08 December 2008

The lowdown on breast implants

Enhanced breasts do not guarantee happiness and have in fact been linked with distress and autoimmune diseases in the past. Are plastic silicone implants safe or not?

Having voluptuous breasts with the help of a plastic surgeon does not guarantee happiness. In fact, it might cause distress, especially if you keep in mind that the practice has been linked to autoimmune diseases in the past. Are plastic silicone implants safe or not?

While the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are considering lifting the ban on silicone implants, which was set in place in 1992 in the US, several research studies point to its dangers.

Although a recent Danish study bolstered claims of the safety of silicone implants and demonstrated a low incidence of serious complications in approximately 1 500 female participants, other studies have indicated the exact opposite.

Ban set in place due to autoimmune disease link
The FDA ban was set in place after studies tied the incidence of autoimmune diseases, like fibromyalgia, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, to silicone gel implants. Women with leaking implants seemed to be especially susceptible to fibromyalgia, a 2001 FDA study found. Saline implants seemed to be safer.

Two more studies, conducted by the American National Cancer Institute in 2001, found a tripling in lung cancer and a doubling in brain cancer in women who had breast implants.

Sixteen percent of the women who took part in the Danish study experienced some adverse effect after implantation, of which 4% experienced hardening of the breast from scarring and 1% required additional surgery.

Even though more than 20 epidemiological studies indicated that there are no significant link between silicone implants and disease, other experts believe that these studies were flawed. Generally, the follow-up periods were too short

Breast implants tied to suicide
It was recently also found that Swedish women with breast implants turned out to be three times more likely to commit suicide than women without them.

The authors of this study delved into the medical records of 3 521 Swedish women between the ages of 15 and 69 who had received breast implants between 1965 and 1993. They compared the number of actual deaths in this group of women with the number of deaths that would be expected in a similarly sized portion of the general population. The women were followed for just over 11 years.

While 58,7 deaths were expected, 85 women in the implant group died - 26 more than expected. The extra deaths were primarily in the categories of suicide - 15 women killed themselves, which was 10 more than had been expected - and cancer, particularly lung cancer due to smoking.

The authors suggest the extra deaths might be attributable to underlying psychiatric problems, something that plastic surgeons are generally on guard for. – (Health24)

Read more:
Breast Centre
SA 'nip & tuck' haven


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