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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How safe are polyurethane breast implants?

    Does the benefit of lower cc rates and lower rotation rates outweigh the risk of cancer with polyurethane breast implants? Have they been around long enough to determine the risk of cancer?
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  • 1


    Dr Ross Farhadieh

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Mr Farhadieh, is a former recipient of the prestigious Surgeon Scientist Scholarship and an internationally renowned and recognised Australian trained plastic surgeon. Most recently he … View Profile

    That is interesting question the answet to which is based on current evidence yes. In the 1980s polyurethane implants were all the rage. The reason being is that study after study atested to their reduced rates of capualr contractures. In fact textured implants were designed based on the surface appearnce of polyurethane implants. Then came a set of animal studeis (rodents) showing that at extremely high concentrations and exposure possible soft tissue sarcomas (a form of cancer) may be related to polyuerthane. They were promptly withdrawn from the market and almost forgotten until more recent studies supported their safety. 

    More recent animal studies have indicated that capsule formation and eventual contracture is still on the cards but that the gradual delamination of the polyurethane shell is the most likley reason for delayed capsular contractures. 

    The more modern clinical evidence is limited but promising, their indications at the present time is in redo augmenation with or without previous capsular contracture as well as reconstructions in the setting of radiation therapy. 

    We referred to this in more detail in a recent book chapter in a comprehenisve international plastic surgery textbook :

    Farhadieh RD, Farahdi J, Breast augmentation, Plastic Surgery Fundamentals: Approach and Technique: 486-498, Wiley and Blackwell, London, United Kingdom, 2015

    Hope this has helped. 

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