Breast surgery, from augmentation to simple changes in form or shape, has always been surrounded by a lot of misinformation. Now that women can turn to the internet for quick information and advice on whether they should undergo breast surgery, some myths about the procedure are being heavily spread. To make matters worse, misconceptions of breast surgery are often presented right alongside legitimate or partially accurate information, making it difficult for women to understand exactly what’s true and what’s not. Here’s a look at some common breast surgery myths and the facts that debunk them.

Myth: Breast Implants Mean You Can’t Breastfeed in the Future

Many women believe that once you get breast implants, you will never be able to breastfeed again. This myth may be spurred by the fact that some plastic surgeons will actually recommend women not get breast implants if they know they will be trying to get pregnant in the near future. Those recommendations aren’t because breast implants pose any known risks to a woman during pregnancy or to her breastfeeding infant following birth. Surgeons know pregnancy often comes with changes to the breasts and if you’re going to sculpt a perfect chest, you should do that after you’ve undergone those natural changes.

In reality, most breast implants have little impact on whether you can breastfeed. Unless a large amount of tissue has been removed from your breast, which might be the case with a mastectomy, a breast augmentation does not generally remove or interfere with the glands in your breasts that create milk. Women with implants and women without them tend to have similar breastfeeding success rates. Find out more about breastfeeding after breast implants.

Myth: Breast Implants Will Need to Be Replaced in a Certain Number of Years

Many naysayers will try to talk women out of getting breast implants by noting that implants must be replaced every 10 years. The fact that breast implants don’t last forever is not an indication they are not good products or they might be dangerous. No prosthetic — and that’s what a breast implant ultimately is — lasts forever. That being said, there isn’t an exact expiration date on implants, which is why doctors follow up regularly through the years with their patients. Most implants are replaced between 10 and 15 years, though some may last longer.

Myth: Breast Augmentation Can Cause (Insert Illness Here)

Myths have linked breast augmentation and implants to all manner of diseases and illnesses, including cancer and autoimmune disorders. In reality, these misconceptions are rarely founded in scientific fact. Typically, they tend to make a very small statistical finding much bigger than it may be. For example, the Food and Drug Administration has published findings stating that certain types of textured implants have been linked statistically to a small increase in risk of a specific cancer diagnosis. However, that doesn’t mean the implants cause cancer and the FDA notes this fact. In fact, the numbers indicate only two in one million women with a textured breast implant had that type of cancer.

Myth: You Can Choose Any Breast Size and Shape You Want and Get a Successful Augmentation

Technically, you could choose any size and shape for your augmented breasts, but that doesn’t mean they will look and function well. Picking the wrong size for your frame can actually lead to negative side effects, such as unintended lumps or back pain and problems. This is one of the first misconceptions of breast surgery your doctor may approach. An experienced plastic surgeon helps you understand what your best options are and how to choose the right size, shape and firmness level for your body and goals. Make sure you consider all the right breast augmentation factors and throughly discuss them with your doctors during your consultation.

Myth: Breast Surgery Is Really Difficult to Recover From

Many people will tell you that breast augmentation is a major surgery and recovery time will take weeks or months. While augmentation or any surgery on the breast should be taken seriously and you should always follow discharge instructions, the procedures rarely impact large muscle groups, bone or organs, so recovery time is usually swift compared to some other surgeries. Obviously, recovery is different for every woman, but most are back to functional activity within three to seven days and are able to ramp up to normal physical activity within just a few weeks.

Myth: Breast Implants Are Made With Dangerous Chemicals

Breast implants are actually made with materials that are used in other medical applications. One type of breast implant is made with a silicone exterior and filled with a saline solution. The other type of implant is made with a silicone exterior that is filled with silicone gel. As long as the filling is contained within the shell, implants don’t typically pose risks. Modern breast implants are made to extremely rigorous standards and plastic surgeons follow up with patients to ensure they remain as safe as possible.

While the internet is a valuable resource, you should always confirm the medical information that you read with your doctor. If you have any questions or concerns about breast augmentation, your medical team will be happy to address them for you, so you can feel confident about your decisions. Learn more about prices, problems and recovery when it comes to silicone and saline implants.

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Dr. Cohen

About Dr. Cohen

Dr. Cohen specializes in breast lifts, augmentations, revisions and reductions as well as breast cancer reconstructions. A long time dream of Dr. Cohen’s was to travel to developing countries and provide expert surgical care to those who have no other possible access to medical care. This became a reality in 2007 when she became a founding member and Vice President of ISMS Operation Kids.