Can my body reject breast implants?

Many women who dream of having breasts like their favorite celebrity and get breast implants can be put off by the multitude of false information and myths that can be found online. With the information about breast augmentation widely available everywhere online, patients might have their faith in the procedure tested after doing some research. It is important to check the source of information before putting any value on it as anyone, even someone with no medical information, can post his or her beliefs on a forum.

In this article we will discuss a popular topic: “Can breast implants be rejected by the body after breast augmentation surgery?”

What is breast augmentation surgery with implants?

Breast augmentation with implants is commonly performed to increase the size of the patient’s breasts. The implant is inserted into a specially created pocket inside the breasts. There are all sorts of prostheses, able to adapt to different types of morphologies. A round prosthesis, for example, gives volume on the upper part of the breast and an impressive cleavage while the prosthesis in a pear-shape makes the breasts more separated and with a natural appearance.

In the United States, the implants used for breast augmentation surgery should get the FDA approval before being used. This means that the implants you will get from a board-certified plastic surgeon are safe to use.

The size, shape, content, and texture of the surface of the implant can be decided upon together with your plastic surgeon. It is important to mention that nowadays we have only two types of implants in the United States: saline solution and silicone gel implants.

The main difference between them is the content: saline solution fills one and a cohesive silicone gel in the other. However, the outer capsule is in both cases made of silicone. This means that the internal tissue of the breasts will come in contact only with the silicone capsule of the implants.

The risks of breast augmentation

There are risks associated with anesthesia (shock, allergies, etc.), and special attention needs to be paid to avoid infections. Hematoma and seroma are also side effects that can be encountered after a breast lift surgery.

It may also happen that a shell is formed around the implant. It is the reaction of the organism to this prosthesis. In this case, it hardens and the breast loses its flexibility. This condition is called capsular contracture and can be corrected with different methods, all of them surgical.

Breast augmentation is not a risk-free operation, and therefore you have to feel confident enough to take the plunge. It is this trust and the patient-doctor dialogue that will contribute to the success of the operation. This is why it is important to discuss about the implants to be used during your surgery with your plastic surgeon. A common concern that many believe is a risk of the procedure is for the body to reject the implants. Is this even possible?

Can the body reject breast implants?

We can’t talk about a rejection reaction in the medical sense of the word. This term is reserved for immune reactions: that is, involving antibodies and cells responsible for immunity to foreign biological tissue. For example, there may be a rejection when it comes to a heart transplant or a liver transplant.

Silicone is a neutral material that is extremely well tolerated by the body and, if there are inflammatory reactions to this material, there is no real rejection. This material is so commonly used nowadays that we find it everywhere. Moreover, it is not reserved just for breast implants but used for other prostheses used in other medical fields.

The silicone is very well tolerated by the body, so a rejection reaction is not possible. However, once inserted into the body, the body’s natural reaction will be to isolate it from the surrounding tissues. In order to do this, the body makes a membrane around the prosthesis, called a “capsule.” This capsule is also found around hip prostheses, pacemakers, and other foreign objects inserted into the body for different reasons. This is a natural response of the body; it can’t and shouldn’t be prevented. Moreover, this fibrous tissue capsule has the advantage of isolating the implant by closing the prosthetic box. It is flexible in most cases, but the body can react excessively by producing more than enough fibrous tissue which can deform the implant and even cause pain. This is called capsular contracture, and it occurs in about 3% of patients. The condition can occur months or years after the breast augmentation is performed and, in severe cases, can alter the aspect of the breasts. Capsular contracture can be treated surgically.

Capsular contracture is not a rejecting reaction coming from the body. It is the body’s method to isolate the foreign object exactly because it is tolerated inside the breasts. So if you are concerned that you would have allergic reactions that will require the removal of the implants shortly after the procedure, this is not the case.

Conclusion

It is important for women interested in breast augmentation with implants to know that the breast implants used nowadays in the United States are safe and approved by the FDA. This is a guarantee that there will be no allergic or rejection reactions when the implant is inserted into the breasts. Moreover, the silicone that makes the shell of both saline solution and silicone gel implants are very well tolerated by the body. The normal response of the body, when faced with a foreign object placed inside, will be to isolate it from the surrounding tissues by forming a fibrous capsule around it. In rare cases, a thickening and hardening of this capsule may occur, leading to a complication called capsular contracture that needs a surgical intervention to be corrected.

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