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Am I too old to get breast implants?
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Am I too old to get breast implants?

05th Jan 2021

Introduction

We now live in a world where no old is too old. The 30s are the new 20s, 40s are the new 30s, and so on. Women age slower, and they are prouder and not ashamed of this natural process. My grandma wore aprons and a scarf on her head at 40, and at 50 she stopped using makeup. Nowadays women can become models at 40 or 50. Nothing can hold us back anymore. Not only women but humanity in general is learning how to live a healthy life. We do know now that exercise and a healthy diet can give us a longer lifespan. Therefore, women look and feel younger than in the old days.

Changes in your breasts

There are a lot of changes that influence a woman’s body over the course of her life. Women go through puberty, pregnancies and breastfeeding, and then menopause. All these changes in hormone balance affect the way their body looks. It is incredible that the one thing that is considered to be a beacon of femininity is the one that goes through all these changes in the most visible way: the breasts. Breasts are what visually differentiates men from women. They are considered sexy and attractive, and at the same time they are meant to nourish a newborn to carry life into this world. It is probably one of the most impressive female organs.

Bringing a human to life is amazing and unique for any woman. But just like any miracle, it does take some sacrificing. Apart from the sleep loss and the constant worries, there will be marks left on your body. You will gain weight: some a little and others more. Some will lose it with no effort, and for others, it will take years. Your hips will become a bit wider than before, and it will stay like this. Your breasts will be just a dream of what they used to be. 

How old is too old?

You might say that the best moment or age to have a breast augmentation would be after 40 or even older. Nowadays women get pregnant at 40 for the first time, and they have another child even at 50. Therefore, a very wise thing to do would be to have breast augmentation (probably with a breast lift) later on in your life. That is because you will be past childbearing and breastfeeding and also past menopause.     

Breasts implants are of two main types: saline and silicone. They are both made of a silicone shell and filled with either sterile saline water or a cohesive silicone gel. Saline implants are guaranteed to last at least 5 years, while silicone implants should be okay for at least 10 years. Most plastic surgeons say that silicone implants can last even 20 years. The US Food and Drug Administration says that they last a maximum of 15 years, but this can be tested. You can have MRIs after some time and see if the implants need to be removed or still okay.

One should say that the older you are, the better would be for you to get implants. Why? Your body is done changing, and you might never need to have another surgery to change your implants or remove them altogether. 

The thing is that there is no age limit to get breast implants. The only important thing is to be in good health. If your blood pressure is high or suffers from any other disease, then it will be absolutely dangerous to have surgery of any kind. High blood pressure, heart disease, clogged arteries, or lung issues might be a high risk for any surgery, so an elective one should be out of the question. 

Anesthesia also poses a higher risk for older persons. Older people are more prone to some after-effects of anesthesia. These include postoperative delirium and POCD (postoperative cognitive dysfunction). Post-op delirium is a condition characterized by confusion and disorientation, and it can happen after anesthesia especially in older people. The aftermath of such a condition can last up to one week and does not bear any further issues on your brain. POCD is a much more serious condition and can lead to long-time memory loss. But this is a condition that can develop mainly in women who have heart disease or a mental one (Alzheimer’s or dementia). These people will not be recommended for surgery.

Anesthesiologists must be vigilant if you are older than 50. They will need to be by your side, discuss health problems (if any) with you, and assess your general state after the surgery. Most breast augmentation surgeries with implants are done under general anesthesia. This kind of sedation is known to pose more issues to the elderly.

The key element is to find a good and experienced doctor who will be able to assess your health and establish if you qualify for surgery. Breast augmentation with implants is not a difficult surgery, but it has all the normal features of a surgery. Therefore, if you are a high risk in terms of blood clots, infection, or anesthesia, then your doctor will advise you not to do it, and he or she will probably refuse to do it. Your GP must work in close contact with the plastic surgeon. You will need to go through regular testing and some imaging tests in order to be able to have elective surgery.

Mammograms

Both your GP and your plastic surgeon will probably recommend mammography. Women with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy are not allowed to have breast augmentation surgery. Since the risk of breast cancer is higher after 40, you will probably need to get a mammogram to get this issue out of the way. 

The importance of mammography comes into question even after the surgery. Since women over 40 are advised to get a mammogram once a year, some people say that performing a mammogram with implants is inconclusive and even more, it can lead to implant rupture and further problems. Implants are always placed below the glandular tissue. Cancerous tumors usually form in the glandular part of your breast. Surgeons will always put your implants below the natural breast tissue, but most times they will also place it even below the pectoralis muscle. 

You need to inform the radiologist that you have implants. He or she needs to know because it might be relevant to the way they read your analysis. But this doesn’t mean they will not be able to do it. Most radiologists are trained to consider implants and have probably already performed implant mammograms. 

Another fear is that the squeezing and manipulating of the breast during mammography might lead to implant rupture. Latest generation implants are guaranteed to not break at the impact of a mammography, but rather in an accident that could cause major issues, not only implant rupture. If a mammogram is inconclusive, modern medicine offers other investigation options that will not make your implants an issue. If the implants are 10 years older or more, then there is a higher risk of breaking them during a mammogram. But this can happen with any kind of pressure or bump if they are older implants. They wear off in time, and they are usually not guaranteed for more than 15 years.

It is important to know that before surgery, you need to stop any medication that might lead to blood thinning. One common medicine is aspirin, and this is usually taken by the elderly for arthritis treatment. Gingko Biloba that is known to increase cerebral blood flow is usually prescribed to older people as a supplement to prevent any brain impairments. Unfortunately, one of the effects of taking this is blood thinning, which is something to be avoided when going through surgery. 

Conclusion

Saying there is an age to get breast implants is like saying that beauty has one age. These days women have become more aware of the way they look and the things they can do. With modern medicine, there are now more opportunities for women to continue to feel beautiful even as they get older. Consult with a board-certified, experienced plastic surgeon if you are interested in getting breast implants in your later years.


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