Figures compiled by the ASPS support what many already suspected anecdotally -- the most common cosmetic surgical procedure is breast augmentation. The average fee is $3,351, but can run as high as $10,000, not including implants [source: ASPS]. In 2010, doctors performed almost 300,000 breast augmentations (296,203, to be exact), a 2 percent increase over 2009, and a 39 percent increase over 2000 (212,500). Clearly, Hollywood isn't the only place where breast augmentation is popular (although the West Coast dominates that category).
Not only are breast augmentation procedures on the rise, but so is the use of silicone implants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned silicone implants in 1992, following some disastrous results. But in 2006, the FDA allowed the reintroduction of plastic gel implants, though some safety concerns remain. In 2010, 60 percent of the implants used were silicone, while 40 percent were saline (essentially sterile salt water).
During a straightforward breast augmentation procedure, the implants are placed beneath either the breast tissue or chest muscles. In the case of saline implants, the risk is minimized since, should a leak occur, the salt water is naturally absorbed by the body. With silicone implants, many plastic surgeons recommend routine follow-up visits to ensure the implant isn't compromised [source: ASPS].
The FDA doesn't recommend breast augmentation surgery before a patient is at least 18, to allow these young women to develop naturally first. Silicone implants are not recommended for any patient under the age of 22.
Ready to book that doctor's appointment? We've got lots more information below.
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Do plastic surgeons elect to undergo cosmetic surgery more than the average American? Learn more in this HowStuffWorks article.