Silicone Gel Breast Implants…Are they safe?
The answer is a big YES! The silicone implants of today are very different from the 1st generation silicone implants from years ago. Firstly, you should know years of independent research was unable to correlate a connection between silicone breast implants and any autoimmune diseases, or any other disease for that matter. It was this original concern that caused them to be taken off the market in 1992. After they were proven safe, the FDA allowed them back on the market in 1996.
Mentor and Allergan, the two major manufacturers of breast implants, now have both saline filled and silicone Gel implants available. As stated earlier, there have been improvements made to the new silicone implants. The current gel implants are called “cohesive gel” implants. This means they are a solid gel through and through. If you cut a gel implant in half, it stays in two pieces. The 1st generation silicone implants were more like “Baked Brie”. If they were cut into two pieces the inner silicone gel would ooze from the silicone shell.
Saline implants have a general life span of 15-20 years. The polymers break down, and volume is lost; though nothing to be concerned about. Remember they’re just filled with sterile salt water. When this occurs they can easily be replaced with new saline implants or newer gel implants. It’s unclear when or if, cohesive gel implants would need to be replaced, since they won’t lose volume being a solid gel and long term research is still forthcoming. Cohesive gel implants do have the advantage of being softer and feeling more like real breast tissue. Both saline and cohesive gel implants are safe and commonly used, with gel implants taking the lead. Your board certified plastic surgeon will review the two options with you and help you to select the implants that are best for you.