The Dangers of Silicone Breast Implants

Think twice about going under the knife! A recent report by the US Food and Drug Administration warned women with silicone breast implants that they most likely will not last forever, and may need to be removed or replaced within a decade of implantation. The study reported that about 20 percent of women with silicone implants for breast augmentation will develop problems that require removal. In addition, about half of breast cancer patients who had implants for reconstruction will develop problems requiring removal. Problems that can develop include hardening, rupturing, asymmetry, wrinkling, scarring, pain and infections, any of which can require additional surgery to fix. Research has shown similar risk associated with the alternative saline implants, which about half of implant patients choose over silicone.

Most breasts with silicone gel implants will become harder over time, a condition known as capsular contracture. Just as the tissue around a splinter gets harder, the body’s natural response to foreign objects is to encapsulate it until it is removed. If left untreated, capsular contracture in the breast can result in pain and disfigurement.

The most serious risk of silicone implants is the risk of rupturing. Edward Melmed, a surgeon who has performed thousands of silicone implant procedures, commented on the risks in a recent LA Times article. “In the last 14 years, I have removed implants from almost 1,000 women. I have found roughly 50% of their implants have ruptured within 10 years, and more than 70% have ruptured within 15 years. We are still not sure of all the places where the micro-droplets of silicone end up, though I have found it in lymph nodes.”

Another danger to implant patients is an increase in risk of developing an extremely rare type of lymphoma in the breast, called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. The cancer normally occurs in only 3 in 100 million women, but the FDA has identified 60 cases in 10 million implant patients. Although the overall risk of developing the cancer is incredibly small, the dramatic increase in incidence among implant patients raises some major red flags.

With a growing body of information about the dangers of silicone implants, women need to strongly consider if the aesthetic benefits are really worth the risk. Recently, a new (and much less expensive) option has emerged for women seeking breast augmentation who don’t want to go under the knife, or deal with all the long term risks associated with silicone or saline implants. Natural Breast Augmentation involves harvesting the body’s own fat cells, which are then injected into the breast to increase volume. Because the procedure uses the body’s own material, there is no risk of capsular contracture that occurs with foreign implants. This procedure can be enhanced with use of the body’s own stem cells. Stem cells help to grow new blood vessels to nourish the fat, release natural anti-inflammatory agents to aid healing, and generate growth factors to tighten and rejuvenate breast skin. Natural Breast Augmentation is gaining attention as an effective way to increase breast size up to two cups, while minimizing risk, discomfort and downtime. Click here if you would like to learn more information about Natural Breast Augmentation.


With over 25 years of experience in the medical field, Dr. Berger has geared his practice towards the soothing and therapeutic side of cosmetic medicine. By specializing in anti-aging treatment along with cosmetic enhancement, his goal is to help each patient live a long, healthy, and beautiful life. Call us, or complete the form on this page.


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