Are silicone breast implants safe? This is the billion dollar question which has been thoroughly addressed throughout the world, by countless international research studies. Silicone breast implants have enjoyed tremendous success as a wonderful innovation in the field of cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Despite being linked to several possible health problems at one time, the safety of silicone implants seems to have finally been proven.
This article provides the latest news concerning silicone implant safety and what women must know before undergoing augmentation surgery.
Are Silicone Breast Implants Safe? / Government Research
Silicone implants were removed from general surgical use by the FDA in 1992, after years of complaints from women who had suffered rupture or leakage and subsequent silicone migration from a damaged implant.
What effect did this silicone have on these unfortunate women was the question which demanded an answer. Both attorneys working on implant litigation cases and breast prosthesis manufacturers funded their own research studies. Of course, both had personal agendas which contributed to favorable findings for each party’s cause.
The federal government finally stepped in and banned the implants until definitive studies could be completed by a regulated and objective agency.
In 1999, after years of research, The National Institute of Health’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its master work, “Safety of Silicone Breast Implants”. Most importantly, this 13 member committee included 6 women. This 400 page report covered every possible expectation for silicone breast implant safety. The report dismissed claims that implants contributed in any way to the development of:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatic disease
- Ménière’s disease
- Raynaud ‘s phenomenon
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Connective Tissue Disease
Are Silicone Implants Safe? / Additional Research
Research studies were also conducted around the world to determine if silicone implants could be positively linked to any health concern. These studies also cleared silicone as the cause of any specific health problem. Some of the most famous studies include:
The Independent Review Group, (United Kingdom) concluded that silicone was bland, inert and non-problematic to the general or specific health of recipients.
1993 University of Texas, Houston study in the Annals of Plastic Surgery
1994 Mayo Clinic study in the New England Journal of Medicine
1994 Scottish study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
1995 Harvard/Brigham’s Hospital study in the New England Journal of Medicine
1996 Canadian study published in The Journal of Rheumatology
Are Silicone Breast Implants Safe During Pregnancy and Nursing?
Silicone was also thought to be a possible risk to developing fetuses, as well as to newborn babies who were being breast fed. Silicone was not found to have any developmental effects upon the fetus, due to exposure to trace amounts linked to mom’s breast implants.
Breastfeeding was also indicated as the best possible method of providing sustenance to the infant, breast implants or not. Cow’s milk and commercial infant formula tested far higher for trace silicone than breast milk from a mother with silicone implants.
The general consensus proved that silicone breast implants do not pose any danger to the mother, or baby, during development or breastfeeding.
This is not to say that the surgical breast augmentation procedure involved in implanting the breast prostheses can not interfere with the actual ability to breastfeed.
Are Breast Implants Really Safe?
Are silicone implants safe? In short form… probably. All surgeries have risks and complications, which are crucial to understand prior to making the choice to undergo the procedure.
However, if you have decided upon breast implants made from silicone, you can be rest assured that the material has been studied and approved for surgical use by the very best minds in the world.
In addition, the silicone implants used today are far superior to any implants offered or tested in the past, both in safety and aesthetics. Cohesive silicone gel implants do not leak and will not rupture due to their solid jelly construction.
Making an informed choice is part of the decision to have breast enlargement surgery. Learning the objective facts about silicone is an important part of that process.