Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most popular elective cosmetic surgical procedures. The association that modern society places on the ideal feminine form and large breasts contributes greatly to this.
Many women in deciding to undergo breast augmentation procedures often choose larger implants solely on this notion and take little time to consider the potential effects that such implants might have on their spine. Some do so to the degree of provoking conditions that require spinal surgery in the future.
Factoring in All Aspects of Breast Augmentation
While many factors such as the woman’s age, size, bone density and body proportions can affect how an ambitious breast augmentation procedure will affect her spine, simple physics helps to illustrate the root of the problem.
The larger the breast implant, the greater the shift in the center of gravity that they cause to the muscuskeletal system of the woman. As weight is increased beyond the body’s center, gravity acts as a magnifier of the pressure exerted on the spine from that excess weight. These increases in exertion of pressure can be as high as ten times the added weight.
This type of greatly increased pressure on the spine can provoke several undesired conditions, such as hyperlordosis, commonly known as swayback. This condition manifests itself physically by the pelvis resting directly on top of the thighs. Aesthetically this creates the outward appearance of the buttocks being more protruded. This usually occurs over time as the woman unconsciously attempts to compensate for the added pressure on her spine.
In the short term, these unconscious corrections provide relief. However, with time they create the hyperlordosis. In severe cases spinal surgery may be the only viable option to correct the damage done to the spine.
Assessing Whole Spine Health
For women with a pre-existing condition of scoliosis, a lateral curvature of the spine, ambitious breast augmentation can pose an even greater risk for back pain and spinal problems. While severe cases of scoliosis are detected at childhood, cases of degenerative and undiagnosed scoliosis also exist. Some studies indicate that as much as 5% of the population have scoliosis with curvatures so slight that they go undiagnosed.
However, when the added pressure caused by large breast implants is exerted on the spine, the effects are magnified in women with undiagnosed scoliosis. In the case of the degenerative form of scoliosis, it is caused by the degeneration of the spinal disks as people age.
This means that as a woman with large breasts implants ages, the cumulative effects of the added pressure may be intensified due the the aging of the discs. Be it undiagnosed or degenerative, any manifestation of scoliosis coupled with ambitious breast augmentation will greatly increase the possibility of spinal surgery being required in the future.
A question may arise of how large is too large for breast augmentation? Some studies indicate that breast implants of 400-grams and greater have the propensity to cause the greatest number of spinal problems. It really should not be an issue of trying to pinpoint a magic threshold.
As stated earlier, each woman is different. The more practical answer would be that if a woman decides that she must have breast augmentation surgery, she should choose a breast size that provides her with the desired aesthetic result, but within what could be called a more natural look. Many times larger options are pursued simply because no consideration was given to more subtle augmentations. A subtle breasts implant augmentation choice can in the majority of instances yield the desired aesthetic results without having to risk the woman’s spinal health.