Breast implants are artificial fillers introduced into a woman’s breast through a medical procedure (prosthesis) to effect a change in the size, shape, and contour of the breasts that might have been affected by some unfortunate events like cancer, tuberous breast deformities, other diseases, trauma and/or congenital conditions.
Breast implants are more in demand nowadays because more women in both developed and developing economies want to
enhance their natural proportions and create a more visible, symmetrical and aesthetically appealing breast profile.
The medical or cosmetic surgery procedure of inserting breast
implants to meet a patient’s requirement is popularly referred to as breast augmentation or reconstruction.
What are breast implants made of?
Breast implants are of basically two categories, the saline-filled and silicone-filled breast implants. Both have an outer silicone shell with varying materials and consistency.
Saline breast implants
Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water and present a uniform shape, firmness and feel to users. The silicone shell is first inserted empty into the breasts and is later filled with the sterilized saline water.
In case, of leakages, the saline solution is naturally absorbed and expelled from the body.
Saline implants are FDA approved and available for women of ages 18 and above for breast augmentation, however, if it is for the purpose of breast reconstruction, it is available for all ages.
Silicone filled breast implants
The silicone shell is pre-filled with the silicone gel which appears as a thick and sticky fluid with a feel like human fat.
Silicone breast implants are FDA approved and are recommended for women of age 22 and above for breast augmentation but if the use is for breast reconstruction, it is available for all ages.
The users of silicone implants are of the opinion that it has a feel similar to the natural breast tissue. In the case of leakages, the silicone gels are trapped and cannot be expelled by the body system.
It is therefore expected that users of silicone implants have a regular schedule of visits to their cosmetologists to ascertain the functionality and state of the implants.
An ultrasound or MRI screening procedure will easily assess the status of breast implants.
a) Gummy bear breast implants
These are so called because of their stable-form/shape material. The shape is maintained firm even if the implant shell is broken. The silicone gel is thicker and firmer than the traditional silicone gel implants.
Gummy bear breast implants require a longer skin incision to place it in the body. It has a tapered top and projected base. If the implant should turn or rotate, it normally disfigures the breast and this will require correction.
b) Round breast implants
This has a tendency to make breasts fuller than other types of implants, hence the popularity. It comes with lesser concerns due to its general shape.
c) Smooth breast implants
This is very soft to touch with visible rippling under the skin.
d) Textured breast implants
It develops scar tissue that sticks to the implant thereby restricting irregular movement and repositioning of the breast.
Whether you choose saline or silicone implants, it is important for you to monitor your breast implants and follow-up with your plastic surgeon for appropriate checkups.
Why breast implants?
There are many reasons why most women demand breast implants, it ranges from correcting asymmetrical shape to tuberous breast deformities. Other reasons are;
To restore the fullness of breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
For women who love swimming, fit and proper shapes in swimsuit enhance their confidence.
To form balance that complements curvy hips.
The desire to boost self-image.
Are there risks to Breast Implants?
Most people are thrilled by the output of successful breast implants surgery, however, every surgical procedure is subject to some risks.
It is not only an expensive procedure, but the results are also not guaranteed. Failed procedures have necessitated the need for surgical correction and additional financial commitment.
Post surgery period requires recovery time and is often characterized by;
swelling and bruising
a feeling of tightness in the chest
The most common breast implant (either saline or silicone) complications include:
thick, noticeable scare
infection that will usually require removal of the implant
reduction in breast milk production and
Implant leakage or rupture that could lead to lumps or silicone granulomas
Folding and rotation of the implant within the breast.
“rippling” of the implant, if a thin layer of tissue covers the implant and sticks to the implant surface
being dissatisfied with the results and requiring a further operation
nerve damage leading to changes to the nipples and breast sensation
Correcting any of these complications might require additional surgery, either to remove or replace the implants.
Over the years, the FDA has always reeled out stats on the need to be cautious about breast implants because of some reported cases of Cancer.
In March 2017 FDA reported 359 cases and nine deaths from rare cancer linked to breast implants. An immune system cell cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma or ALCL has been linked to breast implants.
Factors to consider before opting for breast implants?
I want you to give critical consideration to the factors below because with all certainties breast augmentation or
reconstruction surgery will definitely change your look and may never leave you to remain the same for life.
Breast implants won’t prevent your breasts from sagging.
Breast sagging will require a breast lift procedure in addition to breast augmentation.
Breast implants aren’t guaranteed to last a lifetime.
The implants are not once in a lifetime application, it can rupture thereby requiring repositioning or replacement.
The radiologist should be informed that you have implants for specialized views.
Mammograms might be more complicated.
Need to do MRI scan.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) support routine monitoring with MRI after three years.
Breastfeeding can be negatively impacted
This is neither here nor there, you might be lucky to breastfeed seamlessly while some mothers have issues due to the implants.
Check to be sure that your health insurance covers implant procedure, otherwise, you might need to make extra financial commitments.
In view of the risk associated with breast implants and the genuine need for a breast cancer survivor to restore her disfigured body to symmetry and wholeness.
There is a need for us to strike a balance between taking more risk (ALCL, more surgeries) and being satisfied with our natural breast-line profile.
It was estimated that within the first three years, approximately three out of four reconstructions (breast cancer) patients and almost half of first-time augmentation patients experienced at least one local complication — such as pain, infection, hardening, or the need for additional surgery.
FDA scientists reported that most women had at least one broken implant within 11 years and the likelihood of rupture increases every year.
Aside from the financial implications of cosmetology surgery, the increased health insurance costs that go with multiple surgeries and medical complications.
Quality of life is seriously affected should there be chronic health complications from implants.