f you are considering breast implants, you may be asking yourself a very important question “Are they really safe?” This is a question that we get during consultations all the time. It is a totally legitimate fear because of all the bad hype that breast implants have gotten over the years. If you have access to the internet, we are sure that you have read a story or two about breast augmentations that have gone wrong. We understand your concern and we want to make sure that all of our patients have all the facts so that they can make the best decision regarding their bodies. So, are breast implants safe?
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons provides these four important assessments about breast implants:
- Breast implants are FDA-approved and are considered to be safe
- Breast implants are among the most studied medical devices in the world.
- Breast implants have been studied for decades all around the world.
- Patients who are considering breast implants should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
As you can see, there have been extensive studies done on the safety of silicone-based breast implants and the tests have shown that breast implants are considered relatively safe. This doesn’t mean that there is a 100 percent no-fail rate. As with any medical device, there can be complications but these are rare. Sientra (one of the three brands that we use for breast implants) published their results from a clinical study that showed that 92 percent of their implants were rupture-free after 10 years. We use three types of breast implants, Sientra (mentioned above), Mentor and Allergen. All three brands have undergone the FDA’s mandatory 10-year study to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. It was found in Sientra’s study that in addition to the 92 percent non-rupture rate, it was also concluded that:
- There was only a 13 percent capsular contracture rate among the patients.
- Only 0.1 percent of patients experienced implant rotation.
- Zero patients had double capsules (two layers of scar tissue around the implant).
In a review by the Institute of Medicine (commissioned by The Department of Health and Human Services), it was found that breast implants do not cause major diseases and silicone is considered safe, but women who were considering breast implants should also be aware that breast implants do not last forever and there is a chance of local problems such as capsular contracture, which is the hardening of the scar tissue around the implant. It is important to discuss medical history, especially problems with wound healing, with your surgeon during your consultation.
The makers of breast implants and the FDA are doing their part in ensuring the safety of breast implants, but as we said before, there is not a 100 percent success rate. Silicone-based breast implants can rupture without noticeable symptoms and therefore should be closely monitored. According to Allergen’s educational information on their website, it is recommended that women get MRI screenings beginning three years after the placement of their implants and repeat the MRI scans every two years after. It is also important to get annual mammograms. Be sure to tell the technician that you have an implant so that they can distinguish between breast tissue and the implant. Doing your part in keeping your body healthy is an important part to breast augmentation surgery.
If you have been dreaming of getting breast implants, the studies show that silicone breast implants are indeed safe. Before you make your final decision, it is important to visit a board-certified plastic surgeon so you can discuss important information like medical history and current medical issues so that you can safely and effectively have a breast augmentation procedure. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions that you may have and can help you to determine which breast implant is best for you. It is easy to get dissuaded by the negative information that you get off of the internet, but you can be assured that we have patient safety at the top of our list. We maintain complete honesty with our patients and we know that having all the information is important before making life-changing decisions. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified surgeons, please contact our office today!