4 Things to remember about breast implants
Breast implants have been successfully used to correct the underdevelopment of the breasts in women for over half a century now. Currently, we are using the fifth generation of breast implants, the most advanced and safe for the patient. All the claims that breast implants could be associated with breast cancer have been dismissed over the years by specialists conducting several studies. Nowadays, it is considered that women with breast implants have more chances of detecting the early signs of breast cancer in case it occurs as they are required to undergo yearly check-ups.
Breast augmentation with implants is probably the most desired plastic surgery procedure as many women from all over the world dream of harmonizing their appearance by increasing the size of their breasts to be more proportionate to their anatomy.
Before scheduling your breast implant surgery, make sure to be aware of these five things:
- There are many different types of implants
The placement of implants is part of breast augmentation procedure, the procedure that aims to increase the volume of breasts that are too small compared to the rest of the patient’s anatomy.
There are two main categories of breast implants that can be adapted to different morphologies: round breast implants or anatomical implants. Round implants fill the upper pole of the breast more, giving the breasts an apple-like appearance, as if the patient was wearing a permanent push-up bra, highlighting the cleavage. Anatomical or tear-shaped implants give the chest a more “pear-like” appearance, with the upper pole is less filled. Without a bra, the breasts will be more concave on their upper part.
Implants used in cosmetic surgery may be filled with either saline solution or a highly cohesive silicone gel. Silicone implants are more often preferred when compared to saline solution implants as their texture is more similar to the feel of the natural tissues of the breasts.
Aside from the contents and shape of the implants, there are also different types of surface textures and projections. If you think it will be a struggle to decide what type of implant is more suitable to match your specific aesthetic goals, keep in mind that it is the plastic surgeon’s responsibility to recommend you a type and size of the implant during the pre-operative consultation.
- The breast implants will take some time to settle
As is the case with other plastic surgery procedures, the results the patient notices immediately after waking up from the effects of the anesthesia is not similar to the final results that are visible within a year’s time. When getting implants, the patient might wake up to an abnormal appearance of the breasts: the breasts might be very high on the chest wall, very heavy and hard and the overall appearance might be the one of a bodybuilder. There are patients who immediately become concerned that this is how they are going to look from now on and the level of stress can go through the roof. This is completely unnecessary. The breasts will be high on the chest wall after the surgery, and their appearance might be swollen and bruised. However, the breasts will go through different stages during the recovery period, and the implants need time to settle in their new location.
In some cases, the plastic surgeon might advise you to use a belt over the breasts to help them descend sooner rather than later. Keep in mind that you should only do this at the plastic surgeon’s recommendation and according to his instructions. Otherwise, you might alter the aesthetic results. Generally, after the first three months, most of the side effects will disappear, and you will get a glimpse of how the final results will look like.
- The implants have a limited lifespan
Unlike gluteal implants, breast implants have a limited lifespan. The lifespan of the implants is mentioned in the guarantee of the product. With most manufacturers of good quality implants, we are talking about ten years that can be extended for a maximum of another five years. This means that if you are getting breast implants early on in life like in your 20s, chances are you might need to remove and replace them at least once during your lifetime. The warranty for ten to fifteen years doesn’t mean that when you get to that date, you need to schedule your procedure to get new ones, but it is a recommendation to pay more attention to your breasts after this mark is reached. Also, considering the fact that new types of implants are in development all the time to prevent complications and improve the results, you might want to change your implants after ten to fifteen years just to get new ones, even if the initial implants are still okay.
It is important to know and accept the fact that additional procedures will be required if you undergo the procedure in your youth years so you can budget it. Aside from the fact that they are only guaranteed for ten years, there might be other complications that could determine the need to remove and replace the implants.
- There are specific complications associated with breast implants
When considering any type of surgical procedure, you should know that there are risks and complications associated with it. First, we have the risks associated with the anesthesia used, then the general risks among which we can mention infection, seromas and hematomas, delayed wound healing, soft tissue necrosis, wound dehiscence, etc. These risks are present when it comes to any kind of surgery, so they are valid for the breast augmentation with implants as well. However, breast implant surgery has specific complications that are related to the use of implants.
The implants we use nowadays are FDA approved and safe for the patient to have, but they can be associated with certain complications that are normal when using an external prosthesis. The rippling of the implants is one of these specific complications that can occur. The rippling effect means that the implants create waves that are visible through the skin, especially in the lateral and lower part of the breasts. This phenomenon is more common with prostheses in saline solution and in particular in the case of thin patients that have insufficient breast tissue to cover the implants properly. Implant visibility can occur when using silicone implants as well, also in patients with not enough glandular tissue to hide the implants.
Another complication that is specific to breast implants is capsular contracture. The formation of a fibrous capsule around an implant is a normal reaction of the human body, which creates a kind of fibrous capsule around all foreign bodies inserted into the body to isolate them. In some cases, this fibrous membrane can have an unfavorable evolution and get thick and strangulate the implant. When this happens, the breast can develop an abnormal shape, and pain can be experienced in the breast that is affected by the capsular contracture.
The overall frequency of this complication has decreased over the years with the new types of implants that are created, and studies show that the occurrence of this complication also depends on the type of implant to be used and the surgical approach chosen. It is important to know that the capsular contracture can’t lead to the rupture of the implants. It can, however, lead to an unaesthetic appearance of the breasts and pain. A surgical procedure is often required to correct this complication.
Breast implants are used to correct breast hypoplasia (underdeveloped breasts) that can be present since teenage years and affect the quality of life of the patient on multiple levels. Mammary hypoplasia can also occur after multiple pregnancies and considerable weight loss. When the volume of the breasts is not proportionate to the rest of the patient’s features, a breast augmentation with implants might be recommended to harmonize the silhouette.
While breast implants have been used for decades now and are safer than ever, there are some things that not everybody knows about them. In this article, we have discussed four things to remember about breast implants before scheduling your procedure. Keep in mind that breast implants are not meant to be used for life as they have a limited lifespan of no longer than 15 years. The implants can come in many different shapes and sizes, and they are associated with specific complications.
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