Are breast implants safe or can they explode on an airplane?

While there is a lot of hullabaloo around breast implants, an expert clears the air around their safety and precautions.
breast implants
Having a breast enlargement is a big decision. Consider these factors before going for it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shifa Khan Published: 14 Mar 2022, 11:42 am IST
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Yes, we said it, breasts are loved by one and all! However, some women are unhappy with the way their breasts look. Among many factors for droopy or small boobs, mostly are genetic but surgery, ageing, or constant stress can affect their them over time. This is where the option of breast implants, commonly known as a boob job, comes into the picture.

What are breast implants?

Breast implants are medical devices that are inserted in the breast tissue surgically to increase the size of the breasts.

However, the misconceptions or risks involved with getting a breast enlargement or breast lift procedure make it a lesser sought after solution.

To dive into the complications and risks involved and to know it all about getting breast implants, HealthShots spoke to Dr. Parag Telang, a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon.

breast pain and cabbage
Getting breast implants may have some risks involved too. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dr Telang explains the three types of breast implants:

1. Saline implants

They have a strong silicone elastomer shell, and are filled with a sterile saline solution at the time of surgery.

2. Silicone implants

The most common and preferred implants, they are filled with a viscous silicone gel.

3. Alternative-composition implants

They are filled with miscellaneous fillers such as soy oil, polypropylene string, but are no longer manufactured.

Okay! But, here comes the bigger question!

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Are breast implants safe?

Since many years, this procedure remains one of the safest cosmetic procedures. Breast implants not only bring a natural feel but there is also a paradigm shift in the way women start seeing themselves. Women generally opt for breast implants to achieve what they feel is a more cosmetically appealing shape and size of their breasts. However, there are still many misconceptions and myths that are attached to this procedure due to privacy-related issues.

“The breast implant treatment has many benefits for patients, but they do increase the risk of significant misinformation among the community. There are many consistent mysteries and taboo surrounding breast implants and breast augmentation surgery,” says Dr Telang, who is also the director of Designer Bodyz Centre for advanced cosmetic surgery, Mumbai.

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What are the common misconceptions around breast implants?

The most common myths that are attached to breast implants is: Do they feel natural? Whether the cohesive gel implants have any life after which they degrade or need to be changed? Do they interfere with nipple sensation, breastfeeding? Do they cause breast cancer? Can the implants explode or leak?
Dr Telang, who holds a DHA and HAAD license in plastic surgery, answers all these questions.

There are many misconceptions around beast augmentation procedure. Image courtesy: Unsplash

“Yes, they feel completely natural and nobody can make out that a woman has implants done. The cohesive gel silicone implants are almost for life and do not require to be changed if the patient does not have pain or any other symptom related to the implants. There is some temporary nipple area numbness after the surgery which settles in a few weeks,” says Dr Telang.

“The implants are placed behind the chest muscle (subpectoral) ; they do not cause interference with breast ductules and hence breastfeeding can continue like normal. There has been no causal association between breast implants and breast malignancy. These implants contain silicone as a form of stable cohesive gel, they do not leak or rupture and can withstand all sorts of pressure without any problem,” adds Dr Telang.

What are some risks of getting a breast implant?

However, half of the women who use silicon implants might experience a breakdown of the implant. There are equally high chances of it getting migrated to another part of the body. There are some other problems such as ruptures, leaks and medical complications like fibromyalgia or a thyroid problem. Saline implants have their own share of problems like bacterial infection, hematoma (bleeding), temporary loss of sensitivity of a part of the breast.

Dr Telang suggests, “After breast implant surgery, people may face some complications such as infection, seroma (fluid) accumulation, hardening of the implants due to formation of a capsule around the implants, rotation of the implants and rippling or folds on the implants. The chances of infection will be minuscule with the use of appropriate antibiotics and strict attention to asepsis.”

“The risk in anatomical implants can be averted with complete attention during insertion to prevent them from flipping over or sideways and this has a slight learning curve for the surgeon. With the use of cohesive gel implants, the incidence of rippling also can be almost eliminated,” explains Dr Telang.

Can breast implants cause cancer?

Currently, there is a lot of discussion about a peculiar complication associated with silicone implants which is an immune cell cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). This is an extremely rare complication and happens several years after the surgery. It may start as a new swelling in one of the breasts and may not cause any other symptoms.

However, this complication has been seen in less than 1 in 30,000 cases and has been linked to the texturing on the surface of silicone implants. To prevent this complication, most of the implant manufacturers have shifted to either a smooth surface or nano-texturing which has not been linked to this particular complication.

Though a lot has changed in the past years, the popularity of breast implants certainly hasn’t. It is one of the very safe procedures and gives a tremendous boost to the self-esteem of women who get them done. To take the plunge or not is your call, ladies. However, the popularity of breast implants is sure to touch the roof!

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About the Author

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued! ...Read More

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