Your Eating And Smoking Habits Effect Your Breast Implants

Almost everyone who gets a breast reconstruction or augmentation wants to know the danger of their implant failing. Because breast augmentations are a big investment—one which is rarely covered by insurance—many women do not get an augmentation because they're afraid of their body rejecting the implants. 

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A new scoring device created by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia can soothe some worries of mastectomy patients looking to get a breast augmentation by assessing the possibility of implant failure within the first 30 days. The study also measures some of the biggest risk factors for implant failure. Their findings? Smoking and obesity contributed to breast implant loss, with women who were obese having a two to three times greater risk of early implant loss and smokers having a three times greater risk of implant loss. This is because the body has a harder time healing with those who are obese or are smokers.

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Dangers Of Implant Loss

The scoring tool uses a simple numerical chart to evaluate the risk of implant loss. Each risk factor for implant loss was given a number based on the result of the study. For example, active smoking and obesity each have a risk score of three, based on the statistical likelihood of implant failure. But what do these numbers mean on a risk scale? Researchers also used the information discovered to develop a risk scale. Here are the levels of risk, along with their numerical values:

  • Low risk: 0-1
  • Medium risk: 2-5
  • High risk: 6 or greater

So, if a woman is both obese and smokes, her risk score is six, meaning that she is at high risk of implant failure in the first 30 days. Still, the rate of implant failure for high risk patients is low. 3.86 percent of the high risk patients experienced implant loss. On the other hand, this percentage is a lot higher than the low risk group, which experienced only .39 percent implant losses.

Reducing Your Risk

While implant loss is not 100 percent guaranteed not to happen, there are some lifestyle changes you can make before undergoing reconstruction or augmentation to improve your chances of a successful surgery. The most obvious improvements are eating healthy and exercising if you are not already doing so and quitting smoking if you are a smoker. Here are some other tips to reduce the risk of implant loss:

  • Resting after surgery can reduce swelling and lessen the risk of complications
  • Wearing a surgical bra until your surgeon instructs you not to do so
  • Keeping the incision area clean

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Other Risk Factors

But obesity and smoking were not the only things that increased the likelihood of implant loss. Women who were older than 55 also were at a greater risk of early implant loss, as well as women who received a bilateral reconstruction (needing two implants) and women who received a direct-to-implant constructive overhaul (in which women receive their mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time).

But these factors are not as easily controlled. You can’t turn back the clock or just not get a bilateral mastectomy. In this case, it is best to simply follow the doctor’s orders and hope for the best. You should also make sure that you trust your doctor before going into surgery. A plastic surgeon who does not know what he or she is doing could cause a greater risk of implant loss and an increased price tag as a result. This is one purchase that you should not be shopping around for bargins.

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