As an Orange County plastic surgeon with almost 20 years of private practice experience, I have heard almost all the myths and misconceptions surrounding breast augmentation (BAM) surgery. I hope this blog will clarify some or all of the misconceptions regarding this surgery. The breast augmentation myths are listed in no specific order.
“I have to replace my implants every ten years.”
This is perhaps the most common misinformation about BAM. Currently, all FDA approved breast implant manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for implant failure. For the first ten years from surgery date, the companies also offer financial assistance towards the procedure. Somehow, this fact has become distorted. As long as the patient is happy with the shape and feel of the breast, implants do not require replacement, regardless of age of the implant.
“I want gummy bear implants.”
The original gummy bear implant was the Allergan style 410 implant. This implant has a textured surface and is anatomical in shape (tear-shaped). When the implant became available, it had the most cohesive silicone structure available at that time. There are many photos of the implant having been cut at a corner, with no silicone gel leak. Currently, all FDA approved silicone implants, regardless of manufacturer, are “gummy bear” in consistency. In reality, patients are not specifically asking for the style 410 implant, as much as not recognizing all implants have the same gummy bear like structure.
“If I need a breast lift, a large implant will fill the loose skin and raise my nipples.”
If a patient has loose skin and nipple ptosis, a large implant will have a mild to moderate effect, especially if placed over the muscle. However, a large implant, because of its weight, is subject to the law of gravity. Eventually, the patient will require switching to a smaller implant and removing the excess skin.
“A large implant will give me a perky look.”
This myth is a continuation of myth 3. If one looks at the shape of implants, as the implant becomes larger the projection decreases relative to the diameter. In other words, a high profile 250cc implant will have a perkier look than a high profile 500cc implant from the same manufacturer. I have operated on many patients who had larger implants with breast ptosis. I used a smaller implant and performed a proper lift. Comparison of both showed the smaller implant to look perkier and in some ways “larger” because of the perkier profile.
“Silicone implants are dangerous.”
The silicone implant was originally removed from the market not based on scientific evidence, but based on journalistic hype. The silicone implant is arguably the most studied implantable medical device ever. Numerous studies, involving tens of thousands of patients, have failed to show any danger from silicone implants. To clarify, we are exposed to silicone throughout our lives. One study biopsied tissue from both men and women who had never had breast implants. All tissue samples showed traces of silicone. The shell of the implant, for both saline and silicone, is also made of silicone. In other words, a patient asking for a saline implant will still have exposure to silicone.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is an Orange County plastic surgeon with almost 20 years of experience. His offices are located in Santa Ana, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call (714) 834-0101.
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