Fancying a boob job? It’s a popular type of surgery, with stats showing that one out of every 26 women in the U.S. has had breast implants. Here’s what you need to know about them before you go under the knife.
Breast implants don’t last forever! You might think breast implants require one operation and then you’re set for life, but this isn’t the case. Twenty-five percent of women will need another op after 10 years, for various reasons. For instance, the implants could leak, their shape could start to warp, or you might lose weight or get pregnant, both of which affect your breasts.
There are two kinds of implants. Saline implants contain salt water and they’re firmer than silicone implants. They have a greater risk of causing rippling, though, which is the formation of wrinkles in the implant that show on your skin. However, a benefit of saline implants is that they can be done with smaller incisions during surgery because they can be inflated after being put in the breast pockets.
What about silicone? Silicone implants come in different thickness—there’s cohesive and semi-cohesive—which determine your breast shape. Cohesive implants give you more breast shape but they have a greater risk of complications. Silicone implants are pre-filled before surgery and can’t be inflated, so they require larger incisions. Despite that, silicone implants are often preferred because they feel more like real breast tissue.
You’ll feel that they’re different, no matter which one you choose. People talk about how natural their breast implants feel, but chances are you’ll feel that they’re quite different, especially if you had a smaller amount of natural breast tissue before the implants or if the implants are big.
There are different implant shapes. Some people say that a different implant shape will make the breasts look more natural, but this isn’t always true and you can’t just decide yourself what shape you want. Your surgeon will discuss the best shape for you, such as round or teardrop, depending on your natural breasts.
There are risks involved. As with any operation, there are risks. These include breast pain, scar tissue that forms and squeezes the breast implant, ruptures or tears, and additional surgeries that are needed in future.
You should be able to study the actual implants before your op. The FDA insists that you look at the Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data (SSED) for the actual implants before you have the operation so that you can find out loads of info about them. These summaries give you information about precautions, warnings, risks, and more. In fact, the FDA has advised healthcare providers to give women all the info from the breast implant manufacturers, known as “labelling,” so ask your surgeon for the most recent one. Get informed!
They might slightly increase your risk of lymphoma. Breast implants have been associated with a type of lymphoma, but this is rare. Still, in 2016 the World Health Organization recognized breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma that can develop after breast implants.
Breast implants won’t fix droopy breasts. If your natural breasts are sagging, implants won’t help. Sorry! You’d probably need a breast lift so that the nipple can be raised, and then you’d have to have an implant.
You can’t decide on any size you want. If your skin can’t stretch to accommodate a huge cup size, you won’t be able to have those massive implants you want. Even if your skin can stretch like that, you can’t go from really small breasts to having huge ones. You’ll probably need a few operations to ensure that this can be done, and so that your skin can stretch in a more gradual way.
It’s not easy to have them removed. If you change your mind about the breast implants in future and want to have them removed, it’s not an easy thing to do. Again, it’s about your skin being stretched AF. You might not be able to return to your natural breasts ever again. Gulp.
Not every plastic surgeon is board-certified. WTF? This is a scary thing to consider. Make sure that the surgeon you choose is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Also, make sure your surgeon has experience with the surgery you want, such as by speaking to patients in his office.
Your health matters before the op. There are some factors that could cause you to not be allowed to have the surgery, such as if you’re obese, you have a history of breast cancer in your family, or you smoke. This is because your health plays a role in how you cope during and after the surgery.
It costs a lot of money. The average cost for breast implants is $3,700 but this doesn’t take into account all the other costs, such as anesthesia during the op, medical materials used during surgery, and MRI exams that many women have to have afterward to check if their implants are okay and not leaking.
Your insurance won’t cover it. You’ll have to pay for the op with your own money because insurance companies don’t cover breast implants unless you’re requesting the breast implants because you had a mastectomy due to breast cancer.
Breast implants can make future mammograms less effective. Mammograms to check for breast cancer don’t work as well if you’ve had breast implants. Research has found that roughly 55% of breast tumors can’t be picked up by mammograms after implants. So, if you’ve had breast implants, you’re going to have to go for mammograms and X-rays to ensure your breasts get examined properly.
Your body takes a beating. You should rest for at least two weeks after surgery to give your breasts and whole body a chance to heal. If you love to exercise, sorry but you’re going to have to put anything strenuous off for a few weeks. You’ll have bruising, pain, and discomfort, such as when raising your arms, and it could take several weeks before you feel like yourself again. You might even lose feeling in your nipples. For some women, this nipple sensitivity never returns.
Implants don’t prevent breast changes in future. You might think that having breast implants means that your boobs will always look perky, even as you age, but this isn’t the case. The natural aging process, pregnancy, and weight changes can all have an effect on your breast shape and positioning. And yes, your implants can even start to droop as your skin loses its elasticity over time. Ugh!
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