Mending the Myths: Facts about Silicone Gel-filled Breast Implants

Published on April 21, 2011 by Brian Joseph

These are five myths about silicone implants addressed by the Allergan Pharmaceuticals’ website.

1. Safety of silicone products in the body. Silicone gel implants have been shown to be safely used in the body as well as for many different medical products and devices, which include joint replacement, heart valves, shunts, pacemakers and of course, silicone implants and silicone shell implants.

2. During routine mammography or exercising, it is significantly possible for silicone implants to rupture. This fact is a myth and according to Allergan Pharmaceuticals, it is very unlikely that silicone gel-filled implants would rupture during routine physical activity or a routine mammogram. The shells of the implants today are much stronger and thicker and “have been designed to withstand more than 25 times the force of a normal mammogram without failure.” Allergan notes that saline and silicone implants are not lifetime devices and it is possible that some point in the patients lifetime that the implants will need to be replaced or removed.

3. Silicone gel implants may cause autoimmune diseases or cancer. The actual facts are that silicone gel implants are highly studied medical devices with thousands and thousands of peer reviews that have been published with epidemiological studies supporting their safe use. The numerous studies have shown that there is no evidence concluding that silicone gel will increase the risk of cancer, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or any neurological diseases. In fact, “The National Institute of Health’s Institute of Medicine (IQM) released a 400 page report in 1999 that was entitled Safety of Silicone Breast Implants, concluding that a review of toxicology studies of silicone and other substances known to be in breast implants does not provide a basis for health concern.”

4. Breast implants can grossly impact a mother’s ability to breastfeed or lactate. According to Allergan Pharmaceuticals, the 1999 IQM Report has concluded there is no evidence of increased levels of silicone in the breast milk for women who have implants and it is not harmful to the infants. In fact, the Committee strongly concluded that mothers with silicone implants should attempt breastfeeding and stated that the evidence for health effects in children related to maternal breast implants is insufficient.

5. Breast augmentation surgery may result in disproportionate or unnatural results. In general, women who undergo breast implant surgery have different views and different desires. In my practice at Park Avenue Plastic Surgery in Orlando Florida, I feel it is important to select implants that are in proportion to a patients figure and frame. I use a variety of different implant sizes, shapes and fillers (both silicone and saline), to achieve the desired size and appearance a patient desires.

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