Published October 15, 2020 By Dr. Adam Lowenstein

Breast augmentation is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures. The use of FDA-approved saline or silicone breast implants can accentuate your shape, as you know. What you might not know is just how safe this body-enhancing procedure is. Many patients question the potential association between breast implants and cancer. This question has become more common since the minor recall that took place last year. We want our patients to be well informed, so will discuss this topic in more detail here.

Implants and Breast Cancer: What You Should Know

Numerous studies have been performed over the years to discern the risk of breast implants causing breast cancers, such as ductal or lobular breast cancer. The data collected have concluded that there is no connection. Breast implants do not cause cancer. Neither do they prevent it. Women need to continue their normal screenings such as mammograms or ultrasounds with their primary care physician.

What about those screenings? Will having breast implants get in the way of discovering breast cancer if it were to develop? There are two schools of thought about this. Some doctors believe that it can be easier to detect small nodules with breast implants because the tissue is stretched over the implant. Some doctors believe that it can be more difficult to detect growths that develop behind or at the edges of the implant. What is most important to know is that the various bodies of research that have been conducted tell us one thing: that there seems to be no difference between women with implants and those without them when it comes to breast cancer survival.

What about Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)? This is not breast cancer, but a type of T-cell cancer that occurs in the immune system. It is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, yes, as the name suggests, is associated with breast implants. More specifically, BIA-ALCL is associated with the development of a seroma. A seroma is a formation of fluid around the breast implant. It is a very rare complication that affects approximately 33 patients out of 1 million. This illness has occurred in few women, all of whom had textured breast implants. Approximately 98% of Dr. Lowenstein’s patients receive smooth breast implants. In his many years of performing breast augmentation, he has never seen a patient develop BIA-ALCL.

Breast Implant Surgery is a Personal Decision Only You Can Make

According to studies, breast implants are considered generally safe. However, there is nothing that we do in life that doesn’t have some degree of risk. Getting breast implants does have some associated risks, all of which can be managed with excellent surgical technique and follow-up care after surgery.

Would you like to know more about breast augmentation surgery? Call our Santa Barbara office at 805.969.9004 and schedule a face-to-face consultation with Dr. Lowenstein.

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