Are Breast Implants Safe?

Mr Andrew Pieri MBBS MRES FRCS
Mr Andrew Pieri MBBS MRES FRCS

Specialist cosmetic & cancer breast surgeon

Table of Contents

One of the key questions new patients often ask Mr Pieri is: are breast implants safe? The short answer is that current evidence suggests that significant complications associated with having breast implants are fairly rare.

There are no guarantees, but most women recover over a few weeks and can enjoy the benefits that their new breast implants have to offer. 

To help you feel confident and informed before you make the life-changing decision to choose breast augmentation, here are some of the key facts you need to know.

Breast Surgeon holding breast implants

A Brief History Of Breast Implants

The first recorded instance of breast augmentation was in 1895 when Vincent Czerny replaced breast tissue from a tumour using a fatty lipoma from the woman’s back.

During the 1900s, many surgeons experimented with other ways to enhance women’s breasts, including using ivory or glass balls to add volume.

It wasn’t until 1961 that the first breast implants were created. Plastic surgeons Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow, with the help of the Dow Corning Corporation, created the first silicone breast implants. These were used in the first procedure the following year, 1982, with great success.

Then, in 1964, French company Laboratories Arion developed the first saline breast implants and started manufacturing them. These two materials remain popular in modern breast augmentation procedures.

Ever since then, there have been new developments in breast implant technology, but the materials have remained the same. Although there have been health scares and recalls of poorly produced breast implants, safeguards are now in place to ensure that only the best materials and procedures are used.

Mr Pieri has used an array of implants from different manufacturers in the past to help him find the best options for his patients. He now mainly uses Motiva Ergonomix and GC Aesthetics implants. These innovative implants use silicone and gel technology to enhance your natural breasts, and Mr Pieri has successfully used them in many procedures.

He is always exploring new options by reviewing the products and techniques he uses to ensure that his patients get the best possible results. With this safety-focused approach, his patients have a lower chance of complications following their breast augmentation procedure.

Types Of Breast Implants

To this day, there are still only two main types of breast implants offered: saline implants and silicone implants. The filling inside is what separates them, and they both give different aesthetic results.

Saline Breast Implants

Saline breast implants are a silicone outer shell that is filled with sterile salt water, also known as saline. The implants can be pre-filled or inserted empty and filled with saline afterwards to create a natural look.

Silicone Breast Implants

Silicone breast implants have a similar silicone shell, but instead of saline, they are filled with flexible silicone gel. Silicone gel-filled implants are always pre-filled, and you can see their size and shape before they are inserted.

Which Is Best?

Both saline and silicone implants have their pros and cons. Many people believe that silicone breast implants give a more natural look. However, saline implants can create a smaller incision, resulting in less scar tissue, if they are inserted empty and filled inside the body.

Both implants can rupture, but saline implants are more likely to do so as they are filled with water rather than the more viscous silicone filling used in gel-filled implants. If silicone breast implants rupture, the water is completely safe, and your breasts will simply look flatter. You will have to have the silicone shell removed surgically.

Silicone implants can also rupture and if so, require surgical removal with or without replacement.

While both types of breast implants are approved for use in the UK, silicone breast implants are the most common, and Mr Pieri prefers them due to the more natural end result that he can create with them.

Instruments For Breast Implant Surgery

Other Factors To Consider

As well as the material your breast implants are made from, you also need to consider a selection of other factors, including:

  • Breast Implant Shape: Breast implants can be round or teardrop in shape. both options come with risks, but almost all anatomical (teardrop) implants are made from a macro-textured surface rather than micro-textured, nano-textured or smooth, all of which are more common with round implants. Macro-textured has been associated with a higher risk of lymphoma than the other surface options. As such, Mr Pieri uses round implants for his breast enlargement procedures.
  • Breast Implant Size: The size of your implants will affect the look of your breast implants and your comfort. Also, larger breast implants are more likely to lead to complications, so you need to consider this when finding the perfect enhanced breast size.
  • Breast Implant Placement: Your breast implant placement will affect the eventual look of your implants and your comfort level. There are three options, and your surgeon can explain each one and help you find the one that will work best for you.

Each of these factors can change the overall effect of your breast implants and the potential risks, so make sure you take the time to consider all your options. Your breast surgeon can discuss the options with you to ensure you make an informed choice.

Can You Have Breast Implants Removed?

Breast implants can be removed following the procedure for any reason. Mostly when women choose to have implant removal or replacement, it is due to their own tissue changing around the implant rather than the implant itself becoming the problem. Often this is at around 10-15 years after original implant insertion, but it can be earlier or later than this.

If your surgeon can see no signs of rupture, but you’re still unsure about your implants, then you can have them removed anyway and consider alternative options in the future, such as a different size implant or alternative breast enlargement options like fat transfer surgery.

Risks Of Breast Implants

Modern research and safeguards mean that getting breast implants is safer than ever. In rare cases, there are some complications that could arise, but a good breast implant surgeon will provide you with thorough aftercare to ensure that any issues are spotted early and rectified.

One worry many women have is that having breast implants will give them an increased risk of breast cancer. However, there is no significant evidence to support this concern.

Also, many women worry about anaesthetic complications, despite this being very rare, particularly in fit and well patients. Following the procedure, there is also a slight risk of infection or additional scarring, but all these issues could occur during or after any surgical procedure, not just breast enlargement.

An issue some women may face is called Capsular Contracture, where the internal scar tissue around the breast implant constricts, causing pain. This issue can occur over time, and there are a variety of treatments available, including surgery or breast implant removal. Capsular Contracture is uncommon but can occur in one or both breasts.

If you do face a complication that means you have to have your breast implants removed, you can consider further surgery to enhance your breasts in the future. This might include fat transfer from another part of your body or a breast lift to enhance your natural breasts.

What Breast Surgeons Do To Keep You Safe

Breast surgeons like Mr Pieri will do everything in their power to keep you safe before, during and after your procedure. The General Medical Council has strict requirements for anyone performing or assisting with surgical procedures such as this, and so you can rest assured that you’ll be given the highest possible standard of care.

Mr Pieri goes above and beyond to stay up to date with the newest breast implant technology and new studies so that he can choose the best approach and products that will increase the chances of a positive outcome for your procedure.

Before your surgery, he will provide a breast implant sizing session to talk you through the procedure and help you choose the right size breast implants. He can also answer any questions you might have. He will read your patient notes and medical history to ensure any precautions needed are taken during the procedure.

 

Following your breast augmentation, Mr Pieri will provide ongoing aftercare, including follow-up appointments, to check for any issues or symptoms of implant rupture.

Choose A Leading Breast Surgeon In Newcastle

Breast implants have been around since the 19th century, and since that time, healthcare providers have been working hard to create safe solutions for women.

It’s impossible to fully mitigate the risks involved in having surgery, but you can make informed choices to limit your chances of health issues further down the line.

The best way to reduce your risk of complications and feel secure before your breast augmentation surgery is to choose a supportive, experienced breast surgeon.

Mr Pieri has the skills and knowledge to guide you through the process from initial consultation to post-surgery aftercare. He aims to ensure every patient he treats gets the highest possible standard of care and achieves the outcome they desire.

While every surgical procedure comes with some level of risk, Mr Pieri has the skills to reduce the chances of complications by drawing on his expertise to make informed choices and provide the highest possible standard of care.

To learn more about breast implant surgery, call 0191 2820197 or email [email protected]. If you’d like to start your breast enlargement journey, book a consultation at any of Mr Pieri’s locations across Newcastle.

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