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The Facts About Silicone Implants

When you are choosing to have a breast enlargement you want the peace of mind of knowing that you are choosing an implant with long proven results, and a history of high quality. Knowing all the facts will lead you to the most successful outcome for what is right for you.

Silicone implants have received a large amount of negative media attention through the years, but before you make a decision you owe it to yourself to know the history and the facts about silicone-gel breast implants.

The Moratorium or “The Ban”

Both saline and silicone implants have been used since the 1960s. From that point until “the ban” on silicone-gel implants in 1992, they were the most popular type of implant due to their natural look and feel in most women. In 1992, the FDA issued a moratorium (or a ban, as many people called it) on silicone-gel implants based on accusations and concerns that they might cause auto-immune diseases such as lupus, arthritis and breast cancer.

From 1992 to 2006, saline filled implants (with silicone shells) also known as saline implants, were the only option available to women in the United States seeking breast augmentation unless they met the moratorium criteria to participate in the study.

Throughout that time, silicone gel remained the implant of choice for women in Europe, South America, and Canada.

In 2006, after almost 2 decades of research and testing, Memory Gel Breast Implants were FDA approved in 2006 for women in the United States. This approval was an important advancement in the field of breast augmentation.

The FDA lifted the restriction on silicone breast implants after substantial evidence was presented that silicone implants did not cause such diseases. It was determined that a woman’s risk of developing auto-immune diseases was the same whether she had silicone gel implants or no implants.

Did you know silicone has been used in hundreds of thousands of medical devices for over 50 years?

Devices such as pacemakers, artificial joints, tissue expanders, catheters are some of the items that most people are familiar with that are made with silicone. Doctors have trusted silicone for years because it is reliable, easy to sterilize, bio compatible and flexible.

Whats soo great about silicone implants?

The advantage of silicone-gel implants is primarily cosmetic because they look and feel so soft, and natural, that it is often difficult to feel the difference between breasts with silicone implants and those without. For women who are thin, or have very little of their own breast tissue this implant is often a better match for their anatomy. Also, because silicone is lighter than saline, the risk of “bottoming out” is less.

These implants feel more like natural breast tissue, and  they do so  without compromising safety or reliability.  The Memory-Gel holds together while still retaining the natural give of breast tissue. This is because of a cohesive, gel-like substance that acts as a solid rather than a liquid, maintaining its shape.

silicone implant photo

Saline vs. Silicone, what are the differences?

The main differences are cost and feel. Saline implants come empty and are filled at the time of surgery. This means a smaller incision, they cost less, and in the event that they rupture (or deflate) there is a noticeable change. Your breast will get softer, smaller and start to look similar to how it did prior to surgery.

Note: these implants are less likely to feel like natural breast tissue.

Silicone-gel implants come pre-filled from the manufacturer. This means a little longer of an incision, they cost  more (typically $1000.00-$2000.00), and in the event that a silicone implant ruptures (or deflates) they still retain their shape, so there is no noticeable change in the breast. This is why the FDA recommends that a woman with silicone-gel implants gets an MRI every other year, starting the third year after surgery. Also, you must be 22 years of age to have silicone-gel implants.

Note: This is only a recommendation, it is not a requirement and it will not affect the warranty.

When deciding which type of implant is best for you, it is very important to discuss your options with our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Dehghan.