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Silicone breast implant risks and safety concerns

 

Silicone breast implants have been around for a long time, first introduced in the early 1960s. The popularity of breast enlargement, and silicone implants, continued to grow into the 1980s and 1990s, as did the accounts of supposed complications and risks. Some woman expressed their experiences of ruptured silicone gel implants, linking the symptoms with immunological disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions. Upon removing the implant many women stated the symptoms they were experiencing went away.

In the US, in particular, certain regulations were introduced to restrict the use of silicone implants on some women, especially for those who were having breast reconstruction surgery after breast cancer treatment. By 2006 no evidence could be found directly linking silicone breast implants with any diseases which resulted in a loosing of the restrictions on the sale of silicone implants.

For a lot of women who couldn’t use silicone, or chose not to use silicone, a new form of implant known as saline breast implant was developed and used to achieve similar results.

Which type of breast implant is safer?

Silicone gel implants:

These are less likely to wrinkle than saline implants. There are generally two types of silicone gel, soft and firm. The soft type can feel more natural.

If the soft type of silicone gel ruptures it can cause siliconomos by spreading into the breast. The risk of this is reduced with the firmer silicone, but they won’t feel as natural.

Saline implants:

If saline implants were to rupture the solution in the implant will be safely absorbed and passed out of the body. Although the risk to health is lower, saline implants are more likely to rupture or deflate than silicone. They are also more likely to wrinkle or fold and feel less natural.

How long will breast implants last?

Unfortunately, breast implants are not a permanent solution and will need to be replaced after some time. For some women, further surgery to replace their implants will be needed after around 10 years. This is typically due to changes in the implant or the breast tissue.

Side effects to expect from breast implants

Like most surgical procedures, you may experience some discomfort from breast implant surgery, like:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • And, tight feeling around the chest

What can go wrong?

Breast implants, no matter what type, can occasionally cause problems. Some of these problems include:

  • Scarring
  • Implant rupturing – this may cause some tenderness around the breast. A scan of the breast may show some small lumps which may indicate siliconomas. The implant will need to be removed
  • Folds and creases on the implant – effecting the overall look and fell of the breast
  • Implant shifting from its intended position – which may lead to an abnormal or uneven shape
  • Implant rippling – very difficult to treat. Often caused by implants covered in a thin layer of tissue
  • Nerve problems – can affect the sensitivity of the nipple
  • Ability to breast feed – reduction in the amount of breast milk produced

There are other general surgical complications that can occur which isn’t specific to breast enlargement or implant procedures. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infections – unlikely, but if it was to happen, implant may need to be take out
  • Allergic reaction
  • Blood clot

What to do if there’s a problem?

There is some level of risk with all surgical procedures so it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes things can go wrong, and be prepared to take the appropriate actions.

If you experience any unexpected symptoms like extreme pain, redness on the breast, a burning sensation or swelling, you should contact the clinic or hospital that carried out the procedure as soon as you notice the problem.

Your surgeon, and the clinic or hospital, should have processes in place to deal with these situations and should make this process clear to you before having the procedure.

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