Breast Im­plants

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

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.

Break­ing point

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.

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