GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The FDA wants to ensure that patients are better informed when it comes to breast implants. It recently announced new recommendations that include “boxed warning” labels for breast implants. Dr. Jennifer Cameron, a plastic surgeon with Allina Health, explains what those warnings are and what every patient should consider before getting breast augmentation surgery.

Q. Dr. Cameron, what are the latest recommendations?

  • An estimated 400,000 women get breast implants in the U.S. every year.
  • While many are completely satisfied with their implants, some people feel like they weren’t given all of the information before undergoing surgery, such as the possible health risks or how long implants last.
  • The FDA wants to ensure patients are better informed.
  • It’s recommending warning labels on breast implant packaging, as well as patient checklists and informational material that explains the benefits and risks associated with implants.

Q. Breast implants have been around since the 1960s, why is the FDA making these recommendations now?

  • Breast augmentation is the number one cosmetic surgery. The reason for the surgery can range from a mommy makeover to reconstructive surgery after breast cancer.
  • We are in an age of information. As a doctor, I want my patients to make informed choices. The FDA wants to make sure patients are getting credible information.
  • Women have been getting breast implants since the 1960s, yet many people don’t realize implants are not meant to last a lifetime. If you get implants at a younger age, you should expect additional surgery in ten or 15 years. Your body changes, but those implants stay the same.

Q. What questions are important for patients to ask when considering breast implants?

  • You want to make sure you are going to a qualified surgeon who performs surgery in a reputable place with reputable materials.
  • Ask the surgeon about her qualifications. Is she certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? How long has she been performing this surgery? How often does she perform this procedure?
  • What type of implants will be used and why? Do some research on the products that the surgeon uses and always ask for additional informational material to look over.
  • Share your medical history and ask about risks. A good plastic surgeon should be comfortable discussing those things with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up. You are getting this surgery for a reason and it is important to be happy with the outcome.

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