With the demand for cosmetic surgery in Australia at an all-time high and growing at a rate of 30 per cent year-on-year, it is estimated that more than 12,000 breast augmentations take place nationwide each year. Yet according to The Cosmetic Institute, Australia’s largest provider of cosmetic surgery, a number of misconceptions about the procedure still exist.
“Breast implants are by far our most commonly requested procedure,” says David Segal, co-founder and Managing Director of The Cosmetic Institute and author of the book Skin – The Essential Australian Guide. ”Over the past 18 months, we have performed more than 3,000 breast augmentations and they make up more than 90 per cent of the surgeries we perform, yet we find that there is still a lot of mixed information out there,” he said.
Here, David outlines and corrects the 10 most common myths and misconceptions that exist around breast implants and breast augmentation:
While the media will often showcase celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Brynne Edelstein as examples of breast augmentation, in the “real world” many clients just want to go from an A to a B or C cup. “Most of the patients we see are women who simply want to fill out their clothing and feel more confident and feminine. Others wish to “replenish” what breast feeding has taken away or correct asymmetry, where one breast is smaller than the other,” says David. “The size of the implant is determined in consultation with the patient, taking into account their height, weight and frame, but for the most part, we don’t see women who are looking to go really big,” he said.
2. Breast implants will cause you to lose all feeling in your breasts
While the impact implants can have on sensation and sensitivity in the breast tissue will always vary from patient to patient. “The vast majority of patients experience no permanent sensory changes after undergoing a breast augmentation,” David said.
3. You can’t breastfeed after breast implants
Many people still believe that having breast augmentation can prevent a woman from breast feeding, however this is usually not the case. “Providing they are inserted correctly, there is no medical evidence to suggest that implants interfere with breastfeeding,” says David. “At The Cosmetic Institute we insert the implant under the muscle, meaning the implant does not affect the milk ducts,” David says.
4. Breast augmentation is painful surgery that requires a lot of time off work
Everybody has their unique pain tolerance level and will require differing amounts of post-operative pain relief, and while the length of time it takes to recover from surgery differs from person to person, most patients are able to return to work within five to seven days following surgery, says David. “Most of our patients are pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the procedure and the time it takes to recover. The procedure itself takes just 45 minutes on average and does not require an overnight hospital stay. Patients are able to recuperate at home once discharged from recovery,” he says.
5. Heading overseas to places like Thailand for surgery is a cost-effective way to have your surgery whilst enjoying a holiday at the same time
According to David, there is a lot of romanticism surrounding cosmetic surgery holidays, when in reality, it can be near impossible to enjoy a tropical holiday while recovering from something like a breast augmentation. “In addition to not being able to swim, patients may be in pain and must keep movement to a minimum. Additionally, people are often travelling to very hot, humid climates, where the risk of infection is high, and most importantly, should something go wrong, a patient has no access to their surgeon once they have returned home,” David warns.
And, in terms of costs savings, once flights, accommodation, travel insurance and other expenses have been factored in, the costs can quickly escalate, resulting in no savings at all in the end.
6. Silicone implants are not safe
As one of the most thoroughly studied medical devices in the world, decades of research have gone into the safety and effectiveness of silicone implants. “Silicone is actually the most biocompatible material known to man and silicone-filled implants are supported by extensive pre-clinical testing, US clinical studies and European rupture prevalence data,” David says.
7. Breast implants can rupture and harm you
“These days, the chances of an implant rupturing are extremely low,” says David. “However, in the rare case that an implant did rupture, most likely due to some form of severe trauma, there would be no harm to the patient in terms of toxicity,” David said. As implants are made of a gel substance that remains within a solid membrane and does not “leak” into the body, the implant would merely be removed and replaced.
8. Breast implants make it hard to detect breast cancer
“While radiologists are well practised in administering breast screens to women with implants, it is believed that it’s actually easier to detect changes in your breasts if you have implants as they tend to push the natural breast tissue closer to the surface, making a lump easier to feel,” David says. Regardless, it’s recommended that all women (with or without implants) monitor their breasts and have a regular examination by a doctor.
9. Implants make breasts sag earlier
Gravity, weight and the breakdown of collagen and elastin tissue within the skin are all factors that affect the likelihood for breast to sag, regardless of whether the woman has an implant, says David. “Natural breasts are just as likely to sag as breasts with implants are, which is why it is important for all women to wear a good quality, supportive and well-fitted bra,” he says.
10. Breast implants need to be changed every 10 years
According to David, implants today don’t have a set lifetime. “Unless your breasts change shape or there’s impairment to the implant, then there’s no reason to replace them, regardless of how long they’ve been in your breast.”
The Cosmetic Institute operates two clinics, in Sydney’s Parramatta and Bondi Junction, and offers exceptional surgical outcomes, patient care and support at a fair price.