Sixty years have passed since the first breast augmentation was performed with silicone gel implants, and yet the public and media still maintain incorrect information and misconceptions about this iconic cosmetic operation. Dr. John Anastasatos, board-certified Beverly Hills and Athens plastic surgeon, reveals the top ten myths regarding breast augmentation that he encounters.
1) Breast implants must be changed every ten years.
There is no medical necessity for breast implants to be replaced every ten years. Breast implants should be replaced when there is a problem or the patient desires a change. The most common problem is implant rupture. At my practice, Los Angeles Plastic Surgery in California, most patients change their implants to go bigger or switch from saline to silicone implants or vice versa. My patients from Athens and Europe prefer to make changes when they have problems.
2) Saline breast implants are safer than silicone ones.
Both saline breast implants and silicone ones are considered safe. Silicone breast implants are often preferred by plastic surgeons and patients because they are softer and more natural. Saline implants allow for more accurate breast volume asymmetry corrections.
3) Under the muscle is better than over the muscle.
Not always. The practice of placing breast implants under the pectoralis major muscle depends on breast anatomy and type of breast implants selected. Some patients get better results with the breast implants under the pectoralis major muscle while others over the muscle.
4) Textured breast implants can prevent capsular contracture (scar tissue) formation.
Not true. This has been a popular notion in Europe. The term “textured implants” means that the breast implant surface is rough (not smooth). The rough surface causes mild inflammation and helps the implant to adhere to the tissues. This was thought to decrease the incidence of capsular contracture but was never proven to be true. People who have textured breast implants still get capsular contractures.
5) Breast implants cause cancer.
The information we have up to date does not support such a claim. There has been recent evidence that a rare type of lymphoma was found on the capsule surrounding breast implants in some women with prior breast augmentation. This does not necessarily mean that in those people the lymphoma was caused by the presence of the breast implants. More investigation is currently being undertaken. Apart from this recent report, there has never been any association between silicone gel or saline-filled breast implants with any cancer in the body. There is no cause-and-effect relationship between breast implants and cancer.
6) You cannot breastfeed after you have had a breast augmentation.
False. When a breast augmentation is done via an incision through the inframammary fold, armpit or belly button there is usually no problem with breastfeeding.
7) I will lose breast or nipple sensation if I get a breast augmentation.
Rarely. If the breast augmentation is done via an incision in the breast fold, then, on the contrary, a women’s nipple sensitivity may be heightened. The reason why some women lose nipple sensation is if the plastic surgeon over dissects the outer breast pocket or tries to fit too large of an implant.
8) You need breast implants for a breast lift.
False. Breast implants are not a treatment for breast sagginess. Only a breast lift (mastopexy) corrects sagginess. Most patients incorrectly believe breast implants are required to achieve an effective breast lift.
9) Darker-skinned people are prone to darker, thicker and more visible scars.
False. Black, Latin, Indian and Southern European patients often believe this to be true. It is not. The color of the skin does not affect the wound healing process and eventual look of an incision.
10) Natural breast augmentation with fat is better and safer.
Rarely. Taking a person’s own fat with liposuction and adding it to the breasts may create future problems because some of the fat transferred will perish within a year. Lumps, bumps and contour irregularities may form. Breast lumps from fat can cause unnecessary scares and stress, as an anxiety-provoking breast mass will need to be examined. Furthermore, fat does not have the consistency to offer durable breast projection which is one of the most attractive attributes of breast augmentation with implants.
“Breast augmentation is the second most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the world, following liposuction, and providing real facts to a wide audience regarding some of the most commonly believed falsehoods is vital,” says Dr. Anastasatos.
For more information, come into the beautiful world of Los Angeles Plastic Surgery.