Mo Salhab MD, MRCS, MS, PG Dip, FRCS

Oncoplastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Breast Surgeon 

Private Sec:          01274550842

Clinic Bookings:   01274550620

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Risks & Complications of Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation has for many years been the most common cosmetic procedure in the UK which is testimony to its safety and ability to achieve a satisfying outcome in most patients. However, no surgical procedure is without risk.  During your consultation I will discuss with you all the potential complications that could occur after breast augmentation surgery. Also specific complications in relation to the type of the implant and shape and special considerations will be discussed.

Recognised implant risks are:

  • Bleeding and haematoma formation ( blood collection) rarely occurs (less than 1%). The patient will feel tightness and enlargement of  the breast. This complication requires  the patient to be returned  to theatre in order to stop the bleeding and evacuate the haematoma.

  • Infection is rare (less than 1%) typically occurs during the first week after surgery. Implant infection can be a serious complication and requires removal of the implant for the condition to settle down.

  • Loss of feeling in the nipples or breast tissue occurs in about 15% of the patients. This complication is due to nerve damage. Often this is temporary, but it may be permanent in some women

  • Changes in the nipple appearance or position, this is usually occur due to scarring and adherence of the nipple to the implant. Submuscular placement of implants reduces this risk.

  • Implant wrinkling or rippling

  • Implant rotation 


  • Capsular contracture. This condition is one of the most common problems caused by breast implants. It occurs when scar tissue around the implant hardens and begins to squeeze the implant. Capsular contracture can cause rippling of  the skin and hardening and change of the breast tissue, some patients also report ache or even pain in severe capsular contracture. Smoking, infection, bleeding, previous capsulation and smooth service implants are recognised risk factors of capsular contracture. Revision surgery is sometimes needed to remove the scar tissue and exchange the implants. The newer designs of implants have features to reduce the likelihood of this complication happening.

  • Implant rupture or leak, surgery may be needed to remove the implant and replace it

  • Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare sub-type of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). It is one of four sub-types of ALCL which has been found in association with breast implants in a small number of cases world-wide.

    The aetiology is unknown but one of the most plausible current theories on causation of BIA-ALCL is that it is related to the biofilm. A biofilm is where bacteria are attached to an implant surface and surrounded by a protective layer of glycoprotein. They are difficult to treat and can lay dormant for years. It is theorised that BIA-ALCL tumour cells might be derived from a sustained T-cell immune response to the bacterial antigens in biofilm, but as yet there is no substantive evidence this is the case.

    If BIA-ALCL is caught early treatment is usually surgical and curative, by complete removal of the capsule and implant.

Further information on Breast implant risks: Click here 

Breast Implants

A breast implant consists of an outer shell and a filling material which is most often silicone gel or sometimes saline (salt water). Some implants are round and others are shaped more like a natural breast referred to as tear drop or anatomical implants. Either can give excellent results. I will discuss with you the one that best suits your desired breast size and your expectations.  Round implants give a fuller appearance of the upper part on the breast while tear drop implants give a more natural looking breasts and can help to reduce a small degree of breast sagging.

Breast augmentation is performed by placing an implant either under the breast tissue or behind the muscle on which the breast lies. Implants are usually inserted through incisions in the fold under the breast. This approach is commonly used and considered the one to place the silicon gel implant.  The operation is performed under general anaesthesia and last about 1.5 hours.

During the operation you will be given a dose of antibiotics to prevent infections. The wounds will be sutured with dissolvable stitches and dressed with waterproof dressing so you can shower normally after you go home. You would be expected to stay at the hospital for one night.