Breast augmentation is a common surgical procedure to increase the size of your breasts.
Women may seek out this procedure for several different reasons, such as changes to the appearance of their breasts from pregnancy, weight gain or weight loss. Alternatively, they might simply desire a fuller cup size.
Whatever the reason, if you’re considering breast augmentation surgery, you are likely approaching the topic with already-formed ideas and questions. For example, you might want to know about the safety of breast implants.
Some of the ideas you’re approaching the topic with will be true but some may actually be myths or misconceptions — it’s all too easy to absorb incorrect information over time, either from reading myths online or hearing about a misconception from a loved one. This is why it’s so important to understand the truth behind the procedure, because only then can you make the right decision for your body and feel confident in your decision.
Discover the most common breast augmentation myths and misconceptions, and the truth behind them, with The McIndoe Centre.
Common myths and misconceptions
Although breast augmentations are a common procedure that have been performed for over 50 years, there are still many misconceptions about them. Understanding fact from fiction is essential, so here are some of the most common breast augmentation myths.
MYTH: Implants need to be replaced every 10 years
Implants do not need to be replaced every 10 years. While breast implants do not last a lifetime, they can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years and may only need replacing if you are experiencing issues with them or if you want to increase or decrease your cup size.
However, it is recommended you have regular ultrasound scans after the 10-year mark to make sure the integrity of the implants is withstanding.
MYTH: Implants can burst when flying
There is a very common misconception that breast implants can burst at high altitudes. This is simply not true and it is completely safe for you to travel on a plane after a breast augmentation. The implants used in breast augmentation are very strong and do not contain air. This means atmospheric pressure changes do not affect them.
However, it is important to wait six weeks after your surgery before flying. This is more for the sake of your comfort during the flight, as you will still be experiencing some swelling and bruising.
MYTH: A ruptured implant is life-threatening
Implants can rupture, but the chances of this happening are minuscule. In the unlikely event that it does happen, the gel that leaks out will do so at a very slow rate and it poses no significant health risks.
If you think your implant has ruptured, it is important to speak with a doctor who can perform a scan to confirm if this is the case.
MYTH: Breast augmentation increases the risk of breast cancer
With over 55,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the UK each year, it’s not surprising women are concerned about their breast health and reducing their risk of developing it. Many factors can increase your risk of breast cancer, but breast augmentation is not one of them. There is no scientific evidence linking the two or supporting this myth.
One study found that women who had breast augmentation had neither a higher or lower risk of developing breast cancer — indicating that this procedure does not influence the condition.
Another study found that breast implants are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, nor do they delay detection or change breast cancer survival rates.
MYTH: You can’t have a breast augmentation after being pregnant
You can certainly have a breast augmentation after pregnancy. Many women choose to have an augmentation for this reason, as pregnancy and breastfeeding can change the shape and size of their breasts.
However, it’s recommended you wait at least six months after giving birth before undergoing the procedure.
MYTH: You can’t breastfeed after a breast augmentation
Having a breast augmentation does not change the milk ducts within your breast. This means you will still be able to breastfeed. There is also no evidence to suggest the implants transmit any silicon into your milk.
One study of 4679 women who had breast implants found that 79.4% of them were able to breastfeed successfully. Complications did arise for a small percentage of women, but whether or not these were directly related to their breast implants is uncertain. It’s important to remember that any woman can have issues when breastfeeding — with or without breast implants.
MYTH: You can’t have a mammogram after a breast augmentation
A mammogram is an essential cancer screening tool that is completely safe, even after breast augmentation - a mammogram will not cause breast implants to rupture.
However, X-rays cannot pass through breast implants as easily, so you need to let the person doing the mammogram know if you have breast implants. They will need to make sure they capture as much of your breast tissue in the images as possible, which can mean mammogramming your breasts in a slightly different way.
The truth about breast augmentation
Breast augmentation is a cosmetic surgical procedure where an incision is made in one of two ways:
- In the natural crease underneath your breast (inframammary)
- Under your armpit (transaxillary)
Once the incision is made, the breast tissue is separated from the muscle and tissue in your chest. This creates a pocket where the implant can be placed inside. Implants can either be placed between your breast tissue and chest muscle or behind your chest muscle. The placement of the implant will be agreed with your surgeon before the procedure.
You will be given a general anaesthetic before the procedure begins so you are asleep throughout. After the implant has been positioned, the incision will be stitched up. The entire procedure can take between 60 and 90 minutes. You will need to stay in the hospital for one or two nights following the procedure, so your immediate recovery can be monitored and pain relief medication administered.
Types of implants
There are two types of implants to choose from: silicone or saline.
Silicone implants are the most common type of implant used because they feel the most natural and are less likely to wrinkle over time.
Saline implants are less likely to fold, rupture or move over time. However, they can feel less natural than silicon. The right type of implant for you needs to be discussed with your surgeon to make sure you get your desired outcome.
Recovery from breast augmentation
Recovery will look different in each person because recovery is dependent on the type of breast augmentation you have and your overall health. It is normal to experience some tenderness in your chest area after the surgery and it can take a few months for you to fully recover.
Benefits and risks of breast augmentation
Like any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks and benefits associated with breast augmentation.
Potential risks can include:
- Rotation of the implant
- Rippling of the implant — this occurs when a thin layer of tissue sticks to the implant
- A loss or increase of sensation in the nipples
- Shrunken scar tissue around the implant, making the breast feel hard
There are also some potential risks when undergoing the operation such as:
- Bleeding and blood clots
- An allergic reaction to the medicines or products used
These risks can be limited when breast augmentation is performed by a highly skilled surgeon, like the team we have at The McIndoe Centre.
The benefits of a breast augmentation can outweigh the potential risks for a lot of women and include:
- Improved self-esteem
- Adjusting the size of your breasts after pregnancy or significant weight changes
- Balancing asymmetrical breasts
Book a consultation at The McIndoe Centre
Breast augmentation is a popular cosmetic procedure which has led to many misconceptions developing. However, these myths are not founded in truth and are often used as tactics to scare women into not going ahead with the procedure.
If you choose a reputable surgeon who has your best interests in mind, you can reduce the risk of complications arising and achieve your desired results.
If you are considering breast augmentation surgery, book a consultation with The McIndoe Centre. We can then answer any questions you may have about the procedure and begin your breast augmentation journey.
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