Breast Implants Now the Top Cosmetic Surgery in the Country

May 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Even in this tough economy, women of all ages are finding ways to give their bodies a "boost".While some cosmetic surgeries have declined, other procedures have gone up and valley doctors are seeing a trend, that's a sign of the times.

Even though it's supposed to be a place for rest and relaxation, the beach is where many women say, they feel the most anxious. And it's all because many of them wish they could fill out a bikini in all the right places.

19-year old Alicia Pacheco of Tulare said she's ready to change her body and boost her breast size, after years of jokes from her peers. "I got teased a lot in junior high and high school and it bothered me a lot."

Alicia hopes to pursue a career in the fashion industry and wants to fit into those fashions, herself. "Just do it for myself and not for anyone else."

She researched her options and decided on silicone breast implants because they tend to have the most natural feel.

The American Society for Plastic Surgeons just released a report showing, breast augmentation is now the number one most-performed cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. Last year, more than 307,000 breast augmentations were performed, moving liposuction to the number two spot.

Doctors say the trend coincides with the F.D.A.'s 2006 approval of the use of silicone gel implants in a 10-year-study that found them safe and effective in the wake of the health scare from the early 90's.

"I've noticed that more and more women are asking about silicone versus the saline implants," said Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Mitts, MD.

Dr. Mitts said many women shied away from silicone because of the perception that saline is safer than silicone if the implant were to leak. But he said technology has made the new generation of implants, safer than the ones in the past.

In fact, even his oldest patient at 84 years old, had no worries about the new implants. "She was robbing the cradle dating this 68 year old guy and wanted to look her best," said Dr. Mitts.

Fresno Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Hedieh Stefanacci has also seen the trend toward silicone for both young women, and mommies looking for a makeover. She shows us why silicone has become safer because the actual material doesn't leak out of the implant. "You can see the silicone comes out but what cohesive means is that all of those silicone particles are attached together, so as soon as I let go, even though I let go, the rest of the gel will contain the compromised portion."

But most doctors also inform their patients of another critical step. Plastic surgeons like Dr. Mitts and Dr. Stefanacci tell their patients, they're first breast augmentation surgery won't be their last. In fact, they say, they can expect another surgery in 10 to 15 years from their original one for both health and cosmetic reasons.

Saline implants will eventually flatten and need to be replaced and the F.D.A. also recommends another surgery for silicone because that's often the only way to tell if an implant has a rupture.

Doctors say the bottom line: today's advances in the science of reshaping give women more choices.

For Alicia, weighing the risks and the options left her with high hopes that modern medicine can finish where nature left off.

Both doctors say, saline implants and surgery costs about $5,400 dollars while silicone costs about $6,400 dollars. The doctors also say, the second surgery to remove or replace them, is much simpler and less costly.

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