Breast augmentation: rare but serious risks

Breast augmentation: rare but serious risks
Photo by philippe spitalier / Unsplash

There are two rare but serious risks of breast augmentation I thought warranted a dedicated article. To emphasise their importance. I care like that.

As always, it's best to see the best surgeon possible to reduce the risk of side effects in general.

But also because they'll have the up-to-date knowledge needed to provide the safest treatment possible and give you the best results.

Without further ado.

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

Although the risk of this is very low, there is an association between some types of breast implants and a type of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

This cancer is most associated with breast implants with textured surfaces.

The lifetime risk of this is estimated to be 1:2,207 – 1:86,029.

This is NOT breast cancer. This is a type of cancer of the immune system.

This cancer is usually found in the scar tissue around the implant, but it can spread throughout the body.

Despite the low risk of this complication, it is serious and can be potentially fatal. However, it is usually treated successfully with surgery to remove the implant and surrounding scar tissue. Some people also undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Breast implant illness

This refers to a range of symptoms that some people get after getting breast implants.

Not much is known about it since it’s still early days in the research world. It’s not known for sure how common it is but it’s certainly worth knowing about.

Theories include it being caused by an inflammatory reaction to the implant, the surgery itself, or possibly by bacteria on the surface of the implant, resulting in an infection. But we don’t know for sure.

Symptoms include:

  1. Musculoskeletal issues – joint pains, muscle pains, muscle weakness
  2. Cognitive issues – anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, fatigue

Breast implant illness is usually treated with removal of the breast implants.

Many studies show that removing breast implants improve symptoms almost straight away. But not everyone gets better.

It’s always best to discuss this with your surgeon.