When considering a breast augmentation procedure, one of the foremost things that patients worry about, besides the extent of their augmentation, is just how safe the operation is.

Horror stories float around about silicone implants that “pop” inside a woman’s breast, causing serious injury or even death. These stories tend to discourage women from having the procedure done, but just how much truth is there to them?

The Truth

In reality, having a breast augmentation is a safe procedure that will go smoothly and without complication, provided that the patient follows simple pre- and post-surgery guidelines provided by their doctor, and keeps in touch with their doctor throughout the recovery period.

Silicone or Saline Implants?

The two choices patients have when considering a breast augmentation are silicone and saline implants.

Silicone implants are filled with a thick silicone gel before they are implanted into the breast. The thickness of the gel is preferential for some patients, because it mimics the feel of a natural breast. There were some safety concerns over the use of silicone implants, and they were taken off the market in 1992 because of growing concern over their safety. But the FDA placed the implants back on the market in 2006, releasing a report that said silicone implants were generally safe for use.

Saline implants are implants that are filled with a saltwater solution, once the implant has been put into place inside the breast. Saline implants are referred to as feeling like water balloons, with the solution resembling the body’s natural fluids for a natural looking and feeling implant. Some patients prefer these implants because they are easier to mold into a different shapes and sizes, to find the most natural and aesthetic fit.

Which is Safer?

Plastic surgeons agree that both silicone and saline implants are equally safe. However, some surgeons may recommend one implant over the other based on personal medical history or body type.

How to Ensure a Safe Procedure

The key to ensuring a safe breast augmentation is by strictly following all guidelines set forth by the surgeon. Just as with any surgery, there is a minor risk for complication, but this can be minimized by cooperation on the patient’s part.

Follow all instructions given by the doctor leading up to the procedure, and make sure to call the doctor if any signs of sickness or complication occur following the procedure, such as a fever.

The most important component of a safe breast augmentation is the correct amount of rest after the procedure. While you need to take it easy for the most part for a certain time frame post-op, it’s also important to get up and walk around, to keep your blood flowing and avoid the formation of blood clots.

The doctor will likely provide other directions after operation, ranging from keeping the incision area dry, to sleeping on your back with your chest elevated for a certain period of time. Following these instructions will maximize the odds of a smooth operation, for what is largely a very safe and standard procedure.

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