Breast Augmentation, Your Questions Answered

March 21, 2013

Did you know that breast augmentation is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery procedures, and more than two million women have silicone breast implants? So if you are thinking of 'upgrading' or 'remodelling' your bustline, you are certainly not alone.

It's only natural to have questions and some hesitation when considering any type of surgery. We've compiled some of the most common questions about breast implants and breast augmentation to help you understand a bit more about it.

Are breast implants and breast augmentation safe?

Breast augmentation and breast implants have an excellent safety record, and the latest technologies in silicone gel filled implants enhances this further. In Australia, silicone gel-filled implants are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and have been registered on the ARTG since 2000. Both silicone and saline implants are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, which means that an implant has been rigorously researched and tested, and reviewed by an independent panel of physicians for safety.

Can I get any breast size and shape?

Much is possible, but the results are not limitless. Your natural body type and build will in part determine what results are achievable, so you need to be realistic about your expectations. Whatever happens, there should be no surprises - a good surgeon should clearly explain what results you can expect before embarking on surgery. If you are at all unsure about the process and what you can expect, either ask more questions, or consult another surgeon.

Do breast implants feel 'real'?

How the implants feel in your breast will partly be determined by the method of placement (on top of, under, or partially under your chest muscle). While breast implants may sometimes not be as supple to the touch as natural breasts, the vast majority of women are very satisfied with the results and enjoy their fuller, firmer breasts.

Will everyone be able to tell I have implants?

If you have a carefully planned and performed surgery, with realistic goals, taking your height, weight and natural build into account, you should expect a nice, natural looking result; so the only people who will 'know' are those you want to know. (At the other end of the scale, there are some women who are in the market for something extreme... with extreme results!) Of course, most women are after a natural look, and with a good surgeon this is easily achieved.

Will implants make my breasts sag more?

A breast with an implant will weigh more than one without, so naturally the force of gravity will be greater once your implants are in place. However a breast with an implant will not sag any more than a natural breast of the same size. How your breasts appear over time is largely down to genetics. A supportive bra will still be a good friend once you have implants.

Is there a 'best' way for the surgery to be performed?

When it comes to breast augmentation, each woman needs to be treated as an individual, and what is best for one woman won't necessarily be best for the next. There are different options for the size and shape of the implant, where incisions are made and how the implant is placed. All these factors need to be considered and balanced to get the results you desire.

How much scarring does it cause?

Today's techniques for breast augmentation are very advanced, and implants can be placed with only very small incisions. Incisions can be made under the armpit, around the nipple or in the crease under the breast. Your surgeon's skills and techniques will play an important role, so be sure to discuss this in detail until you are comfortable with the technique to be used. With 'sharp' incision methods these days you should be able to expect any scarring to fade to be barely visible over time.

Do breast implants need to be replaced?

Breast implants have a good lifespan, but are not designed to last forever. Some studies have indicated the average lifespan to be more than 16 years. Some implants can last for 25 years. Others will have a shorter lifespan. Implants can be replaced with ease.

Why is breast augmentation surgery better than acupuncture?

You may have heard about a new craze - breast augmentation using acupuncture. Breast augmentation surgery remains a superior way to get the result you want regarding breast size and shape. Acupuncture only works on the top part of the breast, and results cannot be guaranteed. Conversely, breast augmentation surgery is now a very established and safe practice that promises long term results that are tailored to specific individual requirements.

Can I still breastfeed with breast implants? Is it safe?

The ability to breastfeed varies in all women regardless of whether or not they have implants. There is no medical evidence that shows that breast implants interfere with normal breastfeeding. In terms of safety, there is currently no method to test for silicone levels in breast milk, however there is convincing evidence that babies who are breastfed by mothers with silicone breast implants are not receiving any higher amounts of silicone.

Do breast implants make it harder to detect breast cancer?

All women are advised to self-check for breast lumps and changes in breast tissue. Mammograms are an important health check for women to undergo. If you have implants you should tell your mammogram technician. While it's not quite as straightforward, your technician can compensate and 'work around' your implants. They should not pose a problem.

Further, contrary to common myth, there is no medical evidence to suggest that women with breast implants have any higher chance of developing breast cancer or autoimmune disease than those without implants.

How much recovery time will I need after surgery?

This will differ between individual patients, but in general terms most women are mobile and able to look after themselves two days after surgery. Most are able to return to work after five to seven days. After a couple of weeks you can do most regular activities (light exercise is encouraged), and after six weeks there should be no restrictions on even vigorous physical activities.


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