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Breast Augmentation

The Truth About Breast Implants

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons  (ASPS) recently revealed that breast augmentation was the most-performed plastic surgery procedure for the second year in a row.

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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons  (ASPS) recently revealed that breast augmentation was the most-performed plastic surgery procedure for the second year in a row.

This popularity is evidenced by the fact that between 20-35 million women worldwide have breast implants.

However, attention has recently returned to the issue of breast implant safety. While silicone, saline, and cohesive-gel implants are FDA-approved, the US Food & Drug Administration called a meeting of the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel earlier this month to discuss the benefits and risks of breast implants for use in breast augmentation and reconstruction.

This news caused many women to wonder if they should be concerned about their implants and if they are at risk for cancer or other illnesses.

Continue reading to learn the truth about breast implants.

What is Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)?

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is an extremely rare cancer that has been linked to the use of textured breast implants. It involves the development of immune cells in the scar tissue that surrounds the breast implant.

What Causes BIA-ALCL?

Researchers have identified several contributing factors to BIA-ALCL. These include textured implants (anatomical and teardrop shaped), chronic inflammation, genetic predisposition, and time (it takes about 8 years for the condition to develop).

Why Are Women with Textured Breast Implants at Greater Risk for BIA-ALCL?

Textured implants feature a macrotextured or microtextured shell that surrounds the implant. Because these implants differ in granularity, they are more likely to serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.

Accordingly, many plastic surgeons have discontinued using textured breast implants. They find that the risk of BIA-ALCL far outweighs the benefits of this particular implant.

Should You Be Worried About Breast Implants and BIA-ALCL?

The good news is that BIA-ALCL is very rare. Researchers report a 1 in 82,000 risk associated with “microtexture” implants and a 1 in 3,200 risk with “macrotexture” implants. Additionally, there are no known cases of BIA-ALCL in women with smooth implants.

Plus, BIA-ALCL  is highly treatable. 85% of cases of BIA-ALCL can be cured with surgical removal of the implant and surrounding scar tissue, while 15% required chemotherapy and radiation to address malignancy that has spread.

Finally, you should contact your doctor immediately if you note changes or have any concerns about your breast implants. Women considering breast augmentation, should ensure that their treatment is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, abreast of the latest studies and FDA recommendations.

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Breast Augmentation

Breast Augmentation in the Washington DC Area

Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that can improve a woman’s confidence, body image, and quality of life.

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Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure that can improve a woman’s confidence, body image, and quality of life. For these reasons, it’s consistently ranked as one of the top plastic surgery treatments.

Patients that are considering breast augmentation should identify their cosmetic and personal goals for treatment and seek a skilled and experienced surgeon who is board-certified. It’s also important for women to understand the benefits of surgery and expected recovery period.

So, is breast augmentation right for you?  Here’s what you need to know.

Why Do Patients Seek Breast Augmentation?

Undergoing breast augmentation should be a personal decision for every patient, and women often share common objectives for this type of procedure.

More specifically, many patients seek breast augmentation to: 

Increase breast size; Enhance the overall body contour, balance and proportions; Achieve an improved breast aesthetic, size, projection, etc., following pregnancy and/or weight loss; Restore appearance through reconstruction following breast surgery (i.e., mastectomy).

Who’s an Ideal Candidate for Breast Augmentation?

Healthy women that want to make cosmetic changes to their breasts and boost confidence are often good candidates for breast augmentation. These patients should be well aware of surgery benefits, risks, costs, and recovery and have realistic expectations about their results.

A physical exam, blood work, or other testing/imaging may also be requested prior to surgery for some patients.

Those that are significantly overweight may be asked to lose a certain number of pounds before undergoing breast augmentation, and smokers will be required to stop smoking several weeks before and after their procedure.

What Are the Benefits of Breast Augmentation?

One of the key advantages of breast augmentation is that it can improve a woman’s body image and help her feel better about the look of her breasts.  This surgery can also make breasts more symmetrical in size and shape, add volume to naturally smaller or deflated breasts, and repair breasts that have been damaged due to an accident, injury, or disease.

What to Expect From Breast Augmentation Recovery?

Recovery will vary from patient to patient, and those with sub-muscular implants may experience increased discomfort due to stretching of the muscle. Other possible side effects following a breast augmentation may include fatigue, tightness, soreness, pain, numbness, swelling, and bruising.

Patients will also be advised to wear a surgical bra post-operatively and avoid strenuous exercise that involves the use of arms and chest muscles until the breasts have properly healed.

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