Breast implants are devices that are surgically inserted into the body under the breast tissue or muscles of the chest. Implants are sometimes used to reconstruct a breast after removal because of breast cancer or after an injury. Other times, implants are a cosmetic treatment that's used to enhance or enlarge the breasts.
More About Breast Implants
Two types of breast implants can legally be used in the United States. One is a silicone outer shell that's filled with a silicone gel, and the other also has a silicone outer shell but a saline solution inside. Both types of breast implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A decision on which type of implant should be used can be determined through close consultation between the patient and a cosmetic surgeon.
Breast implants require a surgical procedure. This is typically performed by a cosmetic surgeon in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. The procedure can be performed using a local anesthetic to numb the breast area or general anesthetic to make the patient unconscious during the procedure.
Risks of Breast Implants
Breast implants do carry some risks, so it’s important for women to be aware of these before having the surgery. For example, complications such as pain and tenderness will occur for a month or more after the surgery. Additional surgeries might be necessary, and patients will need to monitor the breasts closely to look for any changes. With silicone implants, ruptures can occur, and women will need their breasts examined frequently to check for ruptures. Having breast implants can also make it more difficult to detect breast cancer with a mammogram, and they also increase the risk for a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. It’s important to weigh the benefits against these risks before getting breast implants.
SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration