Breast implants are saline- or silicone-filled pouches that are implanted under the breast tissue or chest muscle for breast augmentation. It is important to understand the risks associated with the procedure, along with what precautions you will need to take after the surgery. Some of the most commonly asked questions about breast augmentation surgeries include the dangers of using a sauna with breast implants.
The two main types of breast implants are saline-filled and silicone gel-filled. Saline implants are silicone shells that are filled with saline, either before or during surgery. The FDA has approved saline breast implants for breast augmentation in women 18 years or older. Silicone implants are silicone shells that are filled with silicone gel before surgery. The FDA has approved the use of silicone implants for breast augmentation in women at least 22 years of age.
Breast implants will store both hold and cold temperatures, based on your surroundings. However, unlike other body parts, the implants are slow to return to normal body temperature. For example, if you stay in a sauna for too long, your implants will heat to above body temperature. Once you leave the sauna, your body will return back to normal temperature within a few minutes, but your breasts could remain warm for up to an hour. While this may be uncomfortable, it is usually not detrimental to your health or well being. However, if you are sensitive to warm or cool temperatures, you should be cautious about the temperature of your breast implants.
The heat of a sauna should not damage breast implants. Silicone melts at over 200°C (392°F), which should be nowhere near the temperature of your sauna. However, most sauna manufacturers recommend that you check with your surgeon and the manufacturer of the implants before using a sauna.
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It is important to note that localized sources of heat placed directly on the breast could damage the skin. For example, if you place a heating pad on your chest, it will eventually warm up your implants. At that point, your breast skin will be receiving heat from both the outside and the inside, which could cause burns to the skin. If you have breast implants, do not use heating pads, hot water bottles, or electric blankets against the breasts.
A rupture is a break or tear in the silicone shell that causes the shell to deflate and the inner liquid to leak out into the body. Although heat has not been named as a cause for rupturing, it is important to note that doctors do not know all of the causes of breast-implant rupture. Studies are still being done to determine whether heat might cause small tears or folds in the surface of the shell. While this may not be reason enough to stop you from using a sauna, it is at least something to keep in mind.
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.