Is breast augmentation safe must be one of the most common question associated with this plastic procedure, a not without a good reason.
Breast augmentation surgery is the most sought after plastic surgery procedure in the world, so, given the statistics, it so no wonder many women still debate about the actual safety of this procedure, mainly because many conflicting information floating around.
If you are one of them, and want to know how safe is breast augmentation, what are the known and the lesser known risks, find all of that out in the text below.
The general risks of breast augmentation surgery
Regardless if you’re wondering are breast implants safe now, despite how they were in the past, there are still some general risks of breast augmentation surgery that every patient should know of, before they make any drastic decisions.
The most common risks refer to:
- Additional surgeries
- Systemic symptoms, such s Breast Implant Illness
- Immune system cancer, or more expertly said – Breast implant associated-anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA – ALCL)
- Breast pain
- Scar tissue that squeezes the implant – capsular contracture
- Ruptures – holes or tears in the silicone or saline implants
Breast implants undergo extensive testing and research before they are FDA approved in the USA, in order to be cleared for safety and effectiveness, however, patients should always be aware of the possible risks of the saline or silicone breast implants safety, before they opt for one or the other.
What are the long-term risks of breast implants?
Are silicone implants safe in the long term? Is the saline breast implant safety in question too, for that matter?
No matter what type of implants you choose, there are certain long-term risks associated with the surgery in general, that need to be accounted for.
One of them is the previously mentioned BIA – ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma) – a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some patients are prone to developing this type of cancer in the fluid or or scar tissue surrounding the implant.
However, this is not a cancer of breast tissue, but of immune system, and it’s more common in patients with textured implants, rather than those with smooth-surfaced implants.
Another common experience that patients had is a connective tissue disease, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, troubles with breastfeeding or reproductive problems, but, there is no sufficient evidence that supports that any of these claims are the aftermath of breast augmentation surgery.
Additionally, health issues that were also reported by some patients were fatigue, memory loss, rash, joint pain and so called “brain fog”. Some of them refer to these symptoms as breast implant illness, and some believe they were relieved of them when the implants were removed.
All things considered, the symptoms and what causes them are poorly understood, and therefore, breast implants can not be held accountable for the occurrence of the symptoms.
How safe is breast augmentation when we are speaking about the surgical process?
In addition to a common risk associated with anesthesia, surgical risks include infection and hematoma (blood collection around the implant), both of which are mild risks with the potential to become very severe. That said, surgical risks are highest immediately after the surgery, but if complications occur, they can require an additional surgery that will condone similar risks.
Patients who need additional surgery in order to correct some of the implant problems, or want the implants removed or replaced, really need consider how safe is breast augmentation and can they withstand it in the first place.
Common local problems
Local problems are mild, and usually include the loss of nipple sensitivity or the opposite – painfully sensitive nipples. Some patients can be dissatisfied with the ultimate cosmetic result, because their breasts can look asymmetrical or look unnatural, or, in case of saline implants, can make a “sloshing sound”, which is a good argument for silicone vs saline implants safety discussion.
In regards to the scar tissue, it can form around any foreign body, which is why it can become very hard and tight around the implant, which is a problem commonly referred to as capsular contracture. Since the scar tissue is inside the body, it can cause the breasts to become very hard and mis-shaped even, which is a kind of discomfort that ranges from mild to very painful.
Some researchers have expressed concern and questioned are saline breast implants safe, being that it was shown that bacteria or mold can grow inside them, which may pose health risks if the saline implant ruptures and gets released into the body, but the span of it is unknown.
Breast implant monitoring is mandatory
There is no easy way to answer how safe are breast implants having in mind that so many different factors can be of influence, which is why patients are required to report any unusual signs or symptoms. Aside from that, you need to follow your surgeon’s general instructions on how to monitor your breast implants.
You also need to be brefied on your routine mammography screening for breast cancer. Since you have breast implants, it is essential you inform the facility so they can arrange enough time to schedule your mammogram.
Speaking of silicone vs saline safety, it is recommended that people with silicone implants get regular screenings in order to detect any silent ruptures on time. but your surgeon might suggest other tests as well, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but speaking.
Remember – breast implants are not made to last a lifetime
In order to determine are any breast implants safe, you should never forget that none of them are made to last a lifetime – in fact, the longer you have them, the more prone you are to developing complications, some of which can require more surgery.
Of course, these prediction can vary by person, which essentially means that everyone with breast implants can face additional surgeries, but no one can predict when. Patients too can request additional surgeries in order to modify shape or size, if they aren’t pleased with the outcome.
Patient – surgeon communication is everything
Once you schedule consultations regarding your breast augmentation procedure, your surgeon will determine the shape, size, surface texture and implant placement that is best for you. This is a chance to find out everything you want regarding the surgery, and the ways the implants will affect your life.
You surgeon needs to know if you had any previous procedures done, such as tummy tuck, or mommy makeover, whether or not they’ve resulted in large amounts of scar tissue, but also, you need to discuss your overall expectations.
These discussions are important so your surgeon can make some operative decisions and plans about the incision location and size, as well as implant size, texture, material and placement, in order to achieve the best results possible and avoid major health risks that will determine is breast enlargement surgery safe for you.
Remember – before any of this, make sure to find a board certified surgeon, like our Dr. Ress, to whom you can trust with your health and your body.
The bottom line
So, is there a safe breast implant?
The research so far indicates that breast implants are associated with significant health, cosmetic and economic risks within the first few years, at least, but unfortunately, the long-term risks are yet to be established, due to lack of scientific studies.
However, patients need to be armed with right information from the start, before they make any decision at all, and in the hands of the right surgeon you can be sure that everything is being done in order for the risks to be reduced, and for you to obtain your desired results.
The notion how safe is breast implant surgery largely depends on the patient’s health and body predispositions, and additional test results, but mainly regular monitoring – all of which determines how safe is breast implant surgery will be for you, and what your attitude should be towards it.