Breast Implant FAQ (Thousand Oaks)
Answering your questions about breast implants.
Do breast implants cause cancer?
Breasts implants do not cause breast cancer. However, TEXTURED implants can cause a very rare form of lymphoma termed ALCL. The risk of this is reported to be around 1 in 30,000 women with textured breast implants. The condition is almost always curable by removal of the implants and the surrounding scar tissue (capsule).
Do breast implants interfere with mammograms or cancer detection?
Implants can make mammograms more challenging. Placing the implants behind the muscle and using smaller implants make it easier to visualize the entire breast on a mammogram. Going to a mammogram facility that has experience imaging many women with breast implants is also important.
Self-examinations can actually be easier in women with breast implants, since the breast tissue can be pushed against the firmer implant, allowing any abnormalities to be more readily felt.
The bottom line is that women with breast implants are not more likely to get breast cancer. If they do, the stage at diagnosis and prognosis is no different than women without breast implants.
How long do implants last? Do breast implants ever leak?
The modern breast implant is an outstanding product, far superior to the implants of the past. The newest generation of implants has been around for over a decade. Even after 10 years, these implants remain in great shape. The silicone in the gel implants is cohesive, meaning that it is not liquid, and does not leak out of a tear in the implant shell. This has helped prevent a lot of the problems that the old silicone implants caused when the liquid silicone leaked out of a rupture in the implant.
In general, the average woman has about a 1% chance per year that she will have her implants removed or replaced. For the average breast augmentation patients, this means a 50% chance over her lifetime of having another surgery related to her implants.
Do implants interfere with breast feeding?
A certain percentage of women will not be able to breast feed after breast augmentation. This is a very small number. The same percentage of women will be unable to breast feed without ever having had any breast surgery. It’s not clear what the exact relationship is between breast implants and difficulty breast feeding. In general, our preference is to use a remote incision (e.g. an incision in the breast fold) away from the nipple in women who are concerned about future breast feeding.
Are silicone implants safe?
The answer is yes. Years of research covering thousands of patients have demonstrated that silicone implants are both safe and effective. The risks are not much different than saline implants. They do not cause any type of autoimmune disease, cancer or any other systemic illness. Any problems arising from implants are confined to the breasts themselves and do not involve the rest of the body.
What are the most common reasons for needing another operation?
Common reasons for having a second operation include the desire to go bigger or smaller, having the implants removed entirely, requiring a breast lift, and surgery for capsular contracture.
What is capsular contracture and what causes it?
Capsular contracture is a hardening of scar tissue that surrounds the implant. It can be mild, resulting in a slightly firmer breast and minor differences between the two breasts, or it can be severe, leading to pain, significant hardening and a major deformity.
Thankfully, bad capsular contracture is uncommon (less than 5%), and if it does occur it can usually be treated. The causes of capsular contracture are usually unknown. If it occurs shortly after surgery, it is usually due to bleeding at the time of surgery, a low grade infection, or a ruptured implant. Most cases occur months to years later, however, and the cause is never known.
How is capsular contracture treated?
The standard treatment for capsular contracture is to remove the scar tissue (capsule) and replace the implant. Since many studies have shown that the in cases of capsular contracture, the implant has bacteria on it. These bacteria form a tenacious layer called a “biofilm,” and this film of bacteria cannot be washed off. Therefore, a new implant is recommended.
How is a rupture detected?
A ruptured saline implant is obvious: the breast becomes smaller, especially if only one side ruptures. An implant can also have a slow leak that isn’t so obvious right away. A silicone gel implant rupture requires an MRI.
What if my implant is ruptured?
The implant should be removed or replaced. There is not an emergency, and can be done in a reasonable time frame after detection of the rupture (e.g. within a few weeks).
What kind of warranty is there on breast implants?
This is really on a case-by-case basis. The standard warranty covers any kind of manufacturing error or malfunction of the implant. In general, the implant manufacturer will cover the cost of new implants. There are extended warranties that a woman can purchase. These cover additional costs such as the operating room, anesthesia, and surgeon’s fees. However, implants damaged by the surgeon at the time of insertion may not be covered by the warranty. In such cases, the surgeon is responsible for the cost of the new implants. The warranty also does not cover costs related to capsular contracture.
What if I have a problem after surgery?
Our nurse will call and check on you the afternoon of surgery. The office phone is directly forwarded to Dr. Kryger’s cell phone after hours and on weekends. If you have any problem we are always just a phone call away. If something goes wrong, we will do whatever it takes to fix the problem. This could mean meeting you in the office on a weekend, calling in a prescription to your pharmacy, and even returning to the operating room for a surgical issue (a very rare but possible complication of surgery).
Does insurance cover any part of breast augmentation surgery?
Almost all cases of breast augmentation or considered purely cosmetic and are not covered by insurance. Exceptions include patients with a history of breast cancer, or women with major breast asymmetry (most commonly a congenital problem from birth). Surgery for capsular contracture or removal of breast implants can often be partially covered by insurance.