Breast augmentation, otherwise known as getting breast implants, is a pretty common cosmetic surgery nowadays. Everyone has heard of it, everyone has seen the results, and breast implants are no longer considered taboo or kept hidden.
The surgical procedure is straight forward: breast implants are placed under the breast tissue or chest muscles with the goal of changing the breasts' size and shape. (Learn How to Choose the Best Breast Implant Size and Shape for Your Body Type.)
Countless celebrities have tried it, and their openness about breast augmentation has inspired many people from all over the world to get it done, as well. Those who want voluptuous bosoms are encouraged by the popularity factor and choose to change their appearance in the name of fashion and self-love.
But just because breast augmentation is so popular, does that mean it's a simple and safe procedure? (Learn more about these 8 Things You May Not Know About Breast Augmentation.)
If you’re considering getting breast implants, or even breast reconstructive revision, sometimes the amount of available information can be unhelpful, confusing and overwhelming.
So here’s a simple, straight forward breakdown of the myths, risks and misconceptions about breast augmentation.
It's Not Just Breast Augmentation; Every Surgery Has Risks
We like to categorize surgeries as “safe” and “dangerous”, but the truth is, although some are more high-risk than others, all surgeries are risky. Being put under general anesthesia, which means that you are essentially put into a medically induced coma, carries risks of its own. Although it happens rarely, rendering your brain unresponsive can cause permanent damage.
Even simple surgeries can go wrong. Infections may occur, irreversible damage might be done during the process, complicated conditions are discovered that the surgeons weren't aware of can lead to lasting damage or even death. Although low-risk surgeries rarely end in tragedy, surgery is never something to be taken lightly.
Did You Know All Breast Implants Contain Silicone?
There are two types of breast implants: saline and silicone. Their names are deceiving, though, as saline implants' outer shell is made of silicone, just like in silicone implants. The difference lies inside; saline implants are filled with saline or sterile water. The look and feel between the materials is different, too.
Consult with your surgeon when deciding which option is best for you.
Misconception: Breast Implants Don't Prevent Sagging
A common misconception that leaves a lot of people disappointed is that breast implants will both enlarge and lift your breasts – they will not. Round, tear-drop and low-profile breast implant types change the size and the shape of your breasts, but they don't help with their natural tendency to sag.
If you have sagging breasts, you will need to do a breast lift as well, which is a separate procedure. Quite often augmented breasts will begin to sag over time, just as natural breasts would, and people get a breast lift as an additional correctional procedure.
Myth: Implants Are Permanent and I won't Require Breast Implant Revision Surgery
Another myth-debunking that tends to leave women disappointed is the fact that breast implants aren’t permanent. In fact, it is very hard to say how long the new look is going to last, but the average life of a breast implant is 10 years. Your breasts, even though they have artificial implants in them, aren't immune to the changes the rest of your body goes through, and will be affected by aging and weight fluctuations. Breast implant revision is a real possibility.
Did You Know Implants Can Be Removed?
If you change your mind after getting breast implants, it's possible to have them removed. However, you'll be going under the knife once again, and our bodies shouldn't be put through the strain of surgery so often - which is another reason to consider the implications carefully before deciding on the surgery.
An important note to keep in mind is that your breasts will not revert to their original size and shape after removing the implants – they will change slightly, and you may need reconstructive breast surgery to improve their appearance.
Did You Know Implants Affect Mammograms?
Breast implants definitely interfere with cancer detection. The x-rays used in mammograms can’t see through silicone, which means certain areas of the breast aren't able to be screened and a cancerous mass may go undetected for a long period of time. This issue can be solved by getting additional screening done, during which the implants are shifted around.
The procedure can be quite painful, as the doctors make the effort to move the silicone mass around and scan all the areas of the breast. There's also a risk of rupturing the implants.
Myth: Ruptured Implants Aren't Harmful
It's true. Breast implants can rupture due to different circumstances, like pressure, mammograms, accidents or any kind of stressful physical activity can cause the implants to rupture. This could have serious consequences if the content of the implants causes an infection or spreads toxins throughout the rest of the body.
Misconception: Implants Won't Affect Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can be hindered by breast implants. While doctors are aware of this issue nowadays and try to make the implants as compatible with breastfeeding as possible, you won’t know for sure to which extent the process will be hindered by the implants until you actually start nursing. Some women don’t experience difficulties, while others are unable to pump the proper amount of milk, which can cause complications.
If you are nursing with implants, it’s recommended to consult your doctor who will help guide you through the process.
What We've Learned
There are a lot of strong breast implant supporters – the prominent visible change in their appearance has done wonders not only for their figure, but for their self-esteem as well. But then others tend to focus on the horror stories of botched breast implants and warn people about all the risks and possible complications the surgery brings with it. Some might even go as far as to speak out against the procedure publicly.
It's important to consider all of these risks and benefits and discuss them with your own doctor before making any final decisions on what to change about your body.