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Breast Augmentation Articles 3

Silicone Implants and Implant Controversies

All silicone gel implants are cross-linked to maintain a gel consistency. As the cross-linking is increased, the consistency or firmness increases. These implants are designed in various anatomic dimensions in addition to round shapes and are collectively referred to as cohesive silicone gel implants.

The most commonly placed silicone implants are smooth round implants placed under the pectoralis muscle. More highly cohesive implants have been developed and are being utilized in a smaller percentage of cases.

In the late 1990s, widespread concern developed from anecdotal reports by women and doctors treating those women that silicone implants were causing systemic diseases. A moratorium was placed upon silicone implants. Since that time, approximately 20 epidemiologic studies and other important scientific investigations found no increased risk for development of connective tissue disorders in women with breast implants. Whereas increased levels of silicone were found within the surrounding tissue capsule and axillary lymph nodes, no correlation with symptoms or any disease could be established. Likewise, no specific antibodies to silicone could be found. There has never been any evidence to support those anecdotal reports popularized by the media.

As such silicone gel implants have returned to the market in the US and are available to women older than the age of 22. Saline implants are also available to women of any age. However, most plastic surgeons will not perform the breast augmentation surgery on women until the age of 18.