Breast augmentation can be life-changing and has been successfully performed millions of times. In fact, more than an estimated 30 million women have breast implants.
If you’ve been considering breast augmentation, yet still have some hesitations, here is the modern answer to some of the most persistent breast implant myths.
Common Breast Implant Myths to Get Rid of For Good
Myth 1: Silicone Implants are the Least Safe Option
While saline implants are available, they are the least frequently used in Australia. Because silicone has a density much closer to that of natural tissue, silicone breast implants feel more natural. Silicone has been extensively used and investigated, not only in breast implants but also in other medical devices such as artificial heart valves, pacemakers, joint replacements and medical tubing including catheters.
Chances are, you’re already using silicone-based products on a daily basis. Even products such as baby bottle nipples, bakeware, computer keyboards, hair conditioner and deodorants all contain silicone. Silicone is not a substance to be feared.
Myth 2: Breast Implants Affect Sensation
Sensation to the breast is of two types. There will always be a small area of numbness around the incision in the fold beneath the breast following surgery. Nipple sensation comes from a different location, and it is very uncommon for this to be impacted in the long-term, although temporary loss or reduction in sensation is common.
Nerves of the breast get to the nipple from a number of different sources, including the side of the breast. When the breast is especially small and narrow, there is an increased risk that these nerves could be encountered during surgery. Nipple sensation usually returns over the course of several months and can continue to improve for up to two years.
Myth 3: Breast Augmentation Has One of the Most Painful Recovery Periods
Incision areas and any surrounding muscle will be sore following any type of surgery, not just breast augmentation. While every patient has a different experience, modern surgical techniques minimise the trauma of surgery pain, meaning that the pain from this operation is usually less than anticipated. Any pain felt is managed with rest and prescription pain medication. Your surgeon will also provide you with specific aftercare instructions that will make your recovery as smooth as possible.
Myth 4: Breast Implants are Linked to Cancer and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Silicone is safe, hypoallergenic and is present in more products than you realise, as well as being ingested with your food. There has been a lot of research done into the safety of silicone implants.
Breast implants are associated with complications that are well recognised, including a rare link to a unique type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), that seems to be associated with bacteria on the implant surface. Breast implants have been linked to rheumatoid and connective tissue disorders, but this link has still not been fully established, even after 30 years of investigation. A/Prof Magnusson is involved in collaborative research into both of these conditions and this research has led to the international removal of some implant varieties. There are well documented safety processes and implant choices that can be utilised to reduce risks even further, which are routinely applied in his practice.
Myth 5: Breasts Feel Fake Following Augmentation
Today’s breast implants are designed to replicate the look and feel of natural breast tissue. Placing the implants underneath the chest muscle helps the breast look and feel more natural, while reducing capsular contracture or hardening, to keep the breasts soft. In some instances, however, it is best to place the implant over the chest muscle. Of course, every patient is different and some will have tight skin and very low volume breasts where implants may be more apparent and harder to conceal. The right option for you will be discussed during your consultation once your needs and anatomy have been evaluated.
Myth 6: Breast Implants Eliminate the Option to Breastfeed
Not being able to breastfeed due to implants is a common concern amongst potential patients. While any surgical procedure on the breast may have potential to interfere with breastfeeding, research from South America indicates that the rate of breastfeeding is similar amongst women who have and haven’t had breast surgery. If this is of particular concern to you, mention it to your surgeon. This way, you can choose an incision type and implant placement option that meets your requirements. There’s no real way to determine whether augmentation will affect your ability to breastfeed. Some women aren’t able to breastfeed regardless of whether they have implants or not.
With the assistance of a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who specialises in breast surgery, your breast augmentation results should be reliable. However, each patient’s individual outcome depends on what they have to start with, what their goal is, and what procedure is selected. Always mention your concerns to your surgeon prior to your surgery. You deserve to have peace of mind before making this kind of investment.