An implant’s volume must be chosen according to the patient’s wishes, but also according to the patient’s morphology – too large a prosthesis can give a taut, unnatural appearance. There are two types of implants: those filled with saline water and those filled with silicone gel. The choice will be discussed with your surgeon and the advantages and disadvantages of each type will be explained to you.
It’s important to note that cohesive silicone gel implants have been approved by Health Canada since October 20, 2006.
All breast implants are composed of a silicone elastomer shell (solid silicone). The silicone implant is filled at the factory, its volume set by the manufacturer. On the other hand, implants which are inflatable with saline water are filled by the surgeon, who can adapt, within certain limits, the volume of the implants during surgery.
Other filling agents, such as soybean, PVP, and hydrogel, have also been tested but are not currently used.
The first implants were round and they are still the most commonly used. Their outlines and bases vary from one manufacturer to another.
The surgeon will examine the mammary gland, the quality and thickness of the skin, the potential for loosening, the morphology of the thorax, and the degree of thinness. Measurements will be taken to determine if your body shape is compatible with the size of the selected implant and assess whether a breast lift may be necessary at the same time.
The operation takes about one hour and is performed under general anesthesia.
Following surgery, it is normal to have pain in the breasts and armpits. The pain will be controlled through prescribed analgesic painkillers. You may have a postoperative edema, giving the breasts a somewhat rectangular shape, but they will return to their natural shape in the weeks following surgery. Minor postoperative bruising may be present, but disappears after about 15 days. You will be able to take a first shower 48 hours after your surgery.
Risks are rare and include infection, hematoma, scarring, change in nipple sensibility, asymmetry, impact on breastfeeding, potential effects on the interpretation of mammograms, and calcification in the long term. Capsular contraction or postoperative hardening may potentially require additional surgery. Your surgeon will explain all of this to you.
We strongly recommend wearing a bra at all times, day and night, for at least one to two weeks. You must avoid exercise and sports for the first six weeks. Take advantage of your convalescence and rest. Depending on the work you do, you may return to work two to three weeks after surgery.
Q. Is silicone dangerous for my health?
A. Silicone has been used as an implantable material since 1950. It is considered as the biomaterial that is best tolerated because it is non-allergenic and inert. We are exposed to silicone from birth. It is estimated that 6 grams of silicone is present in the average adult’s body. Silicone is used as a lubricant for needles, syringes, and surgical instruments. It is also used as an anti-foam in adhesives, an anti-adhesive in certain dressings, but it is especially used in cosmetology and in some cosmetics. It is also found in baby pacifiers, sunscreens, lipstick, deodorant, and in numerous medications.
False accusations have been launched that silicone can trigger autoimmune diseases in some people. Due to the large number of women with breast implants (estimated at over ten million), it is normal to see some associated pathologies. Today, there is no scientifically recognized, tangible proof that silicone gel implants cause an increased risk of autoimmune disease or cancer.
Q. Are some implants medically safer than others?
A. To date, it is impossible to affirm scientifically that one implant is better than another for a patient’s health. Manufacturing standards are strict and apply to all manufacturers. However, like in any industrial process, the experience of certain laboratories plays in their favour. And, some surgeons prefer to use one single brand of implants with which they have experience.
Q. Are implants predisposed to breast cancer?
A. No study has ever shown this to be the case. No data exists that shows breast implants can cause cancer. If you are at risk of breast cancer, talk to your doctor.
Q. After how long will I have to change my implants?
A. Whatever type of implants, it is important to note that they have a limited lifespan. It is not known precisely how long they will last, but we do know they do not last infinitely. For further information, visit www.mentorwwllc.com
Skin cancer information
The main risk factors for breast cancer are:
- being a woman - 99% of breast cancers occur in women, 1% in men;
- an advanced age;
- a family history of breast cancer before the age of 50 in at least two first degree relatives;
- age at first pregnancy: women over 30 at the time of their first pregnancy are at a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who gave birth for the first time before the age of 25;
- genital lifespan: the onset of the menstrual cycle at a young age (before 12 years) and menopause at an older age are associated with a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.
Studies on other environmental risk factors have been carried out on, for example, links to smoking, the role of breastfeeding, stress, and hormone treatments. An online tool to calculate your risk can be found here.