While implants may restore the natural appearance of breasts after a mastectomy, they come with risks that are not present in alternatives.
If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and your doctor recommends that a mastectomy should be part of your treatment, you may be wondering how you can restore your breast’s natural appearance after the surgery. While breast implants have traditionally been an option, advancements in realistic breast forms are prompting many patients to reconsider whether the known risks of implants are worth it. The following information will help you be aware of potential health issues that could result from getting breast implants, as well as the promising alternatives to breast implants that are now available.
Breast Implant Risks
Surgeries come with inherent health risks that should be taken into consideration by you and your doctor. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the risks of breast augmentation include:
- Failed implants that leak or rupture
- Improper positioning of the implant
- Problems with anesthesia
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Wrinkling of the skin over the implant
- Infection or bleeding around the incision site
- Scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture) or incision site
- Persistent pain
The formation of scar tissue around an implant, or capsular contracture, can be a significant problem for post-mastectomy patients. According to BreastCancer.org, radiation therapy can increase the risk of capsular contracture, and the resulting tissue capsule can become painful and even alter the shape and appearance of the breast. Treatment may involve surgery to remove and replace the implants, which can pose further health risks.
It is also worth noting that many implants are generally not meant to last forever. You may be surprised to learn that 46% of the women who get silicone gel implants and about 21% of women with saline implants end up needing a re-operation within three years, according to the National Center for Health Research. The need for additional procedures once again exposes you to the risks of breast implant surgery.
Breast Implant Alternatives
If you decide the risks of breast augmentation outweigh the benefits, you will be glad to know that alternatives to breast implants do not come with these potential health issues. For example, one of the most popular options for mastectomy patients is the realistic breast form. These custom-made prostheses are available in a wide range of styles, shapes, colors, and weights to meet your personal preferences. These breast forms are individually made to mimic your body as comfortably as possible. This is accomplished through a detailed scanning of the chest wall so that the breast form fits accurately and hugs the chest for the best possible fit. Discuss custom breast forms with your doctor to determine whether this post-mastectomy option is best for you.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are looking for alternatives to breast implants, contact ContourMed today at 501-214-6080 to learn more about our full line of realistic breast forms.