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OC Register Blogs on Breast Implant Safety

Posted Jul 03 2008 4:12pm
OC Register Blog

OC Register's Cosmetic blog opens the hot discussion of breast implants and toxicity.

Despite their critics, breast implants are like cell phones — embraced by enthusiastic consumers who are willing to overlook the problems they cause.

Apparently Dr Michael Zenn, a plastic surgeon at Duke, entered the fray on theNY Times blogrecently:

Today’s breast implant options are saline or silicone. Saline implants are a silicone shell filled with salt water, silicone implants are a silicone shell filled with cohesive gel. Both implants are equally safe, both have the same safety profile.

The Institute of Medicine found that much of the concerns were hoopla — except for the problems that they both have: rupture, scarring, and infection. Most plastic surgeons and patients will tell you silicone just feels better. Implants are replaced when one of the above problems occurs — about 35 percent will have something fixed after 5 years.

While most of his other comments on the blog seem OK to me, it is on silicone gel that we disagree. It is a matter of focus:

What does "Safe" mean?

I do not believe that silicone gel is dangerous per se, but local tissue reactions to silicone gel implants are not the same as with their saline counterparts. I have produced afew short videosto show what happens inside some patients with silicone gel implants over time. We just do not know to what extent this may happen with newer generation silicone gel implants. It has not in my experience happened to the same extent with saline-filled implants. Patients need to make a choice when they choose breast implants. The choice is really deciding on a level of comfort with silicone gel. It is the reason that in my practice many patients still choose saline.

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD
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