Most Commonly Asked Breast Augmentation Questions
Certain questions come up over and over again during consultations for breast augmentation. Because of this I decided to list five of the most frequent with their answers. They are in no particular order.
1. Q: Will implants affect my ability to breastfeed?
A: The factor that may affect breast feeding after implants is whether major milk ducts or nerves were disrupted during the surgery. This is mainly based on the incision. If the incision is made at the breast fold or armpit then the chance of disrupting the ducts and nerves is very low. If the incision is made around the areola (the dark skin the nipple is centered on), there may be a higher chance that the ducts or nerves were disrupted. This may lead to decreased ability to breastfeed.
2. Q: Can silicone get into the breast milk?
A: Dr John Semple has published a study entitled ‘Breast-Feeding and Silicone Implants’ in the Supplement to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, December 2007, Silicone Breast Implants: Outcomes and Safety. In his study, he compared women with silicone breast implants to women without and demonstrated that the average silicon levels were not different in these two groups in either their breast milk or in their blood.
Based on this evidence we can conclude that silicone breast implants pose no significant known risks to breast feeding. La Leche League International, the world’s most recognized authority on breast feeding, advocates breast feeding in women with implants. Our clinical experience would back this finding as well.
3. Q: What is the association with breast implants and breast cancer?
A: The short answer is that breast implants do not cause breast cancer. However, breast cancer screening is more the issue. Women with implants need to have mammograms done in centers that are used to screening women with implants. This is because the angles the images are taken are slightly different than in women without implants. Also, the technician performing the mammogram must know you have implants in order to obtain the best views and avoid over compression, which may increase the chance of implant rupture. One side note is that implants placed behind the muscle interfere less than those placed in front of the muscle. Women with very small breasts can sometimes get better mammogram images with implants placed behind the muscle than with no implants, because they push the breast tissue forward.
4. Q: Do I need to replace the implants every so many years?
A: Implants are medical devices and so they do have a life span. The life span of an implant, whether it is saline or silicone has a lot to do with the implant shell. Weakening of the shell, either during the initial surgery, or with time may lead to deflation. Most women who receive saline implants will need to have them replaced within 10 years. Some women may require multiple surgeries after only 1 to 3 years, while others can keep the same implants for 20 years or more. As the trend towards younger and younger women wanting breast implants, it is important to tell them this will not be their only surgery on their breasts in their lifetime. However, if there are no issues with the breasts, a woman does not need to exchange the implants just because she has had them for a certain time period.