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Are Breast Implants Safe? The FDA Reviews the Risks

If you’ve been weighing the pros and cons of getting a breast augmentation with implants, safety is one of the factors you have undoubtedly considered. How safe and long-lasting are breast implants? Are there any health concerns you need to be aware of before getting breast implant surgery? Read on to become a more informed patient.

Breast Implants Are FDA-Approved

The first thing to know about breast implants is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved them for use as a medical device. Since gaining FDA approval involves passing a series of rigorous safety tests, you can feel confident the administration considers implants to be safe.

Two implant materials have received FDA approval: silicone and saline. Silicone is a gel, while saline is a saltwater solution. Many women say they prefer silicone because it looks and feels more like natural breast tissue. From a health and safety perspective, however, the most significant difference between these two materials is what happens in the rare event an implant ruptures.

What Happens If an Implant Ruptures?

If you have saline implants and develop a leak, your body will naturally absorb the saline. With silicone implants, there is a risk of a phenomenon called a “silent rupture,” in which the silicone gets trapped in the surrounding tissue and there are no immediately obvious symptoms.

If you have breast implants, monitoring is essential for your health. The FDA recommends women with silicone implants get MRI screenings to detect silent ruptures three years after their original surgery, and every two years after that. If an exam determines you have a silent rupture, you will need to explore your options with Dr. Desman, including breast implant removal or replacement.

FDA-Identified Risks of Breast Implants

According to the FDA, the most common risks of breast implants other than a rupture include:

  • Infection
  • Pain, swelling, or soreness in the breasts
  • Additional surgeries to replace breast implants
  • Capsular contracture, which is when scar tissue forms around the implant
  • Breast implant associated-anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system

The FDA cautions that they have identified a link between breast implants and developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma in the fluid or scar tissue surrounding the implant. However, their research does not currently support any association between breast implants and reproductive issues, connective tissue diseases, or breastfeeding difficulties.

According to the FDA, the longer you have implants, the more your chances of developing complications will increase. Some of these problems require additional surgeries to correct. Even if you don’t experience any of these problems, you may also want breast implant revision surgery if you decide to change the size, shape, or material of your implants down the road.

How to Minimize Breast Implant Risks

The most important factor in your health and safety with breast implants is to choose a qualified, experienced, and reputable surgeon to perform your procedure. Look for board certification, which is a sign that your doctor has completed a series of exhaustive tests and has committed to uphold the highest standards of medical ethics and patient care.

As you are interviewing potential surgeons to perform your breast augmentation procedure, be sure to ask about their surgical approach itself, as well as how you can expect the implant to change your life. Also, be honest about your health history and your goals for your results. This discussion will help Dr. Desman make the best decisions as he plans your surgery to give you the best possible outcomes.

Factors impacting your health and healing time after your breast implant surgery include the size and placement of the implants, as well as the location of your incisions. Dr. Desman can help you decide what is best for you after a candid conversation about your needs.

Getting the Most From Your Breast Augmentation Surgery

In general, breast implants are safest when you choose the best surgeon and surgical center for your procedure. At Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery, our objective is to provide the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., area with an unmatched level of patient care and outstanding surgical results. If you are considering breast implants to boost your self-esteem and improve your appearance, contact us to schedule your consultation.