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Regulation of Breast Implants

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Health authorities in France and Canada have imposed bans on certain types of breast implants that are associated with an elevated risk of a rare form of cancer.

This ban relates to macro textured Natrelle implants produced by Allergan, COGEL implants by Nagor and polyurethane implants manufactured by Silimed.

These bans were put in place after media reports that thousands of women around the world had suffered significant health problems after receiving breast implants.  Among those health problems was an immune system cancer known as Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.  This disease has been confirmed in 688 patients world wide as of March 2019.

Indeed in Australia and NZ we have had approximately 70 patients with this condion.  Although the condition can be treated by a capsulectomy, some patients will require additonal radio therapy and chemotherapy.  Unfortunately 3 patients have died from this condition.

In addition to this form of cancer, many women with silicone gel filled implants report generalised ill health which has become known as Breast Implant Associated Illness.  It is believed that this condition is due to a suppression of the patient’s immune system by silicone which has leaked from the implants.

It is important to note that smooth-walled implants are not associated with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma and saline filled implants are not associated with Breast Implant Illness.

So if a woman requires a breast implant the choice is clear.  For maximum safety they should have a smooth-walled saline implant.  When this implant is placed behind the pectoral muscle, for many women, the result is indistinguishable from the result achieved when a silicone filled or a textured surfaced implant is used.

Because of the heavy marketing of textured silicone gel implants in recent years there are many surgeons in Australasia who have no experience in the use of smooth-walled saline implants.  It is therefore understandable that these surgeons will recommend an implant with which they have had experience i.e. a silicone gel implant.

It is only when women demand maximum safety from their breast implants that surgeons will again revert to the use of the safest implant i.e. a smooth-walled saline filled implant, placed behind the pectoral muscles.

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