Breast Implant Awareness,
What You Need to Know
March is National Breast Implant Awareness Month, making it a valuable time to provide information to women who have breast implants and those considering them.
Breast augmentation procedures are among the most popular plastic surgery interventions. Therefore, education needs to be a crucial component of the decision-making process.
Before committing to surgery, there are many factors to consider, including risks and how breast implants can affect your overall health.
Health Risks Associated with Silicone Gel Implants
There are two types of breast implants available in the U.S.
Saline Implants: Which consist of a silicone outer shell filled with sterile saline solution
Silicone Gel Implants: These implants also have a silicone outer shell. However, the filler is a silicone gel
After breast implants were approved, the FDA continued to study the long-term effects on human health. A recent study published in the Annals of Surgery analyzed the data and found some alarming adverse effects regarding silicone gel implants.
Researchers discovered that patients with silicone gel implants had a higher risk of developing severe illnesses, including:
- Sjogren Syndrome – an autoimmune disorder that causes dry eye and dry mouth
- Scleroderma – a condition that causes the immune system to attack the connective tissue under the skin and around organs and blood vessels, causing scarring and thickening of the tissue
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – a chronic autoimmune disease that damages the joints causing painful inflammation and joint deterioration
- Melanoma – a type of skin cancer
Silicone gel implants are also more likely to cause a condition known as capsular contracture, where scar tissue forms around the implant, which can result in a distortion in the shape of the breast and chronic pain.
On the other hand, Saline solution implants are more prone to rupture and therefore may require more frequent replacement.
Other Considerations to Take into Account
While breast implants might improve how you see and feel about your body, you should know that opting for breast augmentation has limitations and may require more health screenings and checkups.
- Implants Don’t Last a Lifetime – On average, the life span of an implant is ten years
- Breast implants Can’t Prevent Your Breasts from Sagging – Skin elasticity and muscle tone will decrease as you age. As a result, your plastic surgeon may recommend a breast lift to correct sagging breasts
- Implants Can Interfere with Your Routine Breast Screenings – If you have implants in addition to your regular mammogram, you will need additional specialized screenings
- Breast Implants May Interfere with Breastfeeding – While some women have no issues breastfeeding their babies after breast augmentation surgery, others do encounter challenges
- You May Require Additional Surgery After Breast Implant Removal – If you decide or are forced to remove your implants, you may need a breast lift or other corrective surgery to restore your breast appearance
- You Need to Have Regular Silicone Implant Rupture Screenings– the FDA recommends you get a breast MRI five to six years after your breast augmentation surgery to screen for possible silicone implant rupture. After this initial screening, you will need to have routine breast MRIs every two to three years.
Before committing to breast implant surgery, it’s always best to schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN to discuss the possible ramifications of the surgery on your overall health.
When was the last time you had a checkup at the Women’s OBGYN Center?