He even composed a number around the issue when, in one of his tracks, he said a woman’s true beauty lies in the denseness of her breasts.
It’s not only men that obsess over breasts, though. Ladies also considers them something of a treasure; while those in showbiz virtually see them as their unique selling point — wrongly or rightly.
A psychologist, Dr. ’Bode Akinbolawa, notes that though body shapes differ and women come in various shapes and sizes, “many women still fantasise about the so-called ideal body shape, and the breasts happen to be the defining point in this regard. It’s the main reason some women resort to plastic surgery to improve the shape and size of their breasts.”
A recent study claims that breast implant boosts women’s confidence in the bedroom. When a group of Brazilian researchers led by Dr. Paulo Guimaraes presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in San Diego, they claim that the small study involving 45 women who completed questionnaires at two, four, and 18 months after breast implantation, reveals that the 36 subjects who didn’t develop stretch marks in the course of the cosmetic surgery reported enhanced sex lives at both four and 18 months after surgery.
Many scientists have pooh-poohed this finding, though; with a professor of psychology at Colorado College, Dr. Tomi-Ann Roberts, retorting: “The good feeling is increased because of the effort, not the thing itself.”
Roberts, who is also a member of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualisation of Girls, argues that the study would have been more interesting if the researchers had posed practical questions to patients regarding their new breasts, such as whether or not they interfere with jogging or breastfeeding.
But beyond these arguments, how healthy — or, perhaps how risky — is breast implant. What are the likely long-term effects?
For one, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons warns that stretch marks can occur if the implants are significantly larger than the original breasts were. The Brazilian researchers agree that despite the gushing about bedroom confidence among some women, those patients who end up with stretch marks post-implantation report crass dissatisfaction with their bodies.
Worse, the United States Food and Drug Administration warns that some of the complications and adverse outcomes of breast implants sometimes include additional surgeries, with or without removal of the device; and capsular contracture — scar tissue that forms around the implant and squeezes the implant.
As with other surgical procedures, physicians warn that the initial euphoria may fade when you also consider that patients sometimes experience breast pain, as well as changes in nipple and breast sensation.
And since the implants are foreign objects introduced into the body, experts warn that they may rupture without warning, especially in cases of silicone gel-filled implants.
Scientists say while breast implants do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer, they are examining a possible link between implants and a slightly increased risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Worse still, a new study by a group of Canadian scientists, published online in the British Medical Journal, states that the presence of breast implants may hide developing tumours when women undergo X-ray screening with mammograms, so their cancer is more advanced when diagnosed.
The researchers reason, “Most implants are filled with saline solution or silicone, which are radio-obscure — that is, X-rays cannot penetrate them — so they cast a shadow, obscuring the breast tissue that lies behind them. This way, between a fifth and four fifths of the breast tissue cannot be seen.”
Consequently, experts advise that if you have breast implants and feel any pain around the implants or have other problems, you must see your physician without delay.
The US Food and Drug Administration warns that having breast implants can make it more difficult to get a mammogram, should the need arise. And which woman doesn’t need breast examinations, especially once you enter the vulnerable years such as age 40!
“Breast implants may make it harder for you to breastfeed,” experts say.
As with other surgical procedures, surgeons say the breasts will be covered with gauze after the surgery, and the patient may have drainage tubes inserted, though they will be removed in a few days once the wound shows good signs of healing.
Again, they say, the patient may need to wear surgical bra as she heals.
“You’ll need to take it easy for a few days after your breast augmentation surgery. For instance, you shouldn’t do any heavy lifting for up to six weeks after getting your implants,” says the online portal, mayoclinic.com.
By the way, physicians say, you will definitely need some pain medications to get you going for some time; even as you will probably have some swelling in the area where the surgery was done.
The FDA warns that breast implants are not lifetime devices. “The longer a woman has them, the greater the chances that she will develop complications, some of which will require more surgery. The patient can also request additional surgeries to modify the aesthetic outcome, such as size or shape,” the agency warns.
A nurse consultant at FDA’s Centre for Devices and Radiological Health, Gretchen Burns, warns, “The life of these devices varies according to the individual. All women with implants will face additional surgeries, though no one can tell them when. While a few women have kept their original implants for 20-30 years, that is not the common experience.”
Not a pauper’s turf
Surgeons say women who have silicone gel-filled implants will need to get an MRI scan three years after the initial surgery and then about every two years to check for silent rupture. “If your implants rupture, you will need to have them removed or replaced” and the risks are high at this stage.
By Punch's Solaade Ayo-Aderele