If it’s surgically inserted, like a breast implant, it will need care

January 24, 2012

A well-informed consumer will have the best results
A well-informed consumer will have the best results

Whether you’re wearing a tank top, bathing suit or cocktail dress, there’s no better accompaniment than well-shaped breasts. Though an “A” bra cup size will not qualify you for disability insurance, those that go forth with a flat chest sometimes feel like they’re operating with a handicap. To prove this point, since 1962, between five and ten million unendowed, poorly endowed or otherwise dissatisfied women, worldwide, including an estimated 1.5 to 2.5 million in the United States, have undergone breast implant surgery.

But, it’s not like you can get breast implants and walk off into the sunset. Just like your BMW, roof or pacemaker, breast implants have no lifetime guarantee and are likely to need maintenance or replacement. Breast implants recently made headlines in Europe when it was discovered that silicone implants manufactured by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) had an abnormally high rupture rate. According to Reuters, December 27, 2011, “That risk, though typically low, is present in all implants.”

In Britain and the United States, breast enlargement is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure and there’s nothing to suggest that will change. With the recent PIP health scare, there will probably be increased efforts to make sure that consumers are well informed.  The British Implant Information Society says on its website, “Breast implants do not last a lifetime; they will need replacing at some point in the future.”

This year U.S. regulators warned that most women with implants were likely to need additional surgery within ten years to address complications like rupturing and leakage. If you get implants when you’re very young, this could mean that you go back for breast surgery at least once and possibly twice in your lifetime.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, on their website, describes implant rupture. “If a saline-filled implant breaks, its contents are harmlessly absorbed by the body within hours. A definite change in the size of the breast is clearly noticed. The implant may be removed and replaced if desired.  If a silicone implant is used, a rupture may not be immediately obvious.  You may notice that your breasts seem to change shape, feel different, or start to have capsular contracture.  A ruptured silicone implant should be removed and if desired, replaced.”

Rule number one for breast implants, as well as other plastic surgery procedures, is to choose a surgeon who is board-certified in plastic surgery.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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