Is Breast Augmentation Safe?

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Many women consider breast augmentation to achieve fuller, larger breasts. In fact, according to the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons, this is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. But is breast augmentation safe? Read on to learn more about what you should consider if you’re thinking about having this procedure.

Today, both silicone and saline breast implants are available, both with different advantages. While silicone breast implants were once thought to be dangerous, the FDA found no serious safety issues with certain types and approved them for use in 2006. You and your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of each type of implants to determine what works best for you.

The primary safety risk with either type of implant is the possibility of a rupture. If a saline implant breaks, the saltwater leaks out and is absorbed into the body. When a silicone implant breaks, it is more difficult to notice; however, most experts agree that there is no link between a silicone implant leak and risk for disease.

The process for implant insertion also varies based on which type you choose. Saline implants require a smaller incision and are filled after being inserted, which makes it easier to adjust the size. Silicone implants are inserted when they are already filled, so require a larger incision.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in addition to the chance of rupture, other risks include breast pain, changes in sensation, and scar tissue. Less than one percent of women who get breast implants will experience more serious side effects, which can include tissue atrophy, necrosis, rash, or wrinkling of the skin. Some complications will require the need for additional surgeries.

Before deciding to get breast implants, your doctor will help decide if you are a good candidate for this surgery. You must be in good physical health, be older than age 21, and have realistic expectations for the results of the augmentation. You should be aware that the longer you have breast implants, the more likely that you will need additional surgeries to maintain the augmentation. Women who choose silicone implants will need to have periodic MRIs to check for rupture.

Despite these caveats, breast augmentation is generally considered safe for women in good health. Your physician can refer you to a plastic surgeon, who will give you a full consultation before making your final decision.