Breast augmentation was the most popular surgical cosmetic procedure in the United States in 2018, with a total of 313,735 procedures performed, according to the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). The number has been increasing by 4% year over year. As more and more women are opting for it and the media is increasing its scrutiny on the procedure, a variety of myths surrounding “silicone implant illness” are floating around on the internet as well.
Silicone implant illness is a loose term being used by people on social media platforms and elsewhere to describe symptoms that allegedly stem from ruptured silicone gel implants or an allergy to the product.
The truth, however, is this: Silicone implant illness has not been scientifically proven to even exist!
In this article, we going to challenge 7 of these myths with science so that women who are considering breast augmentation with silicone implants can do so on the basis of hard facts and not fear-mongering and fiction.
Myth # 1: Silicone Implants Can Leak
Modern silicone implants are constructed of a thick and cohesive gel that bonds together. In the unlikely event of a rupture, the silicone is inert which means it is a substance to which the body generally does not respond or reject or metabolize. The gel just sits there doing nothing.
Myth # 2: Silicone Implants are More Likely to Rupture Than Saline Implants
The casings of silicone and saline implants are usually made of the same material, so one is not more likely to rupture than the other.
Myth # 3: Breastfeeding is not okay with Silicone Implants
There is a higher level of silicon (from which silicone is derived) present in cow’s milk and infant formulas than in the milk of women who have silicone implants. Moreover, there is no evidence of increased levels of silicone in breast milk because of implants anyway, so this fear is unfounded.
Myth # 4: Silicone Implants Impact The Development of the Fetus
New mothers with silicone implants often hear horror stories of their fetus being harmed. But studies have found no evidence of silicone passing through the placenta and increasing chances of disease or birth defects in fetuses.
Myth # 5: Silicone Implants Interfere With Radiation Therapy
No true. Implants show strong stability in the presence of radiation doses and does not interfere with radiation beams in any way.
Myth # 6: Silicone Implants Can Cause Cancer
This concern was initially raised in 1995, when three women with breast implants were diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. A battery of long-term studies has been conducted since, and to date, no finding has been able to prove a credible connection between silicone implants and malignancy.
In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer published a report in 1999, stating evidence that supported a lack of breast carcinogenicity in women with silicone breast implants and this was subsequently backed up by the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants. There is, however, an association between certain texturing processes of implants and a different type of lymphoma, but this is not specific for the silicone itself since untextured implants don’t have the same association with the lymphoma.
Myth # 7: Silicone Implants Increase Risks Of Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases, like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma etc., cause the immune system to produce antibodies that attacks the body’s own tissues. In early 1990, anecdotal reports of connective tissue disorders in women with breast implants were first published. The claims were later disproved by various long-term studies such as the Nurses’Health Study which involved 87,505 women with silicone implants. No elevated risk and no indication of an association of implants with autoimmune diseases was found.