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Breast enhancement: examining facts & dispelling myths

Breast augmentation surgery at Benenden Hospital

Undergoing a breast enhancement procedure is a highly personal choice, and one that is often taken following a considerable amount of research.

You may be able to consult family and friends about their own individual experience, but many considering the procedure will likely conduct their initial research online. The amount of information on the topic that you’ll find on the web can often be bewildering, and it can be hard to separate facts from myths and opinion.

To aid you in making an informed decision and dispel some untruths around breast enhancement surgery, our Consultant Cosmetic Surgeons and Clinical Nurse Specialist have put together a list of the most common frequently asked questions and misconceptions about breast enhancement below.

Do all implants need to be replaced after 10 years?

No. Unless you’re experiencing a problem with your breast implants, there is no reason to replace them after 10 years.

The key thing to remember is that implants are not lifetime devices, but their lifespan can be up to 30 years. The average lifetime for breast implants is 10-12 years and they are most commonly exchanged or removed due to personal aesthetic reasons. It is advised that you have regular ultrasound scans after 10 years to check the integrity of your implants and seek medical advice if you have any concerns with them.

Can implants burst on flights?

It’s a common misconception that implants explode at high altitudes. This myth persists to this day and is still often asked about in consultations.

It is completely safe to travel on a plane with implants, although we do recommend waiting six weeks before doing so, due to some discomfort you may experience from post-surgical bruising and swelling around the implant area. There is no risk of your implants bursting on a flight, as they are extremely strong, durable and do not contain any air – so they aren’t affected by changes in atmospheric pressure.

Is there a risk of implants rupturing?

Implants have been known to rupture, but the risk of this occurring is very minor. In the unlikely event that a silicone implant shell ruptures, the gel can leak out, but as it is cohesive – like a jelly baby, this would occur at a very slow rate, if at all.

There is no evidence that a ruptured implant poses a health risk as it is normally contained within the capsule encompassing the implant.

In the unlikely event that you suspect that your implant may have ruptured, please contact us straight away and we can arrange a scan, followed up by your Consultant advising the best course of action.

Can I breastfeed after breast enhancement surgery?

Yes. Breast enhancement will not affect the milk-producing ducts and glands in your breasts, so your ability to breastfeed will not be affected by the surgery. There is also no evidence to suggest transmission of silicone to infants in the breast milk of mothers with implants. However, it is important to note that not everyone can breastfeed, and if you are not able to breastfeed, this will not have been impacted by your breast implants.

Does having breast implants increase the risk of breast cancer?

There is no association between breast enhancement and breast cancer. One complication that has been found to be linked to some textured implants is BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma).

Different from breast cancer, BIA-ALCL is a rare form of cancer of the immune system that can develop in the fluid surrounding the implant. Women with breast implants are at a very small risk of developing BIA-ALCL, but it is highly curable if detected early. It develops slowly and is treated by removing the implant and the capsule that surrounds it and has, so far, only been found in patients with some textured implants.

Can I have breast enhancement surgery following pregnancy?

We advise waiting at least six months after giving birth or finishing breastfeeding until you opt for breast enhancement surgery. This is due to the ways in which pregnancy can change the body, with many women experiencing an increase in breast size during pregnancy, resulting in the possibility of breasts sagging when they return to pre-pregnancy size. The main reason for waiting is to let the breasts settle but most importantly, to ensure that you have stopped producing milk.

Results of breast enhancement surgery

Breast enhancement surgery is a life-changing procedure and should be a positive one. Studies have shown that it can be effective in improving quality of life, often giving a boost in self-confidence and body positivity.

Our highly experienced Consultants take the time to fully understand your needs and desired outcomes from breast enhancement surgery. They provide a relaxed and friendly environment to discuss your expectations and offering you the information you need to make sure cosmetic surgery is the right choice for you. They will also help you to prepare for your breast enhancement surgery.

Book a consultation online today or, for more information, contact our Private Patient Team by completing our enquiry form, via Livechat or on 01580 363158.

Published on 07 February 2024