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Breast implant safety

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Breast implant risks continued...

Aesthetic results. Many women and plastic surgeons prefer the look and feel of silicone breast implants. Silicone breast implants are generally considered to be more like real breast tissue. Saline implants are more prone to rippling of the skin.

Surgical differences. Saline implants are filled after they are implanted, so saline implants require a smaller incision than pre-filled silicone breast implants. Also, many saline implants can be adjusted after surgery. Months later, a woman could decide to increase or decrease the size of her saline implants without surgery. Your doctor can just use a syringe to put in more liquid or take it out. The size of standard pre-filled silicone implants cannot be changed.

Over time, breast implants wear out and need to be replaced. How long do breast implants last? There’s no definitive answer. It depends on your individual circumstances. In general, the older the breast implant, the higher the risk of rupture.

Rupture is not the only problem that requires surgery. Over time, breast implants can change shape. One breast might start to look very different from the other.  Sometimes, the tissue around the implant hardens, a condition called capsular contracture. Surgery is the only way to fix capsular contracture.

If you have breast implants and want to maintain your breast size and shape for the rest of your life, you should be prepared to have more surgery. The surgery to replace an implant is not as involved as the original procedure. However, the risk of complications is higher.

  • Irreversibility. Breast implants may permanently alter your breast tissue. If you decide to have the implants removed, your breasts may not return to the shape they were before the surgery. Your breasts may stay dimpled or wrinkled.
  • Changes in appearance and sensation. Breast implants can cause a loss of sensation in the breast and nipple, as well as pain. They can sometimes result in excessive scarring and wrinkling.
  • Associated health problems. Some studies have found links between breast implants and certain health conditions. Disturbingly, several studies have found an increased risk of  alcoholismdrug abuse and suicide in women with breast implants.  However, experts generally do not think that breast implants are the cause of these problems. Instead, they suspect that a small minority of women who have breast implants also have underlying  psychological problems that can lead to substance abuse or suicide. If you are concerned, discuss the issue with your doctor.
  • Surgical complications. Like any surgery, having breast implants poses risks.  Some women have surgical infections, bleeding and swelling.
  • Other issues. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), breast implants do not usually interfere with breast-feeding. Breast implants can interfere with the accuracy of mammograms that screen for  breast cancer.
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