Busted Myths about Breast Implants and Answers to Other Common Questions By Joy McNutt

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Breast augmentation is one of the most popular and common of elective surgeries in the United States. More than 250,000 women elected to get implants in 2005. “An uncomplicated breast implant can be performed as an outpatient procedure under anesthesia in about an hour,” says Mark F. Deutsch, MD FACS. “They usually last about 15 years.”

Today’s implants allow women to select a natural look or a custom-designed figure. A skilled surgeon can help a woman have the correctly-proportioned figure that most complements her height and body type. She can have the larger breasts she has always dreamed of, or can enjoy the same youthful figure she had before pregnancy.

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular and common of elective surgeries in the United States. Breast enhancement procedures became fashionable and accepted in the 1960s with the introduction of sophisticated, less invasive medical techniques. As doctors and researchers discovered more elite procedures and found higher quality materials for those implants, their popularity continued to rise. More than 250,000 women elected to get implants in 2005.

“An uncomplicated breast implant can be performed as an outpatient procedure under anesthesia in about an hour,” says Mark F. Deutsch, MD FACS. “They usually last about 15 years.”

Women generally offer two reasons for desiring breast enlargement. Some women have always had a small cup size. Other women have lost their original fullness or perkiness due to pregnancy or weight loss.

“Breast implants can help both these women by enhancing volume and adjusting the position of the nipple,” Dr. Deutsch says. “Today’s implants allow women to select a natural look or a custom-designed figure. A skilled surgeon can help a woman have the correctly-proportioned figure that most complements her height and body type. She can have the larger breasts she has always dreamed of, or can enjoy the same youthful figure she had before pregnancy.”

Dr. Deutsch advises women considering a procedure to choose their doctor carefully. Word of mouth is an excellent way to begin the selection process. Pay attention to the doctor’s listening skills, too.

“A surgeon should always schedule a lengthy conference so he can fully understand her picture of her dream figure.” Dr. Deutsch “He can help her consider her desired cup size and the shape of the breasts she wants.”

Breast implants generally last 10 to 15 years, Dr. Deutsch says. Saline implants are the most common material used in breast augmentation – they look good, feel natural and are not linked to the side effects of older silicone implants.

“There remain some rare complications women should be aware of,” Dr. Deutsch says. “Some saline implants have deflated up to 10 percent over a five-year period. Implant companies have a standard warranty and offer an extended warranty."

Meanwhile, the FDA continues to research alternative implant materials.

Common myths

Dr. Deutsch debunks some common misconceptions about breast implants. There are no data linking breast implants with breast cancer, and new mothers can nurse their babies, even with implants. Women with implants have no excuse for skipping the annual mammogram, either.

A careful surgeon can keep scarring to a minimum.

“It depends on the procedure,” Dr. Deutsch says. “In the case of a breast lift, the incision will be around the areola, the colored skin surrounding the nipple. An incision under the breast is fairly common and unnoticeable, as well as an armpit incision.”

The recovery for breast augmentation is much easier than before.

“The patient must not exercise or lift heavy objects for a few weeks,” Dr. Deutsch says. “She will wear a surgical bra for the first week and then a sports bra or jogging bra for a few weeks afterward. The stitches will dissolve and she can shower the day after the surgery.”

Mark F. Deutsch, MD FACS, is board certified in cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery, and founder of Perimeter Plastic Surgery located in Atlanta and Fayetteville. Perimeter Plastic Surgery is a boutique-style facility catering to patients seeking elective surgery or more personalized attention. Author of several articles on cancer reconstruction, Dr. Deutsch has earned a solid reputation in the field as an expert on all parts of the body, not just breasts or face. Perimeter Plastic Surgery offers the latest techniques for popular cosmetic/reconstructive procedures such as breast augmentation and reduction, facial plastic surgeries, abdominoplasty, liposuction, Botox™ and more.    

Joy McNutt is a freelance writer.

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