Breast Implants: What You Need to Know

It is estimated that about 20,000 breast implants are inserted each year in Australia. But did you know that one of the commonest operations now performed by plastic surgeons is the removal of breast implants?  Even the newest high cohesive gel silicone implants can leak within the first few years.  This may be due to faulty manufacture or to damage of the implant during insertion.  Many implants also become hard and painful after time while others are simply too large. The breasts may look too round and cleavage may be non-existent. Some women with implants develop joint and muscle pains and feel generally unwell.

The problems associated with silicone breast implants have resulted in the following significant statements:

• By the Chief Medical Officer: “All silicone gel implants are considered high risk medical devices.”

• By a senior plastic surgeon colleague: “I stopped using silicone breast implants years ago because I was never happy with the biology of the operation.”

• By an experienced plastic surgeon: “I’d be happy if I never saw another silicone implant again!”

• By a female plastic surgeon: “The only material I would ever have put in my breasts is my own fat.”

It is little wonder then that women are deserting silicone gel implants in droves. Many women say that they would never have a silicone implant put into their breasts.  Many women with silicone implants want them removed.

So what then are the alternatives?

The best alternative is to augment your breasts with your own fat. This is a safe and reliable operation but the success of the procedure is dependent on the experience of the surgeon and the attention to detail.  This is because we are transferring a living tissue (your own fat) from one part of the body to another and the fat has to survive and grow in its new location.

The second choice is to use a saline filled implant. These have been in use for over 50 years and have proven their reliability and safety.  When placed under the pectoral muscle, it is usually impossible to tell the difference between a saline filled implant and a silicone gel implant.  The quality of the saline implants means that most of them last for well over 20 years. However the best part is that, in the event of leakage, the saline is harmlessly absorbed by the body.