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Don J. Fontana, MD, PA
Silicone Breast Implants
Don Fontana, MD

Silicone Breast Implants

The return of silicone breast implants is a welcomed event for women seeking breast enhancement and breast reconstruction. Silicone implants were first introduced in the late 1960s and became refined and developed in the 1970s and the gold standard up until the 1992. For the period prior to 1992, silicone implants were used in well over 90% of the patients having cosmetic or reconstructive breast surgery. Saline implants at that time were poorly designed with almost a 100% leakage over time.
Approximately 400,000 women have had silicone implant surgery without any ill effects. Today after extensive testing and numerous scientific studies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that silicone breast implants do not impose health risks to women considering breast augmentation or breast reconstruction. As a surgeon who has performed hundreds of breast surgeries using silicone implants, the FDA findings are no surprise. As a result, many questions have been raised by patients. Listed below are a few of the common concerns
Question If I have had breast augmentation with saline implants, can I have them replaced with silicone implants?
Answer Yes, it is now possible to have them replaced. While the silicone implants feel more natural, if you are pleased with the saline implants, there is no necessity of replacing them.
Question What is the risk of silicone implants causing me illness and do they cause cancer?
Answer The FDA study has indicated that patients having breast augmentation or reconstruction with silicone implants have no greater risk of illness than the general population. They do not cause or increase the risk of cancer.
Question How long will the silicone implants last and what is the chance of breakage and leaking?
Answer The silicone implants used today have a slightly thicker membrane than in past years, thus making them more durable. Under normal circumstances the chances of rupture are very minimal.
Question What advantages are there to silicone versus saline implants?
Answer Most women consider the feel of silicone breast implants to be more natural than saline. Breast shape and contour may also be enhanced.
Question Is the operation for silicone implants any different than saline implants?
Answer The operative procedure is generally identical, though the incision to place the implant may be slightly longer.
Question Where are the incisions made for silicone breast augmentation?
Answer The surgical approach is the same as with saline implants; either from around the areola, above the breast fold or from the underarm. Silicone implants can not be inserted from the belly button.
Question Is there any problem having mammograms following silicone implant placement?
Answer No, just as with saline implants, you may require additional views of each breast to assure that the entire breast substance is seen in the mammogram.
Question Are silicone implants the same weight as regular breast tissue? Are they the same weight as saline implants of equal size?
Answer No, the implant material is generally heavier in weight than breast tissue or saline solution.
Question Does the operation using silicone implants cost the same as using saline implants?
Answer Unfortunately, silicone implants are considerably more expensive than saline implants. The cost of the operation is therefore more expensive.
Question Where can I get more information on silicone breast implants?
Answer Consider a complimentary consultation with a plastic surgeon who is board certified, with extensive experience with silicone breast implant surgeries. He can advise you of the appropriate procedure for your individual situation. Additional information is provided by The American Society of Plastic Surgery on the web at www.plasticsurgery.org or call 1-888-475-2784.

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