Breast Implants are NOT lifetime devices. FDA reports indicates as many as 20 percent of women who receive breast implants for augmentation have breast implant removal within 8 to 10 years. The FDA recommend MRI screening for silent rupture 3 years after implant surgery and every 2 years after that. According to the FDA report to the American Congress 1992 the life expectancy of the elastomer implant shell is 5 to 7 years.
Ongoing Maintenance Costs. Women should be aware there will be additional costs for ongoing maintenance. Breast implant removal is generally more expensive than implant surgery due to the complications involved in the explant procedure. Prior to deciding on breast implants women are advised to do their own research, including into the affordability of potential ongoing maintenance costs. The FDA website states, ‘You should assume that you will need to have additional surgeries (reoperations).’
Gel Bleed. The FDA report to the American Congress 1992 confirms silicone gel bleeds through the silicone elastomer shell and is equivalent to silicone injections over a period. Silicone injections were made illegal because the injections resulted in deaths.
Breastfeeding and Pregnancy. In the sixties and seventies, breast feeding was not deemed desirable for implant users due to the high impurity levels associated with implants which were known to impact adversely on lactation. Event reports sent to the FDA’s MAUDE database (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) suggest nearly half of these reports (46%) described actual problems with breastfeeding or expressed concern that implants would be unsafe or interfere with breastfeeding. Few long-term studies have been done to determine the risk to a child’s health during the periods of gestation, or when breastfed by a mother with breast implants. A report by the Institute of Internal Medicine and International Specialty, University of Catania states ‘Breast-feeding by women with silicone implants should NOT be recommended for possible autoimmune disorders in the children.’
Increased risk of auto immune system cancer. The FDA has confirmed in a recent report that individuals with breast implants have a higher risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL. BIA-ALCL is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer of the immune system. An announcement sent out by the FDA to healthcare providers dated 6th February 2019, confirms all breast implants can cause immune system cancer.
Breast Implants and Mammograms. Women with breast implants should be aware of the potential issue when having mammography. Adverse pressure on the breast implant during a mammogram can increase the risk of implant rupture. Women who already have breast implants should always inform the mammography centre that they have breast implants when they make an appointment and always remind the mammography technician that they have breast implants when they go for their exam. Alternatives to mammogram for patients with breast implants include high-resolution ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Textured vs. Smooth Surface? Textured implants became popular in the 1990s and patients choose them because their surfaces adhere to the tissue allowing them to stay in place in the breast pocket. The textured surface is now believed to have negative connotations as they are difficult to remove during explant surgery. In addition, the textured surface can trap bacteria, provoking inflammation and can flake off and migrate into the lymphatic system. The FDA confirms that individuals with breast implants have a risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL a cancer of the immune system. The risk of BIA-ALCL, until recently, was thought to be higher in women who have textured implants. The FDA confirmed 6th February 2019, that all breast implants can cause anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL.
Other things you should know
Silicone vs. Saline? Both types of breast implant, silicone and saline, have associated health risks; silicone implant issues are largely related to immune system issues, whereas saline is bacterial. Silicone gel implants are difficult to remove from the chest once the outer shell has ruptured and gel migrated to other parts of the body. Smooth saline implants are considered the ‘safer’ of the two options, when considering the treatment process for women after breast implant rupture.
Silicon is NOT the same as Silicone with an ‘e’. Silicon is the naturally occurring non-metallic chemical element which makes up 27.7 percent of the Earth’s crust and is present in sand and glass. By contract, Silicone with an ‘e’, is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen and other elements. Silicone is generally a liquid or a flexible, rubber-like plastic, commonly used in electrical insulation, as a waterproof sealant in bathrooms, and to make implantable devices such as breast implants.
Implants Can Be Rejected by the Body. An estimated 8% of women have a rare HLA-B27 gene which causes them to reject any form of an implanted device including both silicone and saline breast implants. Women with the HLA gene will become extremely sick with auto-immune disorders after breast implant augmentation. Prior to deciding on breast implant surgery, botox or any implanted device women should have a HLA blood test through their Medical Practitioner to determine if they are HLA-B27 positive, and will, therefore, reject the implants.
Explant Surgery. Women are strongly advised to use an experienced explant surgeon, one who has performed a significant number of explant procedures. In all cases ‘en bloc’ surgery should be performed. This procedure is also known as complete capsulectomy and involves the removal of the entire breast implant as well as the surrounding tissue or capsule as one piece. Surgeons including Dr Lu Jean Feng confirm women rarely recover their health if the surrounding tissue capsule is not removed together with the emplanted prosthesic.
Be informed. Be empowered. Take responsibility for your health!
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Michelle supports women to reclaim their health after breast implants. If you think your health issues may be due to breast implants or if you are ready to heal from breast implant illness and breast implant related toxicity, contact Michelle and she can guide you towards finding the support you need.
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