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Breast implants have become increasingly popular over the years, serving both cosmetic and medical purposes. Whether it's for breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, after mastectomy, or even gender transition, this type of surgery offers a transformative experience for many. However, like any medical procedure, breast implants come with their own set of risks and potential complications. Being aware of these risks is not just advisable—it's essential for your long-term health and wellbeing.
Here, we shed light on the key signs of breast implant problems. Recognising these signs early can make a significant difference in your treatment options and overall health. So, whether you're considering getting breast implants or already have them, we will educate you on what to look out for to ensure your implants remain a positive part of your life.
While breast implants can offer life-changing benefits, they are not without their drawbacks. Understanding the common reasons behind breast implant problems can help you stay vigilant and take timely action if issues arise. Here are some of the most prevalent causes of breast implant illness:
Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. Over time, the materials can degrade, leading to potential problems such as leaks or ruptures. It's generally recommended to have implants checked or replaced by a plastic surgeon every 10 to 15 years.
The skill of the surgeon plays a crucial role in the success of the implant procedure. Surgical errors can lead to improper placement, asymmetry, or even immediate complications like infection.
This occurs when the scar tissue around the implant hardens, causing the breast to feel unnaturally firm and sometimes leading to discomfort or pain. Capsular contracture can distort the shape of the breast and may require surgical intervention.
A rupture happens when the implant shell breaks or tears. This can be due to physical trauma, ageing of the implant, or even surgical mistakes. The symptoms and severity depend on the type of implant and the extent of the rupture.
Though rare, infections can occur after the surgical procedure and may require immediate attention. Signs of infection include redness, swelling and fever. If not treated promptly, an infection can lead to more severe complications.
Understanding these common reasons for breast implant problems allows you to be proactive in your healthcare journey. Regular check-ups and consultations with healthcare providers can help monitor the condition of your implants and catch any issues before they escalate into severe problems.
Recognising the early signs of breast implant problems is crucial for timely intervention and effective treatment. Below, we delve into the various symptoms you should be aware of, categorised into physical symptoms, visual signs and sensory changes.
Pain or discomfort
Unexplained pain or discomfort in the breast area could be a sign of a problem like capsular contracture or even a rupture. If the breast pain either persists or worsens, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider.
Swelling or inflammation
Noticeable swelling could indicate an infection or fluid accumulation around the implant. Immediate medical attention is advised in such cases.
Change in breast shape or size
Any sudden or gradual change in the shape or size of your breasts should be a cause for concern. This could be due to a leak or rupture in the implant.
Lumps around the implant area
The presence of lumps could signify a range of issues, including capsular contracture or (in rare cases) a tumour. A thorough examination is necessary for a proper diagnosis.
If you notice fluid building up around the breast area, it could be a sign of infection or a ruptured silicone implant. Drainage might be required, along with other treatments.
Wrinkling or rippling of the skin
Visible wrinkling or rippling of the skin over the implant could indicate a problem with the implant itself or the tissue surrounding it.
Redness or rash
Skin redness or the appearance of a rash could be signs of an allergic reaction or infection and should not be ignored.
If one breast appears significantly different from the other in size or shape, it could indicate a problem with one of the implants.
A loss of sensation in the breast area could be due to nerve damage during surgery, or from pressure due to capsular contracture.
A tingling or 'pins and needles' sensation could be a sign of nerve involvement and should be evaluated.
Loss of sensitivity
Decreased sensitivity could be a temporary post-surgical symptom, but if it persists, it may indicate a problem that needs attention.
Being aware of these key signs can help you take prompt action if you experience any issues with your breast implants. Early detection often leads to more effective treatment options, so don't hesitate to consult a healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms.
The importance of regular medical check-ups cannot be overstated when it comes to maintaining the health and longevity of your breast implants. However, knowing when to seek immediate medical advice is equally crucial.
It's advisable to have regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor the condition of your breast implants. These appointments often include physical examinations and may sometimes require imaging tests to ensure everything is as it should be.
If you experience symptoms of any of the key signs discussed in the previous section, especially if they are new or worsening, it's imperative to consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early detection of problems can lead to more effective and less invasive treatment options.
After the surgical procedure, close monitoring is essential, especially during the first few weeks. Any signs of infection, unusual pain or other symptoms should be reported immediately.
Depending on the type of implant and your medical history, your healthcare provider may recommend routine imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound to check the integrity of the implants.
Even if the symptoms you experience don't directly relate to your breasts, but you feel unwell or notice changes in your overall health, it's wise to consult a healthcare provider. Some complications may manifest in ways that are not immediately obvious.
If you suspect that your breast implant issues may be the result of medical negligence, it's crucial to know that you have legal avenues to explore. Negligence could range from surgical errors and improper aftercare to failure to inform you adequately about the risks involved. Here's how to go about seeking legal help:
The first step is to consult a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence cases. They can provide an initial assessment to determine whether you have a viable claim.
Collect all relevant medical records, photographs and any other evidence that can substantiate your claim. This could include pre-operative consultations where risks and complications should have been discussed, as well as post-operative care records.
We will recommend getting an independent medical examination to provide an expert opinion on your case. This can be a powerful piece of evidence to support your claim.
If you decide to proceed, your solicitor will guide you through the legal processes, which may include negotiations for an out-of-court settlement or, if necessary, taking the case to court.
If your claim is successful, you could be entitled to compensation. This could cover medical costs for corrective procedures, emotional distress, loss of earnings, and other related expenses.
Be aware that there are time limits for making medical negligence claims, usually within three years of the incident or from when you first became aware of the negligence. Therefore, it's advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If you have experienced problems following breast surgery and think they are the result of negligence, talk to our expert cosmetic surgery negligence team today. Call 0808 189 7703, or request a call back by completing the contact form.