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3 Common Questions About Breast Implant Safety

By: Dr. Michelle Lee
Topics: General
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Each year, breast augmentation continues to top the list as one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed in the US. In fact, more than 300,000 augmentations were done in 2015 and more than 5 million done since 1997 when the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery started tracking surgeries. Given these numbers, it is not surprising that there is a lot of conflicting information over the safety of breast augmentation.

 Read three of the most commonly asked questions and answers about the safety of breast implants.

1. Are breast implants safe?

Yes! The report of the National Science Panel, consisting of immunologists, epidemiologists, toxicologists, and rheumatologists, evaluated all existing scientific studies and determined that breast implants are safe and “no association was evident between breast implants and any of the individual connective tissue diseases, all definite connective tissue diseases combined, or the autoimmune/rheumatic conditions.”

You might find conflicting information about breast implant safety because prior to 1991 (after breast implants were on the market for almost 30 years), implant manufacturers were not required to prove they were safe. The FDA started reviewing implants and their use, as well as restricted the use of silicone implants to only those having reconstructive surgery in 1992. During this time, only saline implants were available to women. Saline implants became FDA-approved in 2000, silicone implants in 2006 and “Gummy bear” cohesive gel implants in 2013.

2. Do breast implants cause breast cancer?

No. Multiple research studies have shown that breast implants do not cause breast cancer. Approximately 10-11% of women in the US will develop breast cancer with or without breast implants. Breast implants can interfere with detection of breast cancer; therefore it is important that you tell your mammography technician that you have implants so you can be imaged accordingly during your mammogram.

3. Do breast implants last forever?

No. It’s important to remember that implants are man-made devices, and no man-made device will last forever. This is the reason why we monitor your implants and encourage routine follow-up care with your plastic surgeon. Generally, saline or silicone implants will last about 10 years.

 

Ultimately, there are risks and rewards with any surgical procedure and you need to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it is right for you. If you are considering a breast augmentation, know that breast implants do not impair breast health, and this surgery may help you achieve the breast shape and profile that you desire.