What Are The Long-Term Risks Of Having Breast Implants?

Q: I would like to know some information for breast augmentation. Specifically I need to know about the recovery time as well as any long term problems associated with breast implants.

A: Depending upon what kind of work you do affects recovery time after breast augmentation. For a less active sit-down occupation, one could return to work with 5 to 7 days. For more physical or strenuous activities, it may take 10 to 14 days until one is completely comfortable with those efforts. There are no restrictions after surgery other than one’s level of comfort. I place my patients on range of motion arm exercises beginning the first night after surgery. The more and the sooner you move your pectoralis muscles, the quicker you will recover and feel better. Breast augmentation is essentially two big pulled muscles. Like rehabilitation from any muscular injury, early active range of motion is important.

While breast augmentation is exposed to all of the traditional risks of surgery (infection, bleeding), those risks are relatively small. The biggest concept to grasp about breast augmentation is that it is an implant-driven operation…meaning that most of the risks long-term are related to having an implant. One has to recognize that the implant is not going to last forever, they will eventually ‘fail’ and need to be replaced. This is not a maybe, it is a certainty. It in just a question of when it will occur. On average, many patients experience 10 to 20 years of use before replacwmwnt of one or both becomes necessary. So one needs to bear in mind that all breast augmentation patients will over their lifetime have more than just the initial placement surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana