In 2016, the most popular cosmetic surgery was breast augmentation—290,467 procedures in one year! If you’re thinking of having it done, here are some facts you should know.
LOOKING FOR BIGGER BREASTS?
TWO KINDS OF BREAST IMPLANTS
Both have a silicone outer shell. Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. They’re inserted empty, and then filled once they’re in place. Saline implants are available to women 18 and older for cosmetic breast augmentation. Silicone implants come pre-filled with silicone gel—a thick, sticky fluid that feels a lot like human fat—and may seem more like natural breasts. Silicone implants are available to women 22 and older for cosmetic augmentation. Both saline and silicone implants are available to women of any age for breast reconstruction for medical reasons.
RISKS OF BREAST IMPLANTS
Saline and silicone implants present very similar risks, including:
• Scar tissue that changes and/or distorts the shape of the breast
• Breast pain
• Implant leakage or rupture
SALINE IMPLANT RUPTURES
When a saline implant ruptures, the sterile salt water runs out of the silicone shell, causing the affected breast to change size and shape. There is no health risk involved, because your body will simply absorb the liquid. But your breasts will no longer be the same size and/or shape. You’ll probably need surgery to remove the shell, but a new implant can be inserted at the same time.
SILICONE IMPLANT RUPTURES
Because free silicone generally remains trapped in the tissue that forms around the implant, you might not notice the rupture. Although the leaking silicone gel doesn’t appear to cause systemic or long-term health problems, it might eventually cause breast pain or changes in the shape of the breast. Sometimes the implant can rupture without any signs or symptoms, and is only detected by an MRI scan. In that case, you and your doctor must decide whether or not to remove the implant.
OTHER FACTORS TO BEAR IN MIND
• Implants won’t stop your breasts from sagging—only a breast lift does that.
• Breast implants don’t come with a lifetime guarantee. Twenty percent of breast implants have to be removed within 8 to 10 years.
• The FDA recommends monitoring your implant with MRI scans every two years, starting three years after the initial implant surgery.
• Breast implants may hamper breast feeding.
• Most health insurance plans do not pay for cosmetic surgery.
According to 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast augmentation surgery is $3,719. The average cost for the removal of breast implants is $2,506. These figures don’t include anesthesia or other related expenses. Prices may vary, depending on the surgeon and where his or her practice is located. However, many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so don’t forget to ask.