by Linda Swanson, MD, FACS
Myth 1: Everyone will know that I have breast implants
A carefully planned and performed surgical procedure can give most patients a very lovely, natural appearing result. It is important to choose an experienced surgeon who will consider your desires while taking into account your height, weight, and your natural breast size and shape. Choosing an appropriate implant and positioning it correctly are key to achieving a natural looking result. Most implants which are obvious to the casual observer are due to avoidable problems: the implant is placed too high, it is in front of the muscle, or it is too large for the woman's chest.
Myth 2: Implants must be replaced every 5 to 10 years
Implants do not need to be replaced unless a problem occurs. Many patients have had implants for 20+ years which continue to be soft and natural looking. With the saline filled implants currently used for patients desiring larger breasts, the most common problem is leakage. While this is not dangerous, it is a nuisance, as the failed implant must be surgically replaced. Interestingly, the most common cause for implant removal and exchange, is the desire on the patient's part to have larger implants!
Myth 3: I will have to change my lifestyle or activities
Prior to surgery, your surgeon will give you guidelines concerning the time needed off from work and how soon you may expect to resume your particular sports and hobbies. Once healing has taken place a patient may resume all of her usual activities. Your surgeon will guide you during the initial weeks of healing. Ultimately you can scuba dive, mountain climb, parachute jump, kick box or anything else that you might desire without worrying about your implants.
Myth 4: A large enough implant will correct droopy breasts
If you have droopy breasts, that is, if your nipples are at or below the bottom of your breasts, implants alone will not correct the problem. Implants will increase the size of your breasts, but the nipples will still be too low and the breast will not look attractive. You will need a lift procedure along with your breast augmentation to achieve a well- shaped breast. The type of lift needed will depend on the amount of drooping present. Your surgeon will discuss the various options with you. Some patients who are satisfied with the size of their breasts, but have lost shape due to pregnancy or weight loss, will find that a lift alone will solve their problem.
Myth 5: Implants feel unnaturally firm
While augmented breasts will never feel as completely soft as natural breasts, breast implants are very good substitute. The key is to prevent as much as possible, the building up of scar tissue around the implant. While no one has a magic formula to prevent this entirely, there are things that can be done to reduce the chances of having significant encapsulation occur. We know that saline implants are less likely to become encapsulated than silicone gel implants. We also know that placing the implants under the chest muscle helps keeps the implants feeling soft. Using an implant that fits comfortably on the chest wall, i.e. that is not excessively large, is another important factor. Some surgeons will prescribe substantial doses of Vitamin E and /or implant displacement exercises to help maintain softness. It is important to follow your surgeon's directions to achieve the best possible outcome.