What To Think About
Newer silicone implants contain a gel-like material instead of a liquid. These types of implants do not leak if they are punctured or cut.
Most women who get breast implants are satisfied with the results. You are likely to be happy with the results if you have clear, realistic expectations about the surgery and share these with your doctor. Implants will make your breasts larger and perhaps give them a shape you are more pleased with, but no surgeon can guarantee perfection.
Also keep in mind that:
- Breast enlargements and lifts do not prevent changes in the breast that occur as a result of future pregnancies, weight gain or loss, or the force of gravity over time.
- Implants may later need to be surgically removed or replaced if they leak, rupture, wrinkle, change shape, or develop other problems. It is likely that you will have to have a second surgery at some point. Saline implants rupture at a rate of 1 out of 100 each year.Reference 1
- Some of the changes in the breast tissue and skin caused by implants are permanent. If you later have the implants removed, the breasts may have permanent wrinkles, dimples, or other changes.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that women with breast implants have a breast Reference MRI Opens New Window 3 years after getting the implant and then every 2 years after that.Reference 2 The MRI is done to check if the implant is intact and the breast tissue looks healthy. The costs of this regular testing can be greater than the initial cost of getting the implant and may not be covered by insurance.
Insurance will not cover the cost of breast implants unless they are being used as part of breast reconstruction after surgery for breast cancer. Likewise, insurance may not cover the Reference costs of treatment for complications that arise during or after surgery or for future surgeries to remove or replace the implants. Check with your insurance company to find out whether getting breast implants will affect how much you pay for your insurance and what you are covered for.
Breast cancer screening (mammography) after surgery
A breast implant can hide abnormal breast tissue or lesions, making detection of abnormal or cancerous breast tissue during mammography more difficult. To produce accurate, high-quality images, the breast has to be squeezed fairly tightly. In rare cases, this causes a breast implant to leak or rupture. Also, scarring and calcium deposits around the implant may look like cancerous tissue and make the mammogram harder to interpret.
If you have breast implants and need to have a mammogram, tell the technician when you schedule the mammogram what type of implants you have (saline or silicone) and whether they are behind or in front of the chest muscle. You may need more views taken than are done during a typical screening. In some cases, MRI scans may be needed to produce a clear image.
Controversy over breast implant safety
Research studies are looking at the possible connection between silicone gel breast implants and connective tissue disease. So far, studies don't show that these implants cause connective tissue disease.Reference 3
A few women with breast implants have developed anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) that started in breast tissue near the implant. Although these cases are very rare, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is gathering information about a possible connection between implants and ALCL.
For more information on the safety of breast implants, see the FDA's website at www.fda.gov/breastimplants.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: July 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic Surgery