Is breast augmentation safe?

Dr. Luke Cusimano, FACS

Is breast augmentation safe?

Sep 30, 2023 | Blog

For many women considering breast augmentation, one primary question looms large: Is it safe? 

The decision to undergo a surgical procedure is a significant one. You must do everything within reach to ensure your well-being and peace of mind. In this article, we will explore the safety of breast augmentation cosmetic surgery. 

How Breast Augmentation is Done

Understanding the safety of breast augmentation begins with comprehending the procedure itself. It involves several key steps, starting with a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, where your goals, medical history, and physical assessment are considered. On the day of surgery, anesthesia is administered to ensure your comfort. Incisions are strategically placed, with options under the breast, around the areola, or in the armpit, chosen based on your preferences and implant type. The surgeon then inserts either saline or silicone implants, positioning them under the chest muscle or over it. Careful closure of incisions minimizes visible scarring. Your recovery phase is essential, requiring adherence to post-operative instructions, follow-up appointments, and diligent progress monitoring. Being well-informed about these steps and maintaining open communication with your surgeon is critical to ensuring a safe and successful breast augmentation experience.

Can Breast Augmentation Cause Cancer?

Breast augmentation – which involves the placement of breast implants – has often led to concerns about the potential link to cancer. It’s important to understand that breast augmentation itself does not cause cancer. The implants used in breast augmentation, whether saline or silicone, have been extensively studied and are not considered carcinogenic.

However, there is an extremely rare form of cancer known as Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This condition, which affects the immune system, has been associated with breast implants, particularly textured implants. The risk of developing BIA-ALCL is exceptionally low and it is highly treatable when detected early.

To ensure your safety, regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon are recommended, as is self-examination and an awareness of any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts. While breast augmentation itself is generally safe, staying informed about potential risks and maintaining open communication with your healthcare providers is crucial for your well-being.

Which Breast Implants Are the Safest?

When considering breast augmentation, the type of breast implants you choose play a significant role. The two primary types of breast implants are saline and silicone. Both have a long history of safety and effectiveness.

Saline Implants

Saline implants are filled with sterile saltwater. One of their notable safety advantages is that in the rare event of a rupture or leakage, your body harmlessly absorbs the saline. They are FDA-approved for breast augmentation in individuals 18 and older.

Silicone Implants

Silicone implants contain a cohesive silicone gel. These implants are known for their natural look and feel. They are FDA-approved for breast augmentation in individuals 22 and older.

Both types of implants have been extensively studied, and their safety profiles are well-documented. The choice between saline and silicone often comes down to your aesthetic goals, body type, and surgeon’s recommendation. 

Find the Right Breast Augmentation Surgeon

Safety in breast augmentation hinges on selecting the right surgeon. Your first step is research: seek out board-certified plastic surgeons with extensive breast augmentation experience in your area. Schedule consultations with these professionals, utilizing this opportunity to discuss your goals and inquire about their qualifications. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about their techniques and patient satisfaction rates. Request to view before-and-after photos and read patient testimonials to gain insights into their skills and the results they achieve. Ensure that your chosen surgeon holds board certification in plastic surgery, signifying the highest level of training and expertise. Additionally, inquire about hospital privileges, as this ensures the ability to perform your surgery in a hospital setting if needed. The safety and success of your breast augmentation are intrinsically tied to the skill and experience of your chosen surgeon.