Learn about the pros and cons of getting breast implants and whether the benefits outweigh the risks
Breast implants are an investment—one many women feel are worth it. Due to the high success rates, breast augmentation is a very popular cosmetic surgery in the United States.
According to one study involving 225 women who returned for interviews a month after getting breast implants, 98% of them were satisfied with the results.
Nevertheless, every procedure comes with benefits and risks. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor about whether getting breast implants is right for you.
What are the pros and cons of breast implants?
- Results are long-lasting (about 10-20 years)
- Many recipients report:
- Feeling more confident in their social and professional life
- Feeling more attractive
- Having higher self-esteem
- Enjoying more attention
- Experiencing improved sexual life
- Surgery can be costly and may not be covered by your insurance provider
- Results are not permanent, and you may need a repeat surgery for implant removal or replacement
- Implants may impair breast cancer screening and additional views may be required during mammograms
- Side effects may include:
- Tingling, numbness, or changes in sensation over the breasts and nipples
- Breast pain or discomfort
- Bleeding or hematoma formation
- Implant displacement, rupture, or sagging
- Implant rippling or wrinkling
- Anesthesia-related complications
- Breast scarring
- Uneven nipples
- Capsular contracture (scar tissue formation around the implant that hardens the breast and distorts its shape)
- Breast implant-associated lymphoma (a type of cancer of the immune system)
- Breast implant-associated illness
What is the difference between breast implants and a breast lift?
Breast implants and breast lifts are often confused with each other but are different procedures.
While breast implant surgery involves placing implants into the breast tissue to enhance their size or shape, a breast lift is done to lift or tighten the breasts by manipulating the existing breast tissue. The procedure can help correct cosmetic issues such as droopy or saggy breasts and mild asymmetry.
Should I get breast implants or a breast lift?
A breast lift often results in more natural-looking and subtle breasts than implants. Because no extra tissue or prosthesis is used, a breast lift will not increase breast size or fullness. Thus, it is suitable for women who have a good amount of breast tissue but want their breasts to have a more firm and youthful appearance. Like breast implants, the results of a breast lift are not permanent.
Risks of breast lift surgery include:
- Anesthesia-related side effects
- Changes in nipple or breast sensations
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Cardiac or pulmonary complications
If you are considering getting a cosmetic procedure done to improve the appearance of your breast, consult your doctor about whether breast augmentation or breast lift surgery is best for you.
Medically Reviewed on 6/1/2022
Salemy S. Breast lift vs breast augmentation vs breast implants – what’s the difference? https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/breast-lift-vs-breast-augmentation-vs-breast-implants
US Food and Drug Administration. Things to Consider Before Getting Breast Implants. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/breast-implants/things-consider-getting-breast-implants
Jalalabadi F, Doval AF, Neese V, Andrews E, Spiegel AJ. Breast Implant Utilization Trends in USA versus Europe and the Impact of BIA-ALCL Publications. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2021;9(3):e3449. https://journals.lww.com/prsgo/Fulltext/2021/03000/Breast_Implant_Utilization_Trends_in_USA_versus.21.aspx