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Safety of Silicone Breast Implants

Vishnu Rumalla Jul 30, 2012

At Tarrant Plastic Surgery we are routinely asked by patients about the safety of silicone breast implants.  In early 1992, the FDA placed a moratorium on the use of silicone breast implants until further investigation was performed to verify the safety of these devices.  Over the next 15 years, large clinical trials were performed to address the FDA’s concerns.  Many of the more serious concerns of silicone implants like causing collagen vascular diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis were disproven.  Other claims however had strong merit.  Among these claims was that when these early liquid filled silicone devices ruptured they could hardening of the breast and leaking into the tissues of the breast.  These observations led to the conscience development and use of our current cohesive gel implants.  These breast implants are filled with a silicone gel rather than liquid silicone to reduce migration.   Finally, in November 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved wider use of these silicone gel breast implants. 

Specific inclusion and exclusion criteria were mandated by the FDA and these include that a prospective patient must also read an informed consent pamphlet and review concern’s they may have with their physician.

Silicone gel implants come in different sizes, projections, and texture.

They are currently being used for breast augmentation with and without lifts and in the reconstruction of breast cancer.  When compared to saline implants there are several advantages and disadvantages of silicone implants.

The advantages of silicone gel breast implants include more natural feel characteristics and potentially less rippling and visibility.

The disadvantages of silicone gel breast implants include that they often require longer incision to place, are pre-filled and thus are not adjustable for subtle volume differences between breasts, tend to have less projection for any given chest width, and are more expensive than their saline counterparts.

Along with a busy cosmetic breast practice, we devotes a significant portion of his practice to breast reconstruction.  We prefer the use of silicone gel implants in breast reconstruction because of superior feel characteristics.  We also reminds patients who are undergoing breast augmentation that in the submuscular position, which Dr Rumalla prefers, there is no change in the detection of breast cancer with mammography in patients with breast implants while also reducing visibility and capsular contracture of the breast (hardening of the breast).  A special view called an implant displacement view will be done at the time of mammography.

We currently use both silicone gel and saline implants to achieve the look you desire.    During your complimentary consultation, Dr Rumalla will perform a thorough history and discuss your breast goals and desires.  He will then carefully analyze your individual breast shape and dimensions to devise a surgical plan that best enhances your look.

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