What You Need to Know About Breast Implants

Hundreds of thousands of women undergo breast augmentation each year, making it one of the most popular cosmetic procedures not just in the U.S. but also around the world. But as common as breast enhancement is, not many people fully understand the procedure. So what exactly are breast implants and what can people who want to undergo an enhancement procedure expect?

What are breast implants made of?
Implant shells are made from silicone elastomer that protects the silicone or saline solution filling. Silicone implants are usually pre-sized while saline implants may be filled once the shell has been inserted into the body.

The size of breast implants are determined by their weight in volume, which is expressed in cubic centimeter or cc. To give you an idea how much volume that would be, 1oz. is equal to 30cc. So an implant that contains 200cc of solution will weigh about 6.67oz.

Are there risks?
Getting breast implants does carry a certain amount of risk. It is, after all, a type of surgery. One of the most common is rupture, when the shell breaks or is torn, which allows the solution to leak to the nearby tissues. Another common risk is contracture, a condition where the tissues surrounding the implant hardens. This leads to pain and disfigurement. Breast implants can also be displaced, which will present an aesthetic issue since it creates assymetry.

There may also be complications caused by an allergic reaction to anesthesia particularly in sensitive individuals. Also a common risk is infection, which could occur if the wound doesn’t heal properly.

Are breast implants permanent?
While synthetic in nature and will likely last in a perfect world, breast implants are not forever. About a fourth of the women who undergo an augmentation procedure will have their implants replaced within 5 years after the surgery. Implants also have to be checked after 10 years via MRI to determine if there is any leaking.

How long is the recovery period?
Depending on the overall health and healing capacity of the individual, recovery could last a few months. Healthy individuals who don’t smoke are likely to heal faster.

Does having breast implants impair normal movements?
Immediately after the surgery, the breasts will feel sore and there will be swelling which can last for 3 to 5 weeks. Movements will be limited naturally and patients will be advised on what to do in order to minimize pain and hasten the healing process. However, after several months, patients can begin to go back to their normal activities and even play sports and exercise without worries.

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