Despite three decades of safety testing and monitoring of silicone breast implants, there is
still a public perception that silicone breast implants are more toxic or dangerous than
saline implants. The truth is that there has no known toxicity from silicone gel breast
implants. In fact, silicone is one of the most common materials used in medical devices and
implants. There is no known toxicity from silicone gel breast implants. It has been studied
by the FDA for more than three decades to establish its safety. Silicone is the most
common material used in medical devices/implants. Examples include shunts that go from
the brain to the abdomen (for hydrocephalus) which are left in for a lifetime, artificial finger
joints, syringes, IVs, catheters (including ones that go next to the heart), surrounding
pacemakers, and even oral anti-gas tablets.
The one possible exception may by the PIP implant made in France (generally not available
in the USA). Most of the concerns about the PIP implant were about the use of non-medical
silicone and manufacturing problems, and do not relate to implants used in the United
States by board-certified plastic surgeons. This is not to say that breast implants, like any
implant, can have problems; they may have to be removed and are not meant to last a life
time. Common reasons for replacement include: capsular contracture, rupture, infection,
change in breast size, and pain—but not for toxicity.
To answer the perceived toxicity of Silicone by the general public—this is quite a different
Breast implants have been around since the 1960s. About 15 years ago Connie Chung ran
an exposé, Face to Face with Connie Chung, claiming silicone implants were responsible
for different health problems. This led to lawsuits, a huge windfall for lawyers, and the
subsequent ban on silicone implants for first-time breast augmentation patients went into
effect. They were always available for breast reconstruction (e.g. after mastectomy) and
replacement of existing silicone breasts. Also, please note that saline implants are still
covered by a silicone envelope.
Soon after, a ban on silicone implant use became worldwide. This lasted for years until
more than 100 clinical studies showed that breast implants aren’t related to cancer, lupus,
scleroderma, other connective tissue diseases, or the host of other problems they were
accused of causing.
June 1999, The Institute of Medicine released a 400-page report prepared by an
independent committee of 13 scientists. They concluded that although silicone breast
implants may be responsible for localized problems such as hardening or scarring of breast
tissue, implants do not cause any major diseases such as depression, chronic fatigue
syndrome, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
The Institute of Medicine is part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most
prestigious scientific organization.
Eventually, a federal judge dismissed/rejected the lawsuits, declaring them junk science
and ended for the most part the barrage of lawsuits. This led to the present reintroduction of
silicone implants years ago and their approval by the FDA. Interestingly enough, most of
the rest of the world reintroduced them many years prior to the United States.
Web reference: http://drnichter.com/silicone-implants-toxic/