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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How safe are breast implants?

    I have heard bad press about breast implants over the last 5 years, how safe is it to get breast implants?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Mr Stephen Salerno

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery Hand Surgery Skin cancer and melanoma surgery Breast Surgery View Profile

    Breast implants are reasonably safe.  There has been some bad publicity around breast implants in the past, particularly recently with the PIP implants and the use of non medical grade silicon.  This fortunately has only been one company in the world, and the product has been remvoed from the market.  Also in the 90's there was the controversy of autoimmune disorders surrounding implants.  This includes diseases such as rehumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus and many more.  Large meta-analyses have since shown that ths is not the case.  in the more recent past there has been an association found with silicon breast implants and a rare type of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.  The risk of this considering the large number of breast implants that are inserted around the world is very small, however it still needs to be kept in mind when considering breast implants.

    Obviously as with any other surgery one needs to consider the possible risks of the surgery itself.  With breast implant surgery i normally perform this under a general anesethic with an anaesthetist in an accredited hospital facility.  There is the risk of scars, infection, bleeding and extrusion or loss of the implant if infection is severe enough.  This is a complete disaster and occurs in a small number of cases.  There can be other issues such as asymmetry, movement of the implants and changes to the nipple.  The sensation to the nipple and skin around the implants can lose the sensation.  There is also the risk of capsular contraction which occurs in all implants with time and can be painful and lead to deformation of the breast and chest wall.  It is the body's normal response to having foreign material in the body (the implant).  This can occur at any time and is unpredictable and there is alot of research around this ara of breast implants.  I also tell all my patients that the commitment to this type of surgey is a life long one as the life of modern day implants is about 10-15 years.  They can last longer than this in some cases.  At this time they will require replacement to preserve the natural look and feel of the breast.

    So concluding, it is overall a rasonably safe procedure with some quite specific complications that are no all that common.

    Regards

    Stephen Salerno

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