Thousands of women choose to enhance their breasts with implants every year, and although much is known about breast augmentation, there are still many misconceptions and questions about the implants themselves. Before you schedule your breast augmentation, it is wise to familiarize yourself with breast implants.
1. Are Breast Implants Permanent?
Breast implants are long-lasting, but they are not permanent. While most reports consider the lifespan of an implant to be somewhere between 10 and 15 years, this is not always the case. Some women experience complications during the first two or three years, and others report healthy implants their entire life. While there is no way to know exactly how long your implants will last, there is a reasonable chance you will want to replace or remove them at some point.
2. Which Implant Material Is Better?
Women can choose between saline or silicone, round or anatomical, and smooth or textured. There is no right choice when it comes to implant material; it is all a matter of personal preference. Saline implants are more likely to have rippling felt on the sides of the implant and are not as natural looking or feeling. Silicone implants have the benefit of looking and feeling more akin to a natural breast and are more popular today than saline implants. Silicone implants are available in traditional, medium cohesive, and highly cohesive (“gummy-bear”). The level of cohesiveness of the gel determines how soft the implants will feel once it has been inserted. “Gummy-bear” implants are filled with the thickest gel, and hold their shape very well, even in the event of a rupture. Once again, this is a personal preference, as one is not inherently better than the other. Breast implants are also available in smooth or textured surfaces. Textured implants are recommended after capsular contracture or with anatomically shaped implants because the textured surface limits the amount of movement in the breast pocket. Silicone implants are approved for women over the age of 22.
3. Can Breast Implants Break?
Both saline and silicone implants have sturdy silicone shells that protect the inner contents, allowing them to withstand a significant amount of trauma and pressure. The most common cause of implant rupture is capsular contracture. All patients develop some amount of scar tissue, known as a capsule, to naturally wall off the saline or silicone implant, which is normal. If the scar tissue becomes excessive, it can make the breast hard and can eventually rupture the implant. This usually takes several years to develop. But before you worry too much, capsular contracture with or without implant rupture is not nearly as dangerous or complicated to fix as you may expect. If a patient is experiencing capsular contracture with or without a ruptured implant, the treatment is to remove the scar tissue and implant and replace the implant.
4. Can I Breastfeed With Implants?
Breastfeeding after augmentation is a common question among many women who choose the procedure before having children. There are various incision options available through which to place your implant, and the choice of incision may affect breastfeeding. Breastfeeding relies on undamaged milk ducts. When an implant is placed through the inframammary incision (under the breast) or the transaxillary incision (in the armpit), there is typically no interference with the milk ducts. This allows for the ability to breastfeed. When an implant is placed through the periareolar incision (around the nipple), there is a chance that the connection between the milk ducts and the nipples will be damaged. However, even if no damage occurs, there is still a chance that breastfeeding may be difficult, as some women cannot produce milk, regardless of whether they have had surgery or not.
5. Are Breast Implants Safe?
Over the years, millions of women have enhanced their breasts with implants. Implants are FDA approved for safe and long-lasting usage. As with any operation, post-surgical complications include infection, hematoma (where blood collects around the implant), capsular contracture (where scar tissue forms and contracts around the implant), and changes or loss in nipple sensation. While complications are possible, they are not common, and breast implants do not affect cancer risk or cancer screening.