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Breast Implants - Questions Answered by Andrew Stratton

Breast Implants - Questions Answered by
Article Posted: 10/06/2010
Article Views: 136
Articles Written: 5522
Word Count: 533
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Breast Implants - Questions Answered

What are breast implants?

Used to alter the size or shape of a woman’s breasts, this type of prosthesis is common in cosmetic surgeries involving mammoplasty augmentation or enlargement.

Who gets breast implants?

Women who have survived cancer treatment and mastectomy may elect to undergo this type of procedure to help restore emotional well-being. Men that desire gender transformation into the opposite sex may choose this type of cosmetic procedure to assist their transition. However, one of the most popular reasons is to simply augment chest tissue size and shape based on personal desire to improve appearance and self-esteem. As such, this type of procedure is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries performed in North America today.

What types of breast implants are available?

Silicone and saline are the two most popular types of material used in traditional breast implants in North America today. Saline implants are filled after they are placed in the body and, as such, require a smaller incision. They are filled with a material that the body can naturally absorb and pose less risk if they leak or rupture. Silicone implants have undergone several generations of revisions and are made of a semi-solid gel.

Where are they placed in the body?

Depending on the size and shape of the implant, as well as the desired goals of the patient and surgeon, the saline or silicone pocket may be placed subglandular, subfascial, subpectoral, or submuscular. The subglandular position most closely resembles normal tissue, but often has higher rates of capsular contracture. Placement under the pectoralis muscle is the most common approach, but may cause excessive movement. Maximal coverage of implants during reconstruction occurs when it is placed below the pectoralis muscle.

Do breast implants rupture?

In theory, implants could potentially remain intact in the body forever. However, all capsules break down and will eventually fail if given enough time. Saline implants are the easiest to remove because the filler material is absorbed by the body and the capsule can be quickly deflated. Some causes of rupture may include damage during other procedures, degradation of shell, blunt chest trauma, or even pressure caused by mammogram.

How does this type of augmentation interfere with mammography?

Radiology technicians should be trained in special techniques used with women that have implants. However, it is possible for the radio-opaque implant material to interfere with the sensitivity of this type of screening test.

How does this type of augmentation interfere with breastfeeding?

Women with implants can still breastfeed and are encouraged to do so. However, position and placement of the implant may cause breastfeeding difficulties, so many women that are of child-bearing age and interested in planning a family are often advised to delay this type of procedure or discuss the pros and cons thoroughly with their physician.

What are the operative complications of this type of surgery?

As with all invasive surgeries, there is a risk of anesthesia reaction, bleeding, hematoma formation, seroma formation, wound dehiscence, delayed healing, capsular contracture, infection, asymmetry, or other irregularities.

If considering breast implants, Philadelphia residents need someone they can trust. For more information on services offered or to schedule a consultation, please visit

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