In response to Dr. Michael Zenn's recent comments on the New York Times blog that deemed silicone and saline implants were 'equally safe', hundreds of women across the country posted back fiery comments and blogged about their own experiences with breast implants - shedding light on the dark side of breast augmentation.
Breast implant safety has been an ongoing concern after the FDA lifted its ban on silicone implants and the procedure became readily available at plastic surgery centers across the country. Breast augmentation and breast enhancement continue to be the leading procedures for women in the U.S., accounting for nearly 400,000 surgical cosmetic procedures in 2007 alone.
Still, silicone and saline breast implants do run several health risks and require a replacement or adjustment at least once every 10 years. Common problems with breast implants include ruptures, pain, muscle soreness and tenderness; regular checkups with a physician or plastic surgeon may also be required to ensure that the the breasts stay in good health.
Many patients unwittingly choose breast implants after considering breast lift surgery, a milder form of the procedure that does not require the insertion of saline or silicone. Breast lift surgery is designed to lift and recontour existing skin, but as Beauty and the Breast reports, many women are 'sold' on the idea of breast implants after having a consultation with their plastic surgeon.
Breast implants do present several risks and drawbacks, and sometimes consulting with a plastic surgeon isn't enough. Researching the procedure and learning about other people's experiences may help many women make the most informed decision.