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Factors to Consider With Breast Implant Surgery (Breast Augmentation)

January 28, 2014

There are several factors to think about prior to undergoing breast augmentation. These are: the type of implant to be used (saline or silicone), the incision, the plane of the implant (above or below the chest muscle) and of course the size of the implant. A relatively new issue that has arisen is the choice a woman has in Canada to use silicone or saline (salt water) implants. Silicone implants, prior to the 90’s, were the implant most often used. In the early 90’s controversy began to arise about the safety of silicone implants. There were links made between silicone implants and what we call connective tissue disease such as lupus, scleroderma, pain syndromes etc. The situation deteriorated to the point that silicone implants were essentially banned and saline became the only choice. In the last few years, silicone implants have made a big comeback.

The reason that this has been allowed to happen is that the excellent scientific research that was done to investigate the safety of silicone implants has found that there is NO relationship between silicone and connective tissue diseases. This is not to say that women who were complaining of being sick were not really sick, but that there was no cause and effect relationship between their silicone implants and their symptoms. What the studies found in essence was that the incidence of connective tissue disease was the same in groups of women who had and who did not have silicone implants. Unfortunately, it is human nature (and very reasonable) for a young woman who was previously healthy and then went on to develop disease to associate her new medical condition with silicone implants. What we know now is that this same woman was destined to fall into the larger group of women overall who are destined to develop the disease whether or not she had implants.

Having said all of this, I by no means encourage or “push” silicone implants on my patients. I do not work for the company or get paid any royalties. In fact, I would encourage any woman struggling with the idea of putting silicone implants into her body to avoid them and use saline. Cosmetic surgery should be a positive, uplifting experience. A woman who will continuously worry about her silicone implants is still best off going with saline. The other side of the coin is that almost all plastic surgeons would agree that silicone implants are a better product in that they look and feel more like a natural breast. They are a better replica of the human breast and give a better esthetic result. At the end of the day, a woman along with her family must take all of this information into account and choose the implant type that is best for her.


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Robert S Backstein, MD STEELES AVENUE COSMETIC SURGERY
5109 Steeles Avenue West, Unit 13 Toronto, Ontario, M9L 2Y8
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