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How Will Breast Implants Change Your Life?

Breast implants boost self-esteem for many women, but some feel let down.

Mommy Makeover & Breast Implants

Here's another of Casa's patients: 41-year-old Kristen Chase, who was "a generous 36B" before she had four children in seven years, she says. "After my fourth child, my breast tissue was just a deflated sack. My body bounced right back after the pregnancies, but my breasts didn't. I wanted my body back."

Women like Chase grew up with a completely different mind-set, says Casas. "They don't have body image issues. These women went through their formative years feeling good about themselves. They work out, feel great. They just want the breast to be the nice normal size they had before."

The first time Chase looked into breast implant surgery, silicone implants weren't FDA approved. With her broad chest, a saline implant just wasn't appropriate. "It would have protruded too much," she says. "That was not the look I wanted."

Her result with silicone? "It's very natural, not an artificial breast look, not the type you see on the street and know immediately is a fake," she says. Another key point: "I've had zero sensitivity loss in my breasts."

Breast Implant Replacement & Other Realities

Women who’ve had breast implants and their doctors agree: It’s very important to go into surgery understanding the full financial costs -- or you’re bound to be dismayed.

  • Health insurance does not cover the surgery.
  • Insurance also does not cover any follow-up surgeries. Yet complications do occur, and revision surgeries are sometimes necessary to correct a problem.
  • Also, both saline and silicone implants usually have to be replaced at some point because of breakage.

About 1% to 2% of breast implants break or deflate each year, and the majority will likely need to be replaced eventually, says Casas. "Patients have to deal with that reality ... Nothing lasts forever."

So you must expect at least one second breast implant surgery in your lifetime, and perhaps several.

Another factor to consider: A woman’s breasts naturally change over time, while the breast implant stays the same. Breast implants that looked good at age 22 may no longer look good on the same woman after she has had children, breastfed, or grown older.

Postpartum women -- finished with pregnancies -- won't have so many breast changes, especially if they have kept their weight under control, says Casas.

She's seen a handful of 18-year-olds and talks them into waiting awhile -- to see if this is what they really want. "This is a major decision, and maturity level makes a difference. They're the ones who have to take care of the implants, continue with follow-up."

"We impress on them that this is a long-term project ... a lifelong journey," Casas says. "There's no reason to rush it. We will only move forward if they can make that commitment."

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