Silicone health risks?

What are the health risks of silicone implants? If they rupture, what would happen if it didn't all stay in the scar tissue surrounding the implant? Where all could it go and what could happen?

Doctor Answers 7

Breast Implant: Information

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Dear Ms. ScarletteK, 

Thank you for your questions.

Fortunately ALL breast implants sold in the U.S.A. are highly regulated and have undergone extensive and rigorous testing by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and and are deemed "safe" for human implantation.

In addition breast implants have been implanted for over 50 years with no long term health issues yet identified from the filler material (silicone or saline).

Silicone and Saline filled implants are both devices that have their inherent differences
and each associated with their own known nuances.

I suggest you make out a list of your questions and select several nude "model" photos of what your desired goals/look would be and then schedule several different consultative appointments with experienced Plastic Surgeons who are Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and who are ideally members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (denoting by membership as having met additional criteria and a focus on Cosmetic Plastic Surgery).

My best wishes,

R. A. Hardesty, MD, FACS
Diplomate and Certified by the Am. Bd. of Plastic Surgery
4646 Brockton Ave
Riverside, Ca 92506
(951) 686-7600

Saline vs silicone, some advices:

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Thanks for the question.
In my practice i recommend using - Cohesive Gel - Silicone Breast Implants with textured cover.
They are quite safe and aesthetically best as they give a firmer consistency, better projection and most natural appearance than Saline implants.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 369 reviews

Silicone Health Risks

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Exhaustive studies have shown no health risks to silicone gel implant rupture.  As mentioned the gel in the implant is "thicker" and does not spill if the implant ruptures.  The rupture rate of implant is quite low and has improved with improved implants.

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Silicone health risks?

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Silicone breast implant patients have no higher risk of any disease than patients with saline implants and patients who do not have implants.
Newer silicone implants contain a semi-solid gel type of silicone, older implants from the 70's and 80's contained a liquid silicone. So, with newer silicone implants, the gel will stick together even if the outer shell ruptures.
The older liquid silicone implants had a higher rate of capsular contracture and rupture than the newer ones.
As far as silicone migrating in the tissue, this won't happen unless the capsule around the implant is torn and the implant is also ruptured. This rarely happens with the newer style implants. With the older liquid implants, doctors would sometimes squeeze the breast to break up the scar tissue as it was forming around the implant. This procedure is called a closed capsulotomy and when this was done with the older implants it often ruptured the implant and the capsule and could cause some liquid silicone to leak into the tissue.
Closed capsulotomies are rarely done anymore and the newer semi-solid gel implants are much harder to rupture.

Silicone health risks?

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Thank you for your excellent question.  Silicone implants have been studied at length and to date their are no associations between their use and the development of any medical issues.  The silicone implants used today are filled with a much thicker silicone gel than previously used, and even in cases of a rupture, the gel does not leak to other parts of the body.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Silicone Implants

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Silicone implants have been studied for years, maybe more than any other medical device in history.  There are no proven illnesses, diseases, or other medical conditions associated with gel implants.  Silicone gel implants are cohesive gel, also referred to as "gummy bear."  This means they are solid gel and do not leak or run like a liquid would.  Silicone is everywhere.  It is the second most common element on earth.  It comes from sand.  It is in the glass family.  Your body does not react to glass.  Every needle in the operating room is coated with silicone.  It is everywhere.  If you are considering surgery, consult with a highly experienced board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your goals and expectations.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

The health risks of silicone implants are very well known

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Silicone gel breast implants are probably one of the most thoroughly studied medical devices in history, and volumes of data have been collected documenting the health risks of silicone gel.  To date, there have been no illnesses, diseases, or other medical conditions associated with silicone gel breast implants.  While complications can occur with breast augmentation using all types of implants, there have been no greater rates of complications with the currently used gel implants than with saline implants.  

With regard to your question about migrating silicone gel, it is worth noting that all of the currently used silicone gel implants are solid gel, meaning that they don't leak or run like a liquid would.  Essentially, they stay together in one unit, even if the implant ruptures.  Thus, in the very unlikely event that such an implant would rupture and then the capsule around the implant also ruptured, it would be very unlikely for the gel to escape both the shell of the implant and the capsule and enter the surrounding tissues.  If that were to happen, you would likely see the formation of a granuloma, or scar capsule, around that bit of silicone, just like we get around an implant.  This would probably feel like a firm mass, but it would not be dangerous or subject you to any increased risks, including systemic disease.

If you are considering breast augmentation, be sure that you consult with only board certified plastic surgeons, as they will be in the best position to inform you about all of your options and the risks of those options.  In addition to being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, your surgeon should also voluntarily participate in the Maintenance of Certification program administered by that board. This is the best way to know that your surgeon not only has the best training and experience for the procedure, but that he or she has maintained currency in the certification requirements as opposed to practicing on a "lifetime" certificate which has only been reviewed once at the beginning of his or her career. For more information on this you can visit or Good luck.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

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.