Dr Maurizio Viel answers the frequently asked questions on breast augmentation procedure
Q: What is capsular contracture?
A: This is the most common complication with breast implants (although implants with a textured silicone shell have a lower incidence). The body’s natural reaction to any implanted foreign material is to build up scar tissue around it. Scar tissue then shrinks and this shrinkage (known as capsular contracture) can sometimes be noticed as a hardening of the breast. The degree of contracture can vary from person to person, and even from breast to breast. About one in ten women suffer this, and if it happens the implant has to be removed and, if appropriate, replaced with another implant.
Q: Will my new breasts look and feel like ‘normal’ breasts?
A: Although for most women the implant will feel much like a normal breast, it may be impossible to produce a natural cleavage. Implants may not drop to the side when you lie down and the breast may feel firmer than normal breast tissue. Creasing, kinking, rippling and folds are possible, particularly in women with very little natural breast tissue.
Q: I’ve heard I could lose sensations in my nipples. Is this true?
A: About one in seven women report a loss of, or diminished, nipple sensation. On the other hand, some women report nipple sensation is increased for between three to six months following surgery, and this may be uncomfortable.
Q: Will my breast explode if I fly in an airplane?
A: No, it’s a myth. Breasts implants are neither strained nor prone to rupture when flying.
Q: Will I be able to breast-feed if I have implants?
A: Yes, implants interfere with the ability to breastfeed although there are some evidence that you might produce slightly less milk. If you have breastfeed a baby within the year before your surgery, you may produce milk for a few days following surgery. This may cause some discomfort, but can be treated with medicine.
Q: Will having implants increase my risk of breast cancer?
A: No.in fact, the risk may be less (or, at least, the likelihood of a good outcome is better as your breasts will be more carefully monitored and any abnormalities picked up very early). There is no difference between the rate of breast cancer developing or the risk of its recurrence or in survival rates between women with implants and those without.
Q: Will implants interfere with a mammography?
A: It’s possible. You should always tell your radiographer that you have implants so they can pick an appropriate method of screening. Be sure to go to a radiology centre where the technicians are experienced in the special techniques required to obtain reliable X-ray of a breast with an implant. Ultrasound examinations may be of benefit in some women with implants to detect breast lumps or to evaluate the implant.
Q: Do I still need to check my breast if I have implants?
A: Absolutely. Get to now what is normal for your new breasts and check for changes on a regular basis.