If you’re considering a breast implant, you need to learn as much as possible about your options. This article straightens out a few wobbly perceptions about the procedures available.
Myth #1: silicone implants are not safe
Silicone gel-filled breast implants are one of the most studied medical devices; their safety and effectiveness have been researched for decades in both the United States and Europe. Silicone is the most bio-compatible material known to man.
In Australia, silicone gel-filled implants are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and have been registered on the Australian Registry of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) since 2000. They are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
Myth #2: breast implants feel unnaturally hard
While breast implants may sometimes not be as supple as natural breasts, nine out of 10 women are very satisfied with the results. Sometimes the body creates scar tissue around implanted foreign material, making it feel harder than other tissue, and with breast augmentation this is called capsular contracture.
Myth #3: implants can cause breast cancer and other diseases
There is no medical evidence to show that women with breast implants have a higher chance of developing breast cancer or auto-immune diseases.
Myth #4: I will not be able to breastfeed with implants
There is no medical evidence to show that breast implants interfere with breast-feeding, and women with breast implants do not risk exposing their breastfed children to excessive amounts of silicone. The ability to breastfeed varies in all women, with or without breast implants.
Myth #5: implants make it difficult to detect breast cancer
It is recommended that all women regularly self-examine their breasts for lumps and changes and have an annual examination by a doctor. Mammography is more difficult for women with breast implants, but is well practiced by radiologists. Patients should inform radiologists of breast implants prior to examination.
Myth #6: breast augmentation is a painful surgery that requires a lot of time off work and physical activity.
Each patient tolerates pain in a different way. This is taken into account by surgeons, who prescribe appropriate pain medication before, during and after surgery.
The length of recovery time also differs from patient to patient, although most breast augmentation patients are mobile and able to care for themselves within two days after surgery. Most patients are able to return to work within five to seven days. Patients are encouraged to commence a slow walking routine two days after surgery in order to limit swelling, and are advised to avoid vigorous exercise for two weeks.
Myth #7: breast augmentation scars are obvious
Breast implants are inserted through small incisions made either in the crease under the breast, under the arm or around the nipple. The surgeon will recommend the most appropriate incision for each patient in order to minimise visible scarring and maximise results.
Myth #8: everyone can tell when a woman has breast implants
It is important to choose an experienced surgeon who will not only consider a patient’s desires, but take into account her height, weight, and natural breast size and shape. Choosing an appropriate implant and positioning it correctly are key to achieving a natural-looking result.
Myth #9: implants make breasts sag earlier
Breasts sag due to gravity, weight and the elastin/collagen structure of the skin – all factors governed by the ageing process. A natural breast of the same size and weight will sag just as fast as an implant. It is important to wear a good quality, supportive and well-fitted bra and to not assume that breast implants make a bra unnecessary.
Myth #10: breast implants need to be replaced regularly
Breast implants have a limited lifespan and may have to be removed or replaced at some stage. The time that it takes for a breast implant to reach the end of its lifespan varies, but many of them last up to and beyond 25 years.