Breast Augmentation Myths Debunked
by Beauty Blogger Emmy Owens
There’s little doubt that breast augmentation surgery is perennially one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the U.S. It is also one of the most misunderstood. Not only do myths about the procedure itself tend to persist, people also often form preconceived attitudes about the women who get “boob jobs.”
Here’s a quick example: When a celebrity attracts publicity for getting breast implants, it’s invariably someone in her 20s or even younger. Many of the models used for plastic surgery websites are young women. But according to statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS), two-thirds of the 286,000 women who got breast implants in 2014 were between the ages of 30 and 54 — including 30% who fell into the 40-to-54 age range.
Then there are the myths about breast augmentation itself. Sorting fact from fiction can be difficult because in some cases, the lines blur and there is no clear-cut truth. Here’s a look at some of the issues that cause the most confusion for women who are thinking about getting implants:
MYTH: Breast implants prevent you from breastfeeding.
OK, so we’ve established that many women getting breast augmentation are older than their 20s, and it’s probably safe to assume many of them already have children. But for younger women who are considering having children at some point but who want breast implants now, this is a big issue.
“Many women in my own practice and in published literature are able to breast feed successfully following breast augmentation,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Josh Olson in a blog post on his website. A breast augmentation specialist in the Scottsdale area, Dr. Olson adds, “Any operation on the breast does come with the possibility of affecting lactation especially when incisions are made around the nipple areolar complex (NAC). Peri-areolar incisions will disrupt some of the lactating glands so I typically recommend an infra-mammary or trans-axillary approach if my patient is very concerned about breast feeding.” What that essentially means is that there are breast augmentation techniques that avoid the nipple area, ensuring patients will be able to breastfeed after surgery.
MYTH: Breast augmentation is risky.
Any surgical procedure does include some inherent risk, but complications associated with breast augmentation procedures are actually extraordinarily rare. If any complications occur — and the majority of women are very satisfied with the outcome of their procedures — they tend to happen postoperatively. Capsular contracture is the most common complication, although the rates vary depending on the surgeon and the surgical techniques used. The condition occurs when scar tissue that adheres to the implant begins to contract, squeezing the implant. That can distort cosmetic results and sometimes be uncomfortable, but it isn’t dangerous to a patient’s health. Breast augmentation is one of the safest procedures in the U.S.
MYTH: Breast implants look fake.
This perception is a holdover from the days of “Baywatch.” These days, most patients want results that appear natural. There is now a huge range of implant sizes and shapes — including the “teardrop” shape designed to reflect a breast’s natural slope — that enables plastic surgeons to customize each operation to meet the patient’s desired outcome. Implants filled with a highly cohesive silicone gel (sometimes called “gummy bear” implants) look and feel remarkably like natural breast tissue.
MYTH: Breast implants need to be replaced every 10 years.
This is one of those fuzzy assumptions. It’s not exactly a myth, but it’s hardly something that’s set in stone. Implants are not designed to last a lifetime, but some implants are more durable and can last longer than 10 years. It is important to monitor implants on a regular basis, especially now that most women get silicone gel implants. It’s pretty obvious when saline implants rupture because the breast will look deflated. Silicone implants, on the other hand, may rupture but will retain their shape because the gel doesn’t leak. It’s advisable for women with silicone implants to get regular screenings of their breasts after 10 years, but many patients have happily had implants last 15 years or longer.
There is plenty of reliable information online regarding breast augmentation, including the ASPS website. And the best way of all to get personalized info is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon.