Breast Augmentation: The Downsides
Breast augmentation is a popular surgical procedure that is sold as an “in-and-out” operation with little to zero downside. It involves the placement of breast implants to increase breast size and alter shape. While many individuals choose breast augmentation to achieve their desired aesthetic goals, it’s essential to consider the potential downsides and risks associated with the procedure before making a decision.
Especially in cases where it’s purely for aesthetic purposes it’s important to question the risk benefit ratio. Is your perceived attractiveness more important than your long term health? What type of paramour will this attitude attract in the long term — if that’s your purpose? In this article, we will explore some of the key downsides of breast augmentation that individuals should carefully consider:
1. Surgical Risks:
Breast augmentation, like any surgery, carries inherent risks, including infection (incidence rate of 1–2.5%), bleeding, anesthesia complications (including death), and adverse reactions to medications. Patients should thoroughly discuss these risks with their surgeon and do their own research as well.
2. Recovery Time
Recovery from surgery notoriously takes longer than the doctor tells you. Think carefully about how much of your short lifetime you are willing to spend sick in bed for the sake of an increased bust-line.
3. Implant-Related Complications:
Breast implants are not lifetime devices. Even if the doctor didn’t tell you – please expect to replace them multiple times throughout your life. Different financial situation? Have small children? Your spouse has cancer? Your augmented breasts don’t care. It’s known from the outset that they’ll need to replaced at minimum every ten years. But over time, they may also require replacement due to rupture, leakage, or other issues. Revisions or removal surgeries can be necessary, incurring additional costs and potential risks.
4. Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture is a condition where the scar tissue around the breast implant becomes thick and tight, potentially causing discomfort, distortion of the breast shape, and requires additional surgeries to correct. It’s fairly common (estimates place it up to 45%) and is what causes the “rock hard” feeling or look that has become so commonplace.
5. Changes in Sensation:
Some individuals may experience altered nipple or breast sensation following breast augmentation, which can be temporary or permanent and lead to decreased sexual enjoyment. Around 1 in 10 patients will have some permanent numbness.
Scarring is an inevitable part of surgery. The visibility and extent of scarring depend on surgical technique and individual healing. Patients should discuss incision placement options with their surgeon to minimize visible scarring. Typically it’s not a very notable scar but different skin tones and individuals will have different reactions.
7. Breast Implant Associated Lymphoma
How wonderful there’s an entirely separate category of lymphoma just for implants! 🙄
Breast implants, particularly textured implants, are known to cause breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). It’s incidence is estimated as high as 1 out of every 2207 implants. Those are not winning numbers. Patients need to be aware of this risk and commit to long-term monitoring for any unusual symptoms.
8. Potential for Cosmetic Dissatisfaction:
While breast augmentation aims to improve appearance, there is a chance that the individual may not be satisfied with the results. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment, which is why thorough consultations with a board-certified plastic surgeon are essential. Pregnancy and breast feeding may later adversely affect the shape of the breast after implants as well.
9. Impact on Lifestyle:
Breast augmentation may require lifestyle adjustments during the recovery period. Physical activity and certain movements may need to be limited for a time, which can affect daily routines. A large increase in size will also affect many miscellaneous things – even your golf swing!
Breast augmentation is not a one-time expense (of $15,000+). In addition to the initial surgery, individuals should budget for unknown costs due to future surgeries for implant replacement or revision, as well as ongoing maintenance and monitoring.
12. Psychological Considerations:
The decision to undergo breast augmentation can have psychological implications. It’s important for individuals to assess their motivations, body image concerns, and the potential impact on self-esteem before proceeding.
12. Social and Cultural Influences:
Societal beauty standards and cultural factors can play a role in the decision to undergo breast augmentation. There’s immense pressure on women to be physically attractive. It’s crucial for individuals to make this choice for themselves rather than feeling pressured by external influences.
13. Clothing Fit:
Depending on the size, breast augmentation often makes it difficult to buy off the rack. Keep in mind that your dress size will also change along with your bust size. If it fits in the bust it may not fit in the waist and hips therefore there’s the added inconvenience and expense of having to either buy special brands or get regular fit clothing tailored.
14. Potential Impact on Breastfeeding:
Choose between providing a healthy immune system for your future children and being more sexually attractive to certain people. Breast implants can sometimes interfere with breastfeeding. Patients who plan to have children in the future should discuss this with their surgeon.
15. Future Health Considerations:
If you choose breast augmentation, it’s important to consider how any future health issues or medical procedures may interact with the implants.
16. Body Changes Over Time:
Natural aging and changes in body composition can impact the appearance of breast implants. Patients should be prepared for potential shifts in their results as they age. Imagine yourself in the future when thinking about the size.
17. Higher Risk of Autoimmune Disease
In 2010, scientists analyzed data from 100,000 women that showed an eight times higher risk for rare adverse outcomes, including sclerodermia, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome in women with silicone implants. A 2018 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology examined the electronic health records of 123,255 Israeli women and showed the same link. Overall incidence was still low but still had a much higher association in the group with silicone implants.
Hot cleavage now and cancer later? No thanks. We as society need to start rewarding long-term thinking again. Breast augmentation is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly. While it is purported to lead to increased self-confidence, it’s essential to be well-informed about the long term commitment implants actually represent.
The media portrays breast augmentation as cartoonishly benign. “Other media have also been shown to be unbalanced, with two thirds of the feature articles on cosmetic surgery in the UK portraying it as risk-free with no mention of potential problems or complications.” from an article in BMC.
The potential downsides of breast augmentation and risks associated with the procedure are not few. If the only purpose is enlargement, I would seriously encourage second thoughts. Consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is critical to understanding these factors, assessing personal motivations, and making an informed choice that aligns with one’s individual goals. It’s important to understand in these situations that you’re going to the salesman asking for advice. It may not be completely unbiased.
There are considerable downsides to breast augmentation. Patients should prioritize their safety, physical and emotional health, and keep realistic expectations throughout the decision-making process.