The most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedure is Breast augmentation, with 290,467 performed in 2016. Silicone breast implants accounted for 84% of those procedures and 16% were saline breast implants.
The FDA approved silicone breast implants in 2005. The approval was based on only 2-3 years of research. FDA scientists didn’t feel the manufacturers provided enough scientific evidence to prove the implants were safe but the implant manufacturers refused to conduct long-term studies.
Silicone breast implants are associated with various health problems. Within two years of having breast implants inserted, women reported experiencing signs and symptoms of connective tissue disease such as increased muscle weakness, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. Twenty percent of patients with breast augmentations required additional surgeries after only three years due to complications. The complications included infection, loss of breast sensation, hematoma, and development of scar tissue that sometimes resulted in misshapen breasts or pain.
There also may be unknown health problems associated with breast implants. Women with implants have reported various autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers have suggested that the toxins in silicone gel might trigger the development of autoimmune diseases in women with predispositions. Short-term studies concluded that implants do not cause autoimmune diseases, however, there is a need for long-term studies that include a larger, more diverse population of women because autoimmune diseases can take years to develop.
The National Women’s Health Network believes there is not enough evidence on the safety for long-term use of silicone breast implants. If you don’t feel your primary healthcare provider is providing you with the care you need, seek a second opinion. You can report problems that you’re experiencing with your breast implants to the FDA.
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