Going up a bra size or two surgically poses several risks down the road
Going up a bra size or two surgically can invite a cupful of woes down the road.
Just take a look at the pictures of any top Bollywood actress today and you’d be forgiven for wondering whether that all-too-perfect looking pair nestling up there and adorning a curvy figure is authentic. Even taking into account the artistic license of photoshopping you’d be right if you suspect they aren’t. How can you tell? To throw in a pun, there are a few standout clues: the breasts are set too close together (real ones have at least 2 to 3 inches between them); they sit too high up on her chest (real breasts normally align with armpits); they look like melons (natural breasts are more like pears). The popularity of breast augmentation that took off with Baywatch back in the ‘90s has exploded internationally and in India. With celebs leading the trend it’s no surprise that even girls who have no Big Screen ambitions are queuing up for ‘boob jobs’. Take a look at these statistics: ✦ A survey by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) states that India ranks as the fourth biggest cosmetic surgery market. ✦ In 2011 alone a total of 683,160 aesthetic surgical procedures were performed and this trend is only going higher. ✦ Breast implant surgery and liposuction apparently are the most popular pre-marriage surgical procedures among Indian women. Seeing enormous potential in the market Johnson & Johnson introduced its Mentor range of breast implants in India although there are other players (Euro Silicone, Silimed) already in the scene. ✦ Turns out Indian women also want bigger – jumping from 275-325 cc to 350-400 cc implants. Now it’s one thing to go for implants after a mastectomy. And quite another matter to want to go under the knife for a curvier figure. Unfortunately not all women who hanker for a more impressive bosom fully understand the risks involved in what is, after all, an elective surgery that’s invasive. Consider this: In the US alone more than 40,000 implant removal procedures were reported in 2008. Given these figures, it is not surprising that in spite of the increasing number of women going for implants, debate continues to swirl about their safety. Here are the facts about what is known and not known about the risks of breast augmentation.
Implant and thereafter
✦ The most common complications related to the breast implants or the surgery include infection and hematoma, chronic breast pain, breast or nipple numbness, capsular contracture (caused by scar tissue buildup in the area), breakage and leakage, necrosis (skin death), the need for additional surgery, and “cosmetic” problems (such as dissatisfaction with how the breast looks with the implant). Problems like these can interfere with sexual intimacy. ✦ A more controversial question is whether breast implants cause diseases or illnesses, and not just problems in the breast area. Some studies suggest that women who had leaking silicone gel breast implants were significantly more likely to report fibromyalgia, a painful autoimmune disease. ✦ There is currently no evidence linking implants to breast cancer. But implants have the potential to delay detection of breast cancer for various reasons:
1. Although mammography can be performed in ways that minimize the interference of the implants, approximately 55 percent of breast tumors will be hidden in women with implants. 2. US FDA scientists report that silicone or saline implants can rupture when women undergo mammograms, and for this reason, women who fear implant rupture may forego mammograms. 3. The accuracy of mammograms tends to decrease as the size of the implants increase in proportion to the size of the woman’s natural breast. ✦ Scientists also found a 21% overall increased risk of brain, respiratory tract, cervical, and vulvar cancers for women who had implants for at least seven years. More research is needed to draw any conclusions, however. ✦ Women who had breast implants for at least 12 years were also more likely to die from brain tumors, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and suicide compared with other plastic surgery patients. ✦ Some women with implants have raised concerns about memory loss, difficulties with concentration, and other cognitive problems. Experts believe these symptoms could be related to the small amounts of platinum that are used to make silicone gel breast implants.
All breast implants will eventually break. Studies of silicone breast implants suggest that most implants last 7-12 years, but some break during the first few months or years, while others last more than 15 years. In a study conducted by US FDA scientists, most women had at least one broken implant within 11 years, and the likelihood of rupture increases every year. Silicone migrated outside of the breast capsule for 21% of the women, even though most women were unaware that this had happened. ✦ Newer “gummy bear” breast implants, named after gummy bear candies because the implants are a thicker, more cohesive silicone gel, might be less likely to break or leak into the body. Unfortunately, there are no studies to show whether these new implants are proven safer than other silicone gel breast implants for long-term use. In one study of 344 women, most of whom had experienced no problems with their implants, MRI scans revealed that a whopping 69 per cent had at least one ruptured implant. In 73 of the women, silicone had spread outside the scar capsule that can form around the implant. A broken implant can cause lumps, hardening of the breast, pain – even, rarely, nerve damage. All of which highlights the plain fact that many implants don’t last a lifetime. “When patients were originally implanted, most were told that the implants would last forever,” says plastic surgeon Lu-Jean Feng, in Cleveland, who has researched the devices. “I tell my patients that no tires last that long. Why should implants?” And keep in mind that each replacement adds to the cost. ✦ Getting implants removed isn’t simple. Say you’re not happy with your brand new bosom or it broke, or may be you’re concerned about the long-term health risks. Typically the implants are removed “en bloc,” i.e. the implant along with the intact scar tissue capsule surrounding it, similar to a mastectomy, to remove any silicone that may have leaked from a broken gel implant. In other words don’t expect to go back to your old size. What you’ll be finally left with, is a bosom that’s substantially less impressive than what nature bestowed you.