5 Common Myths About Breast Implants

Published: August 10, 2023
Category: Dr. Nathan Leigh, Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift, Blog

Breast augmentation has been in the top three most requested plastic surgeries worldwide for decades. On average, about 300,000 women in the United States decide to enhance their confidence with breast implants each year. Even though breast augmentation enjoys immense popularity with patients, several circulating myths about the procedure may make some cautious about pursuing breast implants. Understanding the facts about breast augmentation can help you decide if they are the right option for you!

“Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most frequently performed procedures at Edina Plastic Surgery,” says Dr. Nathan Leigh, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner at Edina Plastic Surgery. “It’s not hard to understand the enduring popularity of breast implants,” he continues. “They can increase self-esteem and confidence, restore the body after pregnancy or weight loss, reverse the effects of aging, improve the fit of clothing, and even impact gender identity. The satisfaction rate from breast augmentation surgery is extremely high for patients. However, I still hear many of the same myths about breast implants arise during my initial consultations with patients.”

#1 – Breast Implants Are Dangerous

Some patients may remember that silicone breast implants were banned in 1992 due to the fear that leaking silicone could cause autoimmune conditions. That connection has not been proven to date, and silicone returned to the market in 2006 with much success. Still, most plastic surgeons recommend that their silicone breast implant patients receive an ultrasound exam five years after their augmentation surgery to detect any possible leaks. If anything appears suspicious, an MRI is then recommended.

“Certain highly textured breast implants have recently been connected to an extremely rare form of lymphoma called breast-implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL),” explains Dr. Leigh. “As a result, Allergan’s Biocell textured implant was recalled. However, this does not implicate all textured implants. Most have been used safely for years. Our surgeons generally prefer smooth implants at Edina Plastic Surgery due to their decreased risk, versatility, and excellent results.”

#2 – Breast Implants Guarantee High, Full, Youthful-Looking Breasts

Breast implants will look different in a 25-year-old woman than in a 45-year-old. That’s because our breast tissue changes with aging. Additional surgery, such as a breast lift, may sometimes be needed to achieve a patient’s aesthetic goals.

“If a woman has breastfed and/or is north of 35 years old, she may also need a breast lift to get her desired outcome with breast implants,” says Dr. Leigh. “Breasts that are deflated and have excess, lax tissue that makes them sag will seldom get an optimal outcome with breast implants alone. In fact, breast implants can make them look worse by adding heaviness and weight to the lower portion of the breast and exaggerating the appearance of sagging. A breast lift can be performed with breast implants to remove excess tissue and ensure that breasts are in a more youthful position on the chest wall.”

It is important to note that even if you have had a breast augmentation in the past, your breast tissue can experience changes due to aging, weight gain and loss, and pregnancy. Many women with breast implants will opt for a repeat surgery 10-20 years after their initial procedure to replace their implants with a breast lift performed simultaneously.

#3 – Bigger is Always Better

“I know how tempting it is for patients to follow trends in plastic surgery via social media, but the truth is, fleeting trends have no place when it comes to surgically enhancing your body,” advises Dr. Leigh. “Your body is uniquely beautiful, and what looks appropriate on one patient may not look right on you due to the frame of your body and its proportions. Some women’s bodies can support a large implant and still look natural and balanced. That same size implant may look like a caricature on a smaller-framed woman who is exceptionally thin with a narrow chest. Choosing an implant size that compliments your body’s proportions and lifestyle is key to having a beautiful, natural-looking outcome with breast implants. At Edina Plastic Surgery, we are lucky to have the VECTRA XT 3D Imaging System that allows our patients to see a virtual representation of what they may look like with various-sized implants.”

#4 – A Woman Can’t Breastfeed with Breast Implants

Breastfeeding with implants is both possible and completely safe. Most plastic surgeons prefer that a woman is done having children and breastfeeding before pursuing breast augmentation surgery because the breasts’ size, shape, and appearance can significantly change during this time. By waiting until you are done having children, your surgeon can address ALL of the changes that have resulted, such as loss of elasticity, changes to breast size and shape, deflation and volume loss, and even changes to the size of the areola.

“During a breast augmentation, implants are either placed beneath the pectoral muscles of the chest or above these muscles, behind the mammary glands and milk ducts,” explains Dr. Leigh. “Placing implants behind the pectoral muscles is more advantageous for breastfeeding, as it reduces the impact on the milk ducts and surrounding nerves and allows milk to reach the nipple freely.”

“It is definitely preferable to wait until after you are done breastfeeding to have breast implants, but life doesn’t always work that way,” laughs Dr. Leigh. “Statistically, the same percentage of women will have difficulty breastfeeding without implants as those with them. Even so, it’s important to communicate to your plastic surgeon that you may intend to have more children and breastfeed after your breast augmentation.”

#5 – Breast Implants Must Be Replaced Every 10 Years

Technically speaking, breast implants do not have an “expiration date,” after which they must be replaced. However, from a practical standpoint, it is best to consider your implants long-term but temporary products. Many augmentation patients have a revision procedure at some point after their initial surgery for implant replacement or removal, depending on the patient’s goals at that particular time point.

“A breast augmentation does not prevent the overlying breast tissue from aging,” says Dr. Leigh. “Some patients will desire a breast lift decades after their original breast augmentation to address sagging skin. During this time, many women will have their implants replaced because the statistical risk of rupture is high decades after implantation, so financially, it makes sense to go ahead and replace the implant to avoid another surgery and refresh her results.”

Have you been considering breast augmentation surgery but still have questions? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Nathan Leigh or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery to discuss them! Call (612) 688-3166, text (952) 925-1765, or CLICK HERE to get started!

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