Breast implant extrusion is a rare complication that occurs when the prosthesis comes through the skin. Typically, the underlying cause is poor wound healing or breast tissue weakness; hence, risk factors must be recognized and eliminated prior to surgery to achieve good results.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgery expert Dr. Tarick Smiley has explained the fundamental guidelines to prevent or at least minimize risk of breast implant extrusion.
- Respect the patient’s underlying anatomies
Using breast implants that are too big for the patient’s anatomy, particularly relating to chest dimension and soft tissue coverage can lead to increased risk of breast implant extrusion, poor healing, rippling, palpability, and a wide range of problems.
To prevent most known implant-related complications, Dr. Smiley measures the breast and chest width to determine the most ideal breast implant size range, profile, and base dimension.
- Prevent or treat immediately signs of infection
Infection can lead to wound not healing/closing properly that the implant comes through the skin. Fortunately, there are several steps to minimize risk of infection such as irrigation of the breast pocket with antibiotic solutions prior to implantation, use of oral antibiotics a few days postop, and complete cessation of tobacco products and medications with blood thinning properties (aspirin and ibuprofen).
Patients should also know the telltale signs of infection such as increasing pain, persistent swelling, fever, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy has an effect on breast tissue and thus may increase the likelihood of breast implant extrusion. A good rule of thumb is to wait for the body to recover fully from its effects before reconstructing or augmenting the breast with synthetic prostheses.
- Meticulous closure of wound
To further minimize risk of breast implant extrusion, the celebrity surgeon closes the wound in several layers to protect the implants. Additionally, he ensures that the uppermost layer of the skin wound edges are just allowed to kiss each other to promote the best scar possible. Tapes or steri-strips are then used to hold the wound together and to minimize “superficial” tension, further promoting favorable scarring.
- Over-exertion during the initial phase of healing
Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise particularly involving the upper extremities must be avoided for a few months to prevent healing problems and breast implant extrusion.