Breast implants have been a huge trend in the beauty world for quite some time, but it might be time for their legacy to come to an end. The new kid on the block in the world of the plastic surgery has become known as the “un-boob job,” and it’s become so popular that even celebrities are now sharing their stories about why implants weren’t right for them anymore. Admit it—we all do things when we’re young that we end up regretting when we’re older. For some people it’s getting a tattoo, for others it’s getting pierced somewhere other than their ears. For many women, however, those regrets come in the form of getting breast implants. In fact, many of those woman who confidently get breast implants during their younger years regret them so much during their adult years that they actually get rid of them. One celebrity, Victoria Beckham, recently decided to speak out about her decision to get rid of the breast implants she got when she was 18 years old. The process of getting breast implants removed has actually become so common that the trend has even been given a name: the “un-boob job.” Of course, Beckham and any other women who have their implants removed have their own personal reasons for doing so, but did you know that they often extend far beyond looks? Beckham penned a letter to her younger self in January’s issue of British Vogue, which included many pieces of advice she wished she could’ve given herself back then. She said she wished her younger self would’ve had more fun with what she wore, celebrated the unique aspects of both herself and others, and kept a diary to make sure she could keep track of her most memorable moments. She also told her teenaged self not to, “mess with your boobs,” and to, “just celebrate what you’ve got.” We can only speculate as to why Beckham got her implants in the first place—maybe due to insecurity at a young age or just wanting an enhancement for fun—but she confirmed in 2014 that she had them removed. “I don’t have them anymore,” she told Allure magazine. “I think I may have purchased them.” Though she didn’t give specifics about why she made the decision, she did say it wasn’t due to pain. Beckham won’t be the first or last woman to make the decision to remove her breast implants—in fact, Health magazine noted that approximately 24,000 made the decision to say goodbye to theirs in 2014. While there are plenty of reasons why that may be, one doctor says a big factor for many women is the amount of upkeep that implants actually require—though most of us know that sometimes implants might burst or deteriorate, they still require some maintenance even if nothing goes wrong. “Implants are not lifelong devices,” said Janette Alexander, MD, one of the FDA’s plastic surgery medical officers in its division of surgical devices. “The longer a woman has them, the more likely it is that she will need additional surgery, which could include replacement or removal.” For many women, this could mean going through thousands of dollars in additional medical procedures just to maintain the look and quality of their implants. Besides what essentially comes down to the inconvenience of breast implant upkeep, there are plenty of physical reasons why women choose to take them out. For some, it’s because they leak or rupture, which can become incredibly dangerous if the damaged implants go without treatment or removal. Other women begin to experience significant back pain, most likely due to getting implants that are too large for their frame. In many cases, however, women get their implants removed because they are just too hard to live with, even if they do like the way they look. For some women, everyday tasks become too hard to perform with implants, whether it’s because they’re too heavy or because they’re not positioned well. “I was unable to do an unmodified push-up without feeling like my boobs were about to explode,” said a fitness instructor who eventually made the decision to have her implants removed. So, how do you know when it’s time for your implants to go? If you’re making the decision simply because you feel like they’re not for you anymore, you really don’t need a better reason than that. In fact, you could walk into the doctor to have them removed or reduced and potentially leave a mere three hours later. There are, however, a few signs that it might be time for your implants to go, even if you don’t necessarily want to part with them. -If your implants are too large for your frame, they can cause significant pain that will probably continue until you take them out or make them smaller. -You might experience something called capsular contracture, which means that your scar tissue has become stiff. It can make your breasts look misshapen or hard. -Your implants might rupture, which could allow the implant material to leak into your body. How can you tell if your implants have ruptured? At first, you might not notice anything at all. When an implant gets placed inside of the body, a type of fibrous tissue called capsule will begin to grow around it. When an implant ruptures, it can be what is called a silent rupture, which means that all of the leaked material gets absorbed by the capsule, so you feel nothing. However, when left for long enough, this tissue can eventually become inflamed, which can then lead to: -Breast pain -Breast lumps -Breast swelling, or severe changes to the shape and size of the breast -Breast tissue that feels either harder or softer than normal If you think you may have a ruptured implant, it’s definitely a good idea to see your doctor as soon as possible. Women with silent ruptures may be able to just wait and see what happens with their situation, but anyone who’s actually experiencing symptoms will probably have to have their implants removed via surgery. Whether your implant has leaked just a little or it has deteriorated to the point that it needs to be replaced, the goal of your surgeon will be to remove the material they need to through the smallest incision possible. Doctors can use what is essentially a small vacuum attached to a syringe, which can removed any leaked implant material through a fairly small incision. The best part of this kind of technique is that it doesn’t require anything sharp to remove the material, so there’s less of a risk that the implant will get punctured again and leak even more. If an implant needs to be fully removed, doctors can use the vacuum device to suck the remaining material out of the implant and then remove the actual implant once it’s empty. For women who don’t have ruptured implants, a doctor will probably be able to remove them whole, usually through the incisions that were made to put them in. Whether you have implants and are ready for the “un-boob job” to take place or you’re thinking about getting some for the first time, there are a few things you should think about before you take the plunge. – Consider this—if you were to get breast implants at age 22, their placement and proper maintenance over the next 25 years would cost you a whopping total of $46,000. – When looking for a plastic surgeon, a bargain is never the answer. Make sure you find a doctor who’s board-certified, and make sure that their certification is actually in plastic surgery—believe it or not, some doctors won’t specify this up front. One doctor, Daniel Mills, MD, said, “When a revision patient of mine had gone for her original consultation, she asked a staffer if the doctor was board-certified. The staffer said yes but didn’t bother to add that the doctor was board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, not plastic surgery. When she came to see me, her implants had dropped like they were in tube socks, down to her belly button.” – Make sure you get a good idea of what your plastic surgeon’s “style” is. Many will make recommendations based on what is popular where you live, or try to sell you on what they had in mind, as opposed to really listening to what you want. – Don’t skip trying on tester bras with different sized implants to get a feel for what a particular cup size will look and feel like on you.
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