Do you want to improve the appearance of your chest?
Breast augmentation is the leading surgical procedure performed globally. The latest statistics from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) show that 1,348,197 women have undergone this procedure, and it even could be more as intervention numbers are only gathered from those ISAPS members who responded to the survey.
Short term complications from this surgery, such as capsular contraction, are infrequent but they may occur. Other causes for a follow-up breast surgery are dissatisfaction with the volume (the most common cause in all the series), implants’ bad quality, or changes in the form or volume due to factors such as aging, pregnancy and menopause.
As surgeons we must be increasingly prepared to perform what is known as breast augmentation secondary surgery. The more experienced the surgeon, the easier it will be for the patient if they require a reintervention after a breast augmentation and now have problems. In addition, secondary surgical procedures are more complex and are therefore not dealt with in low cost clinics (as they are not economically profitable).
At Antiaging Group Barcelona, we perform interventions in around 25 cases a year with implant problems, these include patients who were operated on in other clinics. The risk of capsular contraction or rupture is not related to the surgeon performing the implant or the technique used. They are known complications of implants.
When faced with implant rupture the first step will be to determine whether this is intracapsular (i.e. limited to the implant shell which has been isolated by a layer of collagen fibres called a capsule) or extracapsular (if the silicone has leaked from the shell and is visualised in the mammary gland). Ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) investigations will be required for this. An axillary exam will also be required as it is not uncommon for the silicone to migrate and for the axillary lymph nodes to be found full of silicone. When dealing with an intracapsular implant we would usually change the implant after having carefully cleansing the cavity. The capsule will be removed (capsulectomy) when dealing with a non-cohesive gel prosthesis (up to and including 3rd generation prostheses) and extracapsular rupture. There is no consensus over the procedure required if there is silicone in the axillary lymph nodes, but we will remove the affected lymph nodes for histology investigations. For capsular contraction the operation will include a total capsulectomy and change of implant. In these cases we prefer to substitute these with micro polyurethane implants which have a 10 year contraction index of only 3%.
For cases of rupture or capsular contraction, if the patient does not want implants again and has enough fat available, a fat-graft injection can be performed. Fat does not give the effect of an implant as it does not push or ‘project’, but if there is sufficient volume we can remain somewhere between having nothing (simple implant removal) and a new implant. It is a very good alternative for women who do not want to be waiting for an implant and a potential repeat intervention.
We are a leading clinic in breast augmentation surgery and in surgery for complications of breast augmentation. Besides, we include ISAPS coverage in every single cosmetic surgery, for your peace of mind. Should you be interested in being evaluated by our experienced doctors, please book an appointment and we’ll help you.
He worked at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona where he worked as a specialist in Plastic Surgery and repaired for 16 years.
Fifteen years ago, together with two other professionals, he founded Antiaging Group Barcelona, at the forefront of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery. He has developed professionally in the field of care, research and teaching, being his fields of interest facial surgery, breast surgery and body contouring with implants.
In breast surgery is a specialist in transaxillary breast augmentation and secondary breast surgery. He has introduced the use of ultrasound in Plastic Surgery and recently the use of 3D implants in thoracic malformations.
In general, we can say that there are no clear symptoms in an implant rupture. In some cases there may be a change in the shape of the breast or lumps in the breast, asymmetries or changes in its firmness.
If you suspect that there has been a rupture of one of the bags you should make an appointment with your plastic surgeon, who will perform a breast ultrasound. In our hands we can diagnose a rupture with this system in 95% of cases. If a rupture is observed, he may recommend an MRI to better understand the extent and details.
Given the absence of symptoms, it is necessary to have a review of silicone implants every year or two years to check that they are still in perfect condition.
There is no relationship between rupture and breast cancer. To date, no significant relationship has been found between implant rupture and autoimmune or connective tissue diseases, so rupture is not considered a threat to women’s health.
Once it is known that the implant is ruptured, surgery must be scheduled. However, it is not an emergency. It can be deferred for a while. It is best to discuss it with the surgeon.