Women Who Have Augmented

November 9, 2013

in Seeing Clearly, Series, Sexuality

What do women who’ve had their breasts augmented generally think about the results?

Breast Implant Image Credit: FDA

Most women like the results

In general, they are happy with the results, and feel better about themselves. (There are some important exceptions, see below.)

J, from Hot, Holy & Humorous added to the comments on the Thursday post. J has been very open about why she considered augmentationhow she made her decision, and how it went. Good reading for any couple where the wife is considering this.

Last year RealSelf.com did a survey of women who had breast enchantments:

  • 75% say the procedure was “Worth it”.
  • 70% said their sex life improved.
  • On average the improvement in sex lives was a 34% increase.
  • 61% said they had more sex.
  • The average cost was $6600 (US dollars, for procedures done before 2012).

A study done last year for the medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that 98% of women said their results met or exceeded their expectations (of course consider the source).

Another study done by the University of Minnesota talked to 450 women with breast implants for ten or more years.:

  • 93% were satisfied or very satisfied with their implants.
  • 71% said their implants were soft and natural. 

Another study looked at 41 women’s attitudes before and after augmentation:

  • 86% had significant improvement in satisfaction with their breasts.
  • 88% had much higher ratings on psychosocial well-being.
  • 81% said their sexual functioning was much better.

What about problems?

Yes, there can be problems, and understanding this before getting the procedure done is critical. The FDA has a PDF supplied by Allergan, a major distributor of breast implants. From that document, here are the 7-year complication rates for a group of 455 patients:

  • Reoperation 30.1% (Would include choosing to change size, up or down along with fixing problems with the original implants.)
  • Capsular Contracture (Grade III or IV) 15.5% (An immune reaction that causes hardness of the breast. The two grades listed mean there is some abnormal appearance. Grade IV means the breast is painful to touch)
  • Breast Pain 11.4%
  • Implant Removal with Replacement 11.0%
  • Swelling 9.2%
  • Implant Rupture 8.6%
  • Nipple Complications 6.7% (Other sources indicate initial numbness is common, but only 2% have long-term problems with this.)
  • Implant Malposition 5.2% (Not where it should be)
  • Hypertrophic/Other Abnormal Scarring 3.7%
  • Asymmetry 3.3%
  • Implant Removal without Replacement 3.1%
  • Ptosis 2.2% (Sagging)
  • Breast/Skin Sensation Changes 1.6%
  • Hematoma 1.6% (A pocket of blood. Occurs shortly after surgery, causes swelling, and pain. Easily treated.)
  • Implant Palpability/Visibility 1.6% (Feeling or seeing the implant)
  • Seroma/Fluid Accumulation 1.6%
  • Wrinkling/Rippling 1.2%
  • Delayed Wound Healing 1.1%
  • Bruising <1%
  • Infection <1%

The ten plus year follow-up done by the University of Minnesota (mentioned above) found:

  • An overall 20.2% complication rate.
  • 23.1 % needed reoperation for capsular contracture or implant deflation. (See below)

The rate of reoperation above is much higher than other studies have found. This was traced to one group of women from one surgical centre using a particular implant. Eliminating this group brought the reoperation rate down to 5.5%, which is similar to what other studies have found. This shows who does the surgery and which implant is used are very important to the outcome!

Problems are common when a woman expects too much from having an augmentation. If she sees it as a cure-all for problems having nothing to do with breast size, she will be disappointed. This is likely why studies have found women who have enlargements have double the suicide rate of the general female population. (This is true for most forms of cosmetic surgery. The suicides are not a result of surgery, but of an underlying mental condition that caused the woman to seek cosmetic surgery.) There is a growing call for some form of psychopathology check-up prior to breast enlargement, but it’s unlikely this will be mandatory any time soon. I would strongly encourage this to be a part of the process for any woman wanting to get augmentation.

One Other Thing:

The TMB survey this week is on breast size. This is for men and women.

Two years ago, I did a post on Labiaplasty (modification of the vulva). These procedures have far more problems than breast augmentation. I cannot say it is wrong, but I think it is a bad plan unless there is a significant issue that need to be corrected.

In this series:
Breast Augmentation? 
Liking Big Breasts Means What? 
Is it Wrong to Augment?

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3 comments
HotHolyHumorous
HotHolyHumorous

Thanks, Paul. I hope I haven't said too much here. I do hope my posts will give women pause and help them objectively consider their decision. I'm obviously happy with my own result, but I totally agree that it's not a fix-all. I believe that one should be a good emotional and spiritual place before considering any plastic surgery.

Great series on this question.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@HotHolyHumorous I very much appropriate your additions. I like how you went about thinking through the issue.

I think "why" is the big issue. If the why is wrong, disappointment is sure to occur. If a woman does it for herself, that is likely to go well. If she is doing it for how others see her, including her husband, she is probably not going to be happy with the results for the long haul.

Stephen Howe
Stephen Howe

@HotHolyHumorous My wife has talked about going the other way.  Same issues you brought up, sometimes the opposite way: hard to find stuff to wear, they sag, get in the way, etc.  Throw in that she's short!

So far she hasn't and I don't see it happening in the future.

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