Guerra Plastic Surgery Center
Call us at (480) 970-2580
Skip to content

Debunking Some Breast Implant Myths

Debunking Some Breast Implant Myths

Breast implants are medical devices (prostheses) inserted under the breast tissue to primarily increase the breast size. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved their use for breast reconstruction after cancer or trauma, breast developmental defects correction, and revision surgeries. Moreover, the FDA confirms that breast implants' local complications and adverse health consequences affect only 1% of patients.
Since their introduction in 1962 by Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow, breast implants have grown in popularity among women. According to the 2020 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost 200,000 women in the U.S. have undergone breast augmentation with breast implants.

Despite its popularity and guaranteed safety, negative stigmas and misinformation still surround breast implants, making it complicated for women to make an informed decision about their breast goals journey.

In this article, we’ve compiled the common myths associated with breast implants and explained each one of them based on facts.

Myth #1: Breast implants must be replaced every ten years

The 2011 report by the FDA expressed that one out of five patients who had silicone breast implants needed a replacement or revision after a decade. This has sparked misinterpretation that all breast implants need to be replaced every ten years. While it is true that breast implants will eventually need to be replaced or removed, there is no exact expiration date for these prostheses. Most silicone and saline implants are FDA-approved to last from 10 to 20 years. However, this does not mean that you have to get them replaced within this period.

Breast implants are made to withstand considerable amounts of impact and pressure. Many patients only had to go through 1 to 2 replacements in their lifetime. Some of the reasons for removing or replacing breast implants are rupture, which occurs in about 3% of implants only, and rare side effects like capsular contracture. The majority of the revision procedures are based on personal choice to get bigger implants.

Myth #2: Breast implants can lift sagging breasts

It’s common for patients to go to an appointment for breast augmentation but won’t qualify for the procedure because they have a severe breast droop or ptosis. The reason for this is that implants may worsen the droop over time due to the downward pressure on the breast tissue. In this case, plastic surgeons recommend that patients undergo breast lift surgery (mastopexy) in conjunction to the implant procedure. Please know that although a breast lift with implants will greatly improve your look, it will not lift your breasts 100% to their original perkiness.

On the other hand, if a patient only has a small level of ptosis, filling out loose skin with breast implants may improve the breasts’ appearance. As indicated in our previous article, “Is Breast Augmentation for You?” breast implants do not solve sagging breasts. It is the breast lift procedure that volumetrically reshapes the breasts to correct the drooping.

Myth #3: Silicone implants are the best option

There are two types of FDA-approved breast implants—silicone gel-filled and saline-filled—in the United States. Both use an outer shell made of an inert material, silicone, and may vary in size, texture, shape, and thickness.

In 2017, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 87% of patients used silicone for their breast augmentation operation. The popularity of this material may be attributed to its natural effect in terms of look and feel. Furthermore, silicone has no known human allergic reaction or sensitivity.

The silicone is stuck to one another in a cohesive matrix and is more viscous than saline, making it resemble the feeling of natural breast tissue. However, it requires more maintenance, and in the event of a rupture, its leakage is not noticeable (also called “silent rupture). The FDA recommends patients get an MRI three years after the implant and every two years after the first one.

Saline implants, on the other hand, contain sterile saline water, which makes them safe to be absorbed or expelled by the body in case of implant rupture. This also causes the implant to deflate almost instantly and noticeably, so patients can immediately seek replacement or removal.

You see that both saline and silicone implant options have advantages and disadvantages, so when discussing which one is the better option, your decision should be based on the expert’s recommendation and your personal preference.

Myth #4: Breast implants affect sensation

Breast sensation is subjective as it can cause an increase or decrease in feeling at varying degrees without being quantified. Most anecdotal reports will only reveal whether there is a change in sensation or not, but not how much more or how much less.

Studies of changes in breast sensibility after breast augmentation with implants have produced many discrepancies. In the 2006 study by Okwueze, et al., quantitative data were collected using the Pressure-Specified Sensory Device to assess objective breast sensation among 33 patients. The results showed that the periareolar incision could cause less sensory loss in the lower pole of the breast when compared with the inframammary incision.

Myth #5: Breasts look and feel fake after augmentation with implants

Just like any plastic surgery, it takes time for your body to get used to it. Immediately after getting breast implants, your breasts may feel hard to the touch, and this is completely normal. But over time, the implants are supposed to drop into the expandable breast pocket created by the surgeon. Afterward, the breast tissue will soften, and swelling will subside. At this point, your implants will look and feel more like your natural breast tissue.

This softening process called “fluffing” can last between 8 weeks to 6 months. So if your breasts don’t soften after six months, you should see your plastic surgeon.

Myth #6: Breast implants eliminate the option for breastfeeding

Any type of breast surgical procedure can potentially affect the breast ducts and nerves responsible for lactation. According to studies, breast implants inserted below the muscle are more ideal than above in terms of milk production. However, ducts affected during the surgery may regrow over time, and nerves may regain functionality, making lactation possible again.

With that, mothers should monitor whether their child is gaining weight or not. Because if the mother is not producing milk sufficiently, she might need a lactation enhancer or supplement the child with a formula.

In terms of other health effects on babies, there have been no reports on clinical problems in infants whose mothers had silicone breast implants. In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that silicone implants do not have contraindications for breastfeeding mothers.

Learn more about whether breast implants are right for you in Scottsdale by scheduling a consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Aldo Guerra at 480-970-2580.


No Trackbacks