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Silicone Gel Breast Implants Are Popular Again

Posted Dec 9, 2013 by Stephen Greenberg, MD

Manhattan Silicone Gel ImplantsIt’s official, silicone gel implants are back in demand.

Breast augmentation was the most popular cosmetic surgery for women in the United States in 2012. Of the 330,631 breast augmentations performed in 2012, 72 percent were silicone gel breast implants, according to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Silicone Implants

Many women prefer silicone breast implants because they move and feel much like natural tissue. Silicone implants are filled with a thick silicone gel. In addition to feeling more natural, they are less prone to rippling. They can be either round or tear-dropped (anatomically) shaped.

If you are considering implants to add shape to your contours, Dr. Stephen T. Greenberg in Manhattan offers personalized advice regarding silicone gel implants or other plastic surgery options that require artistry and skill.

FDA Approval

For years, there was a moratorium on silicone implants due to health concerns. After 15 years of research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the moratorium in 2006 deeming silicone implants safe.

If you are considering implants, you should understand that - like anything - implants will probably deteriorate over time.  As the FDA notes, anyone considering implants (silicone or saline) should understand they are not “lifetime” devices. The longer you have implants, the more likely you will need maintenance work at some point.  

One complication is leakage. If a silicone implant leaks, the gel may stay within the implant shell or escape into the implant pocket. A silicone implant might not collapse, which is often referred to as a “silent rupture.” For this reason you should visit your plastic surgeon regularly to ensure the implants are intact. This includes getting an MRI three years after surgery and again every two years thereafter.

Leaking silicone gel isn’t thought to causes systemic or long-term health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic, which notes that long-term studies on new versions of silicone implants are ongoing. Still, an implant may eventually cause breast pain or changes in the shape of the breast. If a rupture happens, you will need to have the implant removed or replaced.

Another complication with implants includes the possibility they may become hard (capsular contracture). This happens when scar tissue forms a capsule around the implant. If the capsule squeezes the implant it can cause firmness, discomfort, and pain. The problem can often be mitigated with surgery.

Things to Consider

Some considerations:

  • Implants are not expected to last a lifetime. It is likely you will need additional surgery in the future to maintain the implant.
  • Implants may interfere with your ability to breastfeed.
  • Silicone implants can rupture without your noticing. The occurrence of silent ruptures means you will need MRI exams on a regular basis.
  • Mammograms may be more complicated and you may need additional views.
  • If your implants are removed, you may need additional surgery to maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance, such as a breast lift.

Breast augmentation is a personal decision. Many women consider the risks an acceptable tradeoff for improving their contour and their confidence.

Find Out More

If you would like more information about the new silicone implants, please call our offices today to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Greenberg, a leading authority known for his personalized care and artistic results, will go over advancements in the field and offer guidance on the implants suited to your goals and body type.

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