Are Breast Implants Right For You? Here Are 5 Health Factors You May Not Have Considered

Breast implants are like any other cosmetic procedure in that they carry risks. Your surgeon will discuss these with you along with the benefits and carefully guide you through the decision-making process. Before giving the final nod, learn about these five health factors.

1. Impact On Breastfeeding

Many women with implants can breastfeed successfully, but some may experience reduced milk supply. When implants are placed directly against the breast tissue, the pressure can crowd the milk ducts, reducing what you produce and disrupting its free flow during feedings. Since the baby isn’t getting enough, you may have to consider formula for nourishment. Implants inserted behind the chest muscle are less likely to cause this.

Although not prevalent, another complication that happens in at least 1% of patients is changes in breast and nipple sensations. The sensitivity in these areas will either increase or decrease, affecting breastfeeding and sexual response.

2. Breast Screening

Breast implants may also affect your screening tests. They may interfere with MRIs, ultrasounds and mammograms, which women between 45 and 54 must do annually to monitor their health.

Typically, breast images are taken from two angles to determine your risk for breast cancer. However, people with implants are required to take additional photos to get accurate mammogram results. Silicon is radiopaque, meaning it blocks radiation instead of letting it pass through, resulting in distortions that may be misinterpreted. The extra shots give the radiologist a better view or signs of any abnormalities.

3. Implant Revision

The rate of implant revision remains as high as 36% — a significant factor you should take into account before surgery. Common causes include the malposition of the implant, ptosis or drooping of the aging breast, and capsular contracture — a complication caused by the body’s excessive reaction to the silicon or saline material. Discomforts related to breast implants indicate a number of issues that may eventually require re-operation.

4. Breast Implant Illness (BII)

BII is a term describing the range of autoimmune symptoms you may experience after getting surgery. If you experience any of these after being operated on, your risk is high:

  • Joint pain
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing problems
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Depression

The signs of BII vary per person, so you may manifest milder and fewer symptoms than others.

BII is not an officially diagnosed condition and experts don’t fully understand what causes it. Others assume it’s an inflammatory or autoimmune reaction to the implants. One certain thing is they affect people who’ve had breast reconstruction or enlargement using saline-filled or gel-filled material, and whether they’re ruptured or intact. In most cases, removing the implants can improve BII symptoms.

5. Long-Term Health Implications

Many people who’ve had cosmetic surgery report improvements in their quality of life, confidence and self-esteem — an encouraging outcome. However, the downside links breast implants with autoimmune diseases, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Raynaud’s syndrome

Surgery to remove the implant improved symptoms in more than 50% of the patients, making experts believe the strong connection between implants and autoimmune diseases. They suspected bacterial biofilm or the microorganisms attaching to the surface of the implants and the host-pathogen interactions to have a role in developing these illnesses.

Breast Implants Have Health Considerations

Many people who’ve had breast implants feel satisfied with the results and increase their quality of life. While they can certainly boost your self-esteem and make you happier, consider their potential long-term health risks. Know what to expect by researching and asking your surgeon about the possible surgery results.

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