How safe are the new silicone breast implants?
They are believed to be extremely safe. The American Society of Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery both back these implants for usage. The FDA came on board last year and has made these breast implants available to almost all women. I was part of the studies for the past 6 years and involved in evaluating the newly approved silicone breast implants, which several medical societies always felt were safe. We all feel that science has finally won out.
Have the new silicone breast implants been tested?
Silicone implants first came on the market back in the 70’s before the FDA became an organization. The earliest implants had a different shell, or casing, which had a higher leakage rate. In addition, informed consent did not exist like it does today. Women were not informed, as they should have been, as to the potential complications, which led to the problems. Communication is key to understanding any issue. After extensive testing the implants are back. During the trials, silicone implants were still used for testicular replacement, joint replacement, heart valves, pacemaker wires, and lining syringe barrels.
What differences are there between silicone and saline?
Silicone is a much more natural feeling and looking breast implant. In a woman without much breast tissue who is also thin, the differences are the greatest. In a woman with at least a full B cup, who is not as thin the differences are the smallest as they have more padding. The silicone implant feels much more like a breast, even before it is inserted during surgery.
Who can have silicone breast implants?
Now, any woman over the age of 22 can have them. Certain categories of women under the age of 22 may also have them if they are born with certain congenital abnormalities.
How long do they last?
Rupture rates are very small but they do exist. I inform all my patients that they will need them removed at some time in their lives, but I would expect that most breast implant patients will get 20-25 years of benefit from the procedure.