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Silicone Breast Implants


Silicone GelSilicone GelSilicone breast implants have gone through amazing technological advances since their introduction in the 1970s. The first generation silicone implants were made of thin protective shells with liquid silicone gel inside. These were placed in the area just under the breast tissue (as opposed to under the pectoralis muscle) because patients recovered without much down-time and discomfort, and surgeons found that this approach was technically easier. As silicone implants aged with time, the shells began to breakdown, releasing liquid silicone gel into the surrounding tissues. This caused visible and palpable distortions around the breast tissue. In the 1980s, the FDA banned the use of silicone breast implants because of fears that the devices caused autoimmune diseases like lupus and scleroderma. However, large scale scientific studies failed to prove a definitive link between silicone implants and such diseases. After extensive and careful evaluation of silicone implants, the FDA made the decision to release the latest generation silicone implants for public use.

The silicone breast implants which are available to women today are very different from the ones that were used in the 1970s and the 1980s. They are made of thick, strong and durable shells and are filled with “cohesive and form-stable” silicone gel material. This means that for the first time in silicone implant history, the implants are now semi-solid in texture. These implants are also known as “cohesive gel”, “memory gel”, or “gummy bear” texture implants.

One of the most common reasons why people steered away from silicone breast implants in the past is that these implants could lead to hardening of the breasts over time. This phenomenon is known as capsular contracture. In all women who undergo breast augmentation with saline or silicone implants, the body forms a pocket around the implant called a capsule. This is a normal response by the body to the implants. Over time, however, some capsules begin to harden and become thickened, causing the implants to look and feel distorted. In the past, silicone implants from previous generations were known to have capsular contracture of 13% at 4 years. (13 women out of 100). With the latest implants, this number has gone down to little over 1% at 3 years. Placement of silicone implants under the muscle also has a protective effect when it comes to capsular contracture.

Orange County plastic surgeon Dr. Lee will discuss with you further about information regarding silicone breast implants at your complementary consultation. Call (949) 548-9312 to schedule your appointment today.