Every year, more than 300,000 women in the United States and many more worldwide undergo breast implant surgery. This article, published in an international journal for medical professionals and health policy experts, considers the risks and benefits of implants, what we do and do not know about implants, and the information available to women who have implants or are considering the procedure. The article includes common risks such as capsular contracture and implant rupture or leakage, as well as the risks related to implant removal and replacement. It also considers the impact breast implants have on women’s lives in terms of how implants affect breastfeeding, how implants undermine the accuracy of mammography, the reports of implant breakage and leakage caused by the mammography pressure, and the lifetime cost of implants and related procedures. The information that the FDA and plastic surgery web sites give women on the risks of surgery, short-term and long-term risks of implants, costs, and benefits are compared with published information in medical journals and other sources.
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