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Biggest risks of breast augmentation

Biggest risks of breast augmentation

In most situations patients are happy with the results of their breast augmentation. With careful planning it is very rare that something goes wrong. But where there is surgery there will always be some degree of risk. So, what are the risks and what can go wrong after a breast augmentation? We have asked our leading plastic surgeon Mr Colin Riordan what his 16 years of experience and training can tell us about this often not talked about subject.

Additional surgeries

Suppose you are not satisfied with your result. It is not, according to you, the right size or shape. You wanted bigger breasts. In this case you may need an additional surgery to change the implants. Fortunately, additional surgeries as a result of the patient being dissatisfied by the size or shape of her new breasts are very rare as we use modern bio dimensional planning to select the correct implant. All according to the patients’ desires and body dimensions as well as state of the art 3D Vectra Imaging (the only one in Ireland) to visualise the outcome of the surgery beforehand.

Of course even with meticulous planning and analysis there is always a small risk of the patient desiring a different size or shape after the surgery.

The breast tissue hardens around the implant

Capsular contraction is scar tissue that forms around the implant and squeezes the implant, which can alter the shape, make the breasts feel harder and in some cases cause discomfort and pain. In this case you may need another surgery to remove the capsule and have your implants replaced. Generally, the risk of this complication occurring is around 3% but it can occur anytime from a few months to 20 years or even longer after the original procedure took place.

Rupture with deflation of saline-filled implants

Rupture is a tear or hole in the outer shell of the breast implant. When this occurs in a saline breast implant, it deflates and leaks from the shell. The longer you have a breast implant, the greater the chance of implant rupture. If there is clear evidence that the implants have ruptured removal of the implants (saline-filled or silicone gel-filled) would normally be recommend. You and your doctor will need to decide whether or not you should have them replaced or removed without replacement. With modern implants less than 1-2 % of patient’s experience implant rupture over 10 years.


Download our guide: All you need to know about breast surgery ››



Infection, bruising and swelling can occur after any surgery.  Most infections are minor but have to be taken seriously as very rarely (less than 0.3%) the infection can involve the implant and may require the implant to be removed for a period of a few months to allow the infection to completely settle before reinserting the implant. It is normal to have some bruising and swelling after the surgery. Do not worry, this is perfectly normal and in most situations will disappear after a week or two. If not, it’s best to consult with your surgeon who will advise and take care of you.

Rotating implant

Theoretically an anatomical shaped (tear drop) implant can rotate and change the shape of the breast. With modern surgical technique this is very rare (less than 1%) but if you think it has occurred it’s best to see your surgeon for a check-up.