Caring for Your Breast Implants After Surgery
According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 290,467 people received breast implants in 2016, a number that has been steadily climbing since the year 2000. But while most of these patients likely successfully completed their post-surgical aftercare, many patients may not realize that caring for breast implants should continue well beyond the initial recovery period. Post post-op aftercare is an important step in maximizing the longevity of your breast implants and minimizing the effects of rare but dangerous complications.
Your surgeon may have already told you that breast implants are not meant to last a lifetime. Most implants have an expected shelf life of about 8 to10 years, however, there is no need to remove and replace them if they are in good condition after any duration of time. That being said, the older the implant, the greater the risk of deflation or and serious complications including rupturing. That is why it is imperative to follow the care guidelines for your implants and to get regular breast implant exams.
- Get regular MRI’s on your implants The FDA recommends getting an MRI done on your implants 3 years after they are first implanted, and every two years thereafter. This will help your doctor see if there are any ruptures to the implant itself. For saline implants, ruptures are usually quite easy to detect and you would most likely already know it was leaking prior to your MRI. Because the saline solution is fluid, your ruptured implant would rapidly decrease in size, and the saline would absorb into your body. The saline itself is not dangerous, but you would still need the implant removed and/or replaced. For those with silicone implants, MRI’s are very important, because silicone is not absorbed into the body the way saline is. The silicone used in breast implants is considered a cohesive material, meaning that if it leaks out of your implant, it remains in a gel-like state and must be removed separately from the implant. Unfortunately, because of the thickness of the gel, it is nearly impossible to detect if the implant is leaking without the aid of an MRI, though it is important to note that it is very rare for silicone implants to rupture.
- Massage your implants It is recommended that you massage your implants every day. An ideal time to do this is when you’re in the shower, because your body temperature is already warmer. Massaging your implants ensures that they stay soft and malleable, but it also allows you to make sure you can move the implant up and down, and from side to side towards each other like your natural breasts would move.
- Support yourself Just like natural breasts, your implants need support, so make sure you protect them with a properly fitting bra. This will not only keep your breasts looking their best, it will also reduce strain on your back and shoulders, ensuring that you are comfortable with your implant size. Larger breasts can be a big adjustment for your body if you make a dramatic increase. A good quality bra can make a big difference in your comfort and happiness with your new implants.
- Notify your dentist Some patients have reported cases of a condition called capsular contracture following dental procedures. Capsular contracture is a hardening of the scar tissue around the breast implant that can change the look and feel of the breast. Capsular contracture can be easily prevented by taking a broad-spectrum antibiotic several hours prior to your dental cleaning. Speak to your dentist prior to your appointment for a prescription, and always make sure to take antibiotics exactly as prescribed.
- Watch for Changes If you notice hardening, shrinking, traveling’of the implant or any other change in the breast or implant, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your surgeon or primary care doctor as soon as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about your breast implants, give Dr. Mitchell a call at 702-430-1198.