Why do people think that silicone is unsafe? I heard that the FDA once banned liquid silicone from being used. Were there valid reasons for them doing that, and is the silicone doctors use any different now than it was before?
Is Liquid Silicone Safe?
Doctor Answers 3
Silicone is permaanet and causes inflammation
Silicone injections in various parts of the body has been done quite frequently all over the country. The difficulty with silicone injections begins with the quality of the silicone itself. I have seen many cases where industrial grade silicone has been injected inside the human body. This can be a tremendous disaster. Problems can include infections, granulomas, cellulitis, and persistent skin infections, disfigurement and skin dimpling. It is very easy to have silicone injected, but very difficult to have it removed. The removal can frequently be very complex and involved lengthy surgery. Multiple operation is not uncommon. It is not uncommon to expect scars in locations that would otherwise be undesirable. If you do have silicone, or are having problem with silicone that was injected by a non-healthcare provider then you should certainly seek medical attention. Some solutions include IV antibiotics, oral antibiotics and surgery after the inflammation has subsided. Removing the silicone is not just a cosmetic issue but also an issue of better health. Depending on the type of silicone injected concerns with autoimmune diseases and infections are foremost. Taking medications such as ibuprofen or cortisone is only a temporary measure. The real solution is surgery. Not all plastic surgeons are willing to operate on patients who have had silicone injected in their body. Many of these cases are not covered by insurance because they were performed for cosmetic reasons. My recommendation to anyone that has had silicone injections and wishes to have it removed, is to seek a board certified plastic surgeon who is likely willing to do more than 1 operation as well as willing to do some of these operations in a hospital setting. I have had patients visit me for removal of silicone and the discussion to proceed is never an easy one.
FDA approval and safety of silicone injections
Silicone is not currently approved for cosmetic facial augmentation. Silicone is theoretically inert but I routinely see patients from all over the world who suffer from inflammatory side effects resulting from silicone injections.
Silicone injections can cause nodularity and deformity resulting from inflammation, granuloma formation, soft tissue atrophy, and volume deformity.
Liquid silicone is not FDA approved for cosmetic uses, and is being used off-label for this purpose. It was banned in the past because of problems with granuloma formation and infections that usually required it to be removed. This process is very difficult.
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.