Sientra recently became the third company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin distributing new silicone breast implants, and many in the plastic surgery profession are thrilled with the news.

According the company's CEO, Hani Zeini, the decision will offer patients and surgeons new choices and effectively break up what he calls a duopoly that was previously shared by Johnson & Johnsonís Mentor unit and Allergan Inc. In addition to the typical round breast implants offered by the latter companies, Zeini says Sientra will offer a variety of sizes and shapes; however, before women rush out to meet with a surgeon, there are a few things they should understand.

FDA Moved Changed its Position

In 2011, there were over 300,000 breast augmentation procedures performed in the United States, up 3.6 percent from 2010. The growing demand has put pressure on the FDA to approve more silicone-gel varieties, which tend to look and feel more natural. For years, the federal agency has wrestled with concerns that these products might be linked to health conditions, such as lupus, cancer and other problems; however, a growing body of evidence has suggested that this might not be the case.

Plastic Surgery Not Fool-Proof

According to the FDA, Sientra will be allowed to market its product for both breast enhancement and reconstruction. That said, although the FDA has approved the new products, women should be aware that they do come with certain potential complications. According to the FDA, silicone implants are more likely to rupture than saline-based products. Additionally, the federal agency warns that 20 percent of patients will need replacement surgeries within five years of the initial implantation.

For many women, saline products have their own drawbacks. Ruptures are also seen with these breast implants and many patients report higher incidences of scarring and hardening. Generally, patients prefer silicone breasts, because they tend to appear natural and feel more like actual human tissue.

If you're interested in improving your appearance by enhancing your bust, you'll need to weigh the potential benefits and risks associated with each type of product. Additionally, most experts recommend that you meet with more than one plastic surgeon to get varying opinions on what type of product and procedure will best fit your individual needs and desires.


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