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The U.S Government lifted a 14 year ban on silicone gel breast implants today despite lingering safety concerns. While the Food and Drug Administration lifted the ban for women 22 years and older and women undergoing breast reconstruction surgery, the FDA did warn that silicone breast implants don’t last a lifetime, requiring additional surgery to replace them at some point. The FDA also warned that silicone breast implants are not without risks and that they can break, leaking into the patient’s tissue without warning or immediate symptoms.
To be sure implants aren’t leaking, women who choose silicone implants must undergo regular MRI examinations to identify these “silent ruptures” before the silicone oozing into their systems causes complications. A study report by the Insitute of Medicine in 2000 found rupture rates as high as 77%.
Many women found to have silicone implan ruptures have reported years of pain, numbness, swelling, and a myriad of other symptoms. Silicone gel in leaking implants has also been found to migrate throughout the body, forming lumps. Such implants can also cause infections and the development of hard and painful scar tissue that can distort the shape of the breast.
Women who desire or are in need of breast implants should seriously consider and weigh these grave risks before selecting silicone implants. There are alternative breast implants that have proven to be of no risk. Despite the FDA’s decision to lift the ban and studies failing to find direct links to many disorders once thought to result from ruptured silicone gel implants, safety concerns linger and patients should remain skeptical and cautious of silicone gel implants.