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I am 18 years old and would like to know what the risks are with having breast...

Q:

I am 18 years old and would like to know what the risks are with having breast augmentation. I've read a lot about it on the internet, but need a doctor’s answer. I’ve heard that breast implants have to be replaced after a couple of years – is this true and if so, how often? Are there any additional risks because of my young age?

A:

I will focus the discussion on saline (sterile salt water filled) implants. Typically, saline implants are very durable and retain their form very well. The primary risk unique to breast implants includes leakage, which is not a health risk, and scar tissue formation around the implant, leading to a change in the feel or appearance of the breast. Fortunately, these complications do not happen very often and your board certified plastic surgeon can assist you if these problems occur. Breast implants that are currently approved for use do not have expiration, so you do not remove them unless there is a problem. It is important to understand that breast, with or without implants, age like the rest of the body. The heavier the breast, relative to the support of the skin, the greater is the tendency for sagging over a lifetime. Your surgeon will help you find the right size to minimize these changes. The most important thing to remember is that with realistic expectations and understanding of the risk/benefits, the vast majority of breast augmentation patients are very happy. For additional information, refer to www.surgery.org and www.plasticsurgery.org.

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