ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT YOUR BREAST IMPLANTS? UNDERSTANDING YOUR OPTIONS
By Dr. Constance M. Chen
Women are increasingly worried about breast implants. In 2016, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 400,000 women in the United States had breast implant surgery. About 75% were for cosmetic breast augmentation; the rest were for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. While some breast implants last for decades, most are removed well beforehand. Why?
Implants are foreign bodies that incite a scar tissue barrier called a capsule. Capsules may be soft, filmy and hardly noticeable, or may become painful, hard and tight, like a shell around the implant that starts to shrink and squeeze. Capsular contracture is uncomfortable and a common reason for implant removal. Other reasons include infection, because the implant lacks a blood supply to fight bacteria; rupture, in which the saline or silicone gel filling leaks; and extrusion, in which the implant erodes out of the skin.
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