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What Are Breast Implants?

Breast implants are silicone- or saline-filled prostheses a cosmetic surgeon places in your breast tissue or chest muscle to enhance breast size, fullness, or shape. Plastic surgeons have practiced breast augmentation in the United States since the early 1960s, and many people have had successful procedures that have improved both their appearance and self-confidence. However, many women have also experienced negative side-effects from breast implants. Therefore, if you are considering undergoing some type of breast surgery, it is important to keep in mind both the benefits and potential risk factors.

Types of Breast Implants

There are two main types of breast implants: silicone and saline. Silicone implants are silicone shells filled with a viscous silicone gel and typically feel more natural than saline implants do. However, there are also more risk factors associated with silicone implants. Saline implants are silicone shells that a surgeon can either pre-fill with a saline liquid or fill the implants after he or she inserts them. The FDA has approved saline implants for women ages 18 and older and silicone implants for women ages 22 and older. However, women of any age who need breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can receive either silicone or saline implants.

Risk Factors for Breast Implants

While breast implants can be redeeming features for women who have undergone mastectomies, it is important to remember that all types of surgical procedures have certain risks. The FDA states that implants typically do not last forever and that most women need additional surgeries in the future to correct cosmetic outcomes or address potential implant complications. Additionally, some women experience issues with their implants, such as tissue erosion, dimpling, puckering or wrinkling, the inability to breast feed, silicone ruptures, and calcium deposits. However, choosing a well-trained and experienced physician can help minimize these potential complications.

If you are considering breast implants, it is extremely important to keep in mind both the benefits and risk factors they present and discuss these in depth with your doctor. He or she can determine whether you are a good candidate for plastic surgery and can educate you regarding the best ways to reduce your chances of experiencing any complications after the procedure.

This article is not to be misconstrued as medical advice- please consult a licensed medical professional if considering cosmetic plastic surgery.

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