When I was a little girl heading to my puberty stage I wanted to grow big tatas, those babies had to be tailored-made for my body and one thing for sure I did not want to join the “Itty bitty titty committee.” Going shopping for your first bra was like an initiation into “young womanhood,” and trust me, you did not want to be the last girl developing within this area especially in middle school. So even if you were “flat-chested” or needed some help you would instantly grab several fistfuls balls of ‘Charmin’ and stuff your shirt or bra to makeup from the lack of not having enough.
As time went on I developed just fine, but I can say I have entertained the thought of maybe doing a little enhancement. However, it was just a thought nothing more. But for those of you who may be considering breast implants here’s what you should know.
1. Recent studies have shown that there is a link between breast implants and cancer.
In 2019, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released recall information about a particular implant manufactured by Allergen which had textured surface implants called BIOCELL. The report says 573 cases of cancer and 33 deaths worldwide from a rare lymphoma were associated with these breast implants. Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system which causes your white blood cells to reproduce uncontrollably.
Your lymphatic system is part of your immune system. It works to get waste and toxins out of the body and your white blood cells help fight off infections. The cancer associated with the breast implant is not a form of breast cancer but rather an immune system cancer known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Can you imagine having a doctor do breast reconstruction after you had a mastectomy and then receive news that you now have a different form of cancer because the product used in augmentation created the cancer? The FDA reports that 481 of those cancer cases involve patients “reported to have Allergan breast implants at the time of diagnosis.”
“Textured implants became much more commonly used about a decade ago when shaped implants came on the market,” according to Dr. Tomer Avraham, MD, a Yale Medicine plastic surgeon who focuses on helping people who have had cancer surgery recover. The textured surface helped prevent slippage.
2. There are two types of breast implants: Saline-filled and silicone-filled:
- Saline-filled breast implants have a silicone outer shell filled with saltwater/saline solution. Some of these implants can vary in size and have either a textured or smooth shell and may be pre-filled before or during the operation depending on your physician. This implant can be used in women ages 18 and older for breast reconstruction, breast augmentation and revision surgeries to correct or improve the results of an original surgery.
- Silicone gel-filled breast implants have a silicone outer shell and are filled with silicone gel. This implant can vary in size and can be smoothed or textured. This implant can be used in breast augmentation for women ages 22 years and up, along with revision surgeries, and breast reconstruction of any age.
3. Breast implants are not lifetime devices and you will continue to have more surgeries approximately every ten years to replace your implants.
4. Systemic symptoms, commonly referred to as Breast Implant Illness (BII)
- joint pain, muscle aches, memory confusion, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, rashes on the breast that don’t go away, joint pain, bloating, nail and hair loss, musculoskeletal issues
- Rupture (tears or holes in the shell) of saline and silicone gel-filled implants
- Deflation (with visible change to breast size) of saline-filled implants
- Problems with connective tissue diseases (such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), trouble with breastfeeding, or reproductive problems.
- Severe breast pain or discomfort, changes in breast shape or color
- Scarring of the breast tissue, calcium deposits, thinning of your breast tissue and skin
- Bleeding, blood clots, bruising, nipple discharge
- Dropping or bottoming out of the implant
- Continuous swelling around the implant years after the surgery
What should I do if I currently have breast implants?
Get your breast checked out and seek advice from your medical physician immediately, especially if you are experiencing