What Are the Pros and Cons of Breast Implants?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2020
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Breast implants inserted during breast augmentation surgery, or breast enlargement surgery, can increase a woman's breast size and raise her self-esteem. Many types of breast implants can be used to reconstruct a deformed or missing breast. There are, however, a number of disadvantages of breast implants, including a painful recovery. Risks involved with implants can include infection, rupture, or difficulty in detecting breast cancer. Implant surgery also is rather expensive, especially since implants often need to be replaced every few years.

One of the appeals of breast implants is that they can enlarge a woman's breasts, often dramatically. Also, for women who want a subtle change, smaller breast implants are available. Large breasts are often associated with fertility and sexuality, and may be considered more attractive in most cultures. Breast augmentation can make a woman seem more attractive or desirable to possible mates.

Women with small breasts may feel slightly inadequate or unattractive. This can often lead to low self-esteem. Implants that give a woman larger breasts can help her feel better about her body, which can raise her self-esteem. These implants alone, however, are not always a miracle cure for self-esteem issues.

Surgically removing one or both breasts is sometimes necessary for breast cancer treatment. This procedure is known as a mastectomy. Breast implants can often be used to reconstruct this damage. Since it is often considered reconstruction surgery, health insurance plans may cover this expense.


One of the major disadvantages of implant surgery is the recovery, which often very painful. Women must limit activities drastically during this time. Depending on the size of the breast implants, recovery can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

As with any major surgery, there are risks with breast implant procedures. One of the biggest risks is post-operative infection. Implants have also been known to rupture, which can lead to serious complications. When this happens, the damaged implant must be removed.

Although there is no hard evidence that breast implants can directly cause breast cancer, they do make this disease harder to detect. A woman with these implants will typically have a harder time feeling a lump in her breast during a breast self exam. Mammograms will also be more difficult, and several pictures must usually be taken instead of just a few.

Although some health insurance plans will cover the cost of implants in some cases, many of them will not. This is especially true if the implants are purely for vanity. Breast augmentation is a very expensive procedure to begin with, and women with implants must have them examined routinely to catch any problems early. Also, as implants get older, they will typically become more delicate. To avoid a rupture, these implants must usually be removed and replaced every five to ten years.



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