Breast Implant Breakdown: Five Things to Know

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Breast augmentation is a fairly common procedure to improve the appearance of the breasts. But there’s a lot to think about it when it comes to breast implants—from finding the right board-certified surgeon to choosing the right shape and size, there are lot of choices to be made and factors to take into consideration. There might be some research involved but if you do your homework, you should be very happy with the results. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers women who are considering breast implants these five pointers:

1. Breast implants are not lifetime devices.
The life of implants vary from person to person. Additional surgeries can be performed to modify the aesthetic outcome, such as the size or shape. However, the longer a woman has the same implants, the greater the chances that she will develop complications, which can require unwanted surgery.

2. Do your research. 
The FDA advises that women look at the Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data (SSED) for each implant to learn about their characteristics and the fillers used. SSEDs have been produced for all approved saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants. They provide information on the indications for use, risks, warnings, precautions and studies associated with FDA approval of the device. Also, look at the frequency of serious complications found in the SSED.

3. Communicate with your plastic surgeon. 
Plastic surgeons must evaluate the shape, size, surface texture and placement of the implant and the incision site for each woman. Ask your doctor questions about his or her professional experience, the surgical procedure and the ways the implant might affect your life.

Also, be sure to discuss your expectations and tell the surgeon about any previous surgeries and your body’s response. This will help your doctor make operative decisions that achieve the desired appearance (like incision location and implant size and placement).

4. Learn about long-term risks.
Some women with breast implants have experienced connective tissue diseases, lactation difficulties or reproductive problems. However, current evidence does not support an association between breast implants and these conditions, but it is wise to familiar yourself with any possible risks.

5. Monitoring is crucial.
The FDA recommends that women with breast implants promptly report any unusual signs or symptoms to their doctors. Also, Perform self-examinations and get mammograms to look for early signs of cancer. Additionally, women with silicone implants should get MRI screenings to detect silent ruptures three years after their surgery and every two years after that.

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