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Breast Augmentation: Are Breast Implants Safe?

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Breast Augmentation: Are Breast Implants Safe?Breast augmentation in New York City is a popular cosmetic surgical procedure, helping women enhance their physical appearance and boost confidence and self-esteem. Performed using breast implants, this is an ideal option for women who want fuller breasts, to correct breasts that differ in size and shape, or to restore breast volume and firmness lost due to excessive weight loss, pregnancy, aging, or other reasons. Hundreds of thousands of patients opt to have breast implant surgery every year and report no adverse effects.  However, this popular procedure is not without its concerns and has resulted in a long-standing debate on the safety of breast implants.

Breast augmentation ranked first among the top five cosmetic surgical procedures in 2018. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), up to 313,735 breast augmentation procedures were performed in 2018, up 4 percent from 2017. In Manhattan, NYC, breast enlargement is performed using various types of FDA approved implants. The implants are usually placed behind the breast tissue or under the chest muscle. They also come in different sizes and shapes such as tear-drop, or round and with textured and smooth surfaces to fit any woman’s breasts and body type.

Even as the demand for breast implants continues to rise, concerns have been raised over their safety. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has stated that breast implants are safe, but that no medical device is without risks. There have been rare cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a highly treatable type of lymphoma, but ASPS notes that “decades of research have yet to establish a causal relationship between the device and systemic disease”.

However, with women’s advocacy groups continuing to raise concerns about breast implant safety, the FDA recently took a fresh look into the matter. The FDA advisory committee completed two days of hearings on breast implants’ links to long-term complications. Researchers, plastic surgeons and implant makers, as well as from women who believe their ailments were caused by the implants participated in the discussions.

CNN reported that while many plastic surgeons reported patient satisfaction with breast implants, they said that patients considering breast augmentation should have all up-to-date information so that they can make an informed decision. Another suggestion was the FDA limits the sale of breast implants to only board-certified plastic surgeons.

Suggestions from patients in the hearing include: taking implants with textured surfaces  off the market, mandatory testing for health risks associated with breast implants, and improved communication and informed consent about the risks and benefits of breast implants, such as in the form of a warning label. At the conclusion of the meetings, the panel recommended that the FDA require manufacturers to provide simpler and clearer health warnings to all patients. The FDA did not propose any new restrictions or warnings or propose any ban on any type of implant. The agency’s longstanding view is that implants are fundamentally safe as long as women understand they can have complications, including scarring, pain, swelling and implant rupture (www.medicalxpress.com).

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) takes all patient safety concerns seriously. According to the ASPS, breast implants are an important option for breast reconstruction and augmentation. Breast implants carry a risk of complications like any other medical device, and if patients develop a complication, they should consult their plastic surgeon to address it in a timely manner.

Complications that might occur with breast implants include:

  • Ruptures
  • Capsular contracture
  • Irreversibility
  • Changes in appearance and sensation
  • Associated health problems
  • Surgical complications

Breast augmentation is safe when performed and maintained as recommended. You will be given specific postoperative instructions and a follow-up appointment by your plastic surgeon. Most women return to work and light activity within one week after this procedure. Breast implants require only little maintenance, but you may be asked to take an MRI scan every few years just to ensure the implant is intact. The FDA recommends medical imaging to verify the implant’s integrity beginning at three years and every two years after that. Expert plastic surgeons in AAAASF-accredited practices offering breast augmentation in New York City inform potential patients of any risks associated with any procedure or device during their time of visit and help them to take an informed decision.

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