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Breast augmentation has been the most popular plastic surgery procedure for many years now. Hundreds of thousands of women nationwide improve the size and shape of their breasts through breast augmentation each year. Despite the widespread popularity of breast implants, there are probably a few things you don’t know about America’s favorite procedure.

1. Breast Implants Can Glow in the Dark

If you shine a flashlight under or next to your breasts, some breast implants will actually glow in the dark. Both silicone and saline breast implants can cast a glow and reveal the veins in your breast, but saline implants tend to be brighter because the fluid isn’t as dense.

The glow is faint and only noticeable with direct light, much like if you pressed a flashlight against your fingers or cupped your hand over it. Your breasts won’t glow in the dark on their own.

2. Breast Implants Were Nicknamed after Candy

For decades, manufacturers have offered saline and silicone breast implants that both can yield beautiful results and look and feel natural. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new type of silicone breast implant that quickly picked up the nickname “gummy bear” implants.

Gummy bear breast implants are form-stable implants filled with a silicone gel that stays put when the implant is cut in half, mimicking the consistency of gummy bears. However, unlike the candy, gummy bear implants are not edible and don’t come in a rainbow array of colors.

3. Breast Implants Can Have Microchips

Some breast implants have microchips loaded with information, similar to the microchip used for pets. When scanned with a handheld device, the chip can quickly deliver the serial and lot number of your implants, the manufacturer’s name, when the implants were made, the volume and size and other pertinent information.

In the rare event of a recall, microchipped breast implants can be easily checked without having to obtain medical records or have surgery to examine the implants.

4. Oil-Filled Breast Implants Were Once in Development

In the early 1990s, LipoMatrix™ created the Trilucent breast implant filled with highly purified triglycerides from soybean oil. Developers were trying to find a material that would be more transparent than silicone and saline during mammograms and that posed no harm to the body if a rupture occurred.

The oil-filled breast implants passed clinical trials but problems cropped up after 5,000 British women had them inserted. The women reported swelling and inflammation, and MRIs showed the implants were absorbing water. LipoMatrix™ voluntarily recalled the implants in 1999 after the U.K. Department of Health recommended that people should stop using them.

5. Breast Implants May Be Tax Deductible

You can’t deduct the cost of elective plastic surgery as part of medical expenses on your taxes. Breast augmentation can be deducted, though, if you can prove that the procedure fits into two narrow categories: reconstruction after a mastectomy or a business expense. In 1994, a stripper who went by the name “Chesty Love” argued that her breast enhancement was a business expense, and a U.S. tax court judge agreed with her, calling her new breasts a stage prop.

An Expert on Your Side

Wild and wacky facts aside, modern breast implants can provide you with a range of features and options to achieve the look you want. A board-certified, skilled plastic surgeon who specializes in breast augmentation can help educate you about the different types of breast implants and guide you in choosing the right one for the best results.

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