of round ball-shaped breasts that look different from each other. Your breasts are also likely to feel very firm. Capsular contracture is diagnosed in four grades, which vary in the level of severity and treatment. Ruptures, another complication, vary in symptoms based on the implant. If you have silicone implants, you might feel pain, tenderness, tingling, burning, lumps and decreased or uneven breast size, according to the Breast Implant Info site. If you have saline implants, you might feel chest pain, breast rash and change in breast size. Ruptures can be caused by factors such as implant defects or implant aging and require removal. If you have redness, fever or rash, this might be an infection. Infections will require implant removal.
Other Complications and Symptoms
Common complications include size and placement of breast implants. Improper size can be painful, but it can be remedied by the removal of the current implant and the insertion of a smaller cup. In addition, placement of the implant either above or below the pectoralis muscle can cause different complications. Complications, such as capsular contracture, are more likely to occur when the implant is placed above the muscle. However, the risk of local complications is lower.
Pre-existing health conditions can put you at a higher risk of developing post-operation complications. These health issues range from diabetes and diseases of the heart, liver or lungs, to family history of blood clots and poor circulation, says the Smart Plastic Surgery site. Smoking also increases your chances of complications. Try to quit at least two weeks prior to the surgery and remain a nonsmoker throughout recovery, according to the site.
Implants can rupture at any time. However, the older implants get, the more likely they are to break or leak, reports the Breast Implant Info site. In fact, most rupture by the time they are 10 years old. Ruptured implants should be removed as quickly as possible. This is especially true for silicone-based implants because the gel can leak into healthy tissue and spread to areas such as the lungs. In some cases, silicone leakage can require you to remove breast tissue or undergo a mastectomy. Your physician can identify a rupture via an MRI.