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Question
Posted by: Van | 2004/01/26

Silicone Leakage Query

Recently been for tests for breast cancer - I have a 5cm lump in my right breast. Tests have come back negative, but surgeon still not happy. Wants to remove lump for further testing. My breast enlargements was done about 20 years ago. Surgeon seems to think that lump is caused by silicone leakage, in which case the implant would have to removed and replaced. 1) What are the health risks of silicone leakage? - I'm asking because my medical aid does not cover plastic surgery, in which case I have a huge problem paying for this operation. 2) Can the implant be removed and replaced in same operation? 3) If it is silicone leakage and I don't have the operation, what are the consequences?

Thank you for your time.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Van,

To date there is no medical evidence that silicone leakage is dangerous to your health. The main reason for this being that your body creates a natural capsule around the implant, thereby preventing any silicone from leaking elsewhere, but in that cavity. In my opinion, you should have a procedure done to determine whether it could be breast cancer - and therefore the medical aid should pay for this procedure, but certainly you will have a problem of what to do if the test is negative, and your implant does indeed have to be replaced, as a second procedure will have to be done, which will most certainly not be covered by your medical aid. The implant can be removed and replaced in the same operation. It is impossible to say what the consequences would be without an operation, other than the fact that you will have future deterioration of the implant. It would be prudent to have the implant replaced, if a leakage has in fact taken place.

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