Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2015 Contents A29
March 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Can my breast implants leak?
recent scandal coming out of PIP (France) implants
where industrial grade silicone was used within the
implant, thereby exposing the patient to potential
risk of having industrial grade silicone in their body
if there is a leak.
Industrial grade silicone is pretty much the stuff
that is used in cars, motor oils, and sealing glass
windows. That s scary stuff no doubt, however it
should be appreciated that high quality medical
silicone is very different from this.
It is difficult to understand why the manufacturers
in France chose to break all the regulatory guidelines
and seek to use a much cheaper grade.
There has been a worldwide recall of these types
of implants and not surprisingly, many Latin Amer-
ican countries such as Venezuela, have found them-
selves in a difficult position where almost all plastic
surgeons have exclusively used PIP implants due
to its low cost.
These surgeons now
face the embarrassing
fact of telling the
patients that they had
to return for further
surgery to have it
replaced with a better
There are very
robust and safe
implants and these
usually carry the CE
mark (Europe) or the
FDA (US) approvals.
These are safe within
the body and have
been shown to be
without side effects
even if there is a leak.
However, it does bring us to the very question
that we are trying to explore in this article which
is what happens if there is a leak or ruptured
implant? In general, two things tend to happen,
one is that the leak is contained by a capsule that
forms around the body and there is no general
seepage of the liquid silicone into the body.
That liquid silicone can seep into the body but
often will cause no harm. It may affect your lymph
nodes, which are glands under the arm, and cause
them to be large and that is often detected when
you see your doctor; they are often palpable like
little lumps or they show up on ultrasound with
a snow storm appearance.
Free flowing silicone in the body does not cause
cancer. It is uncomfortable and can incite reactions
that can disfigure the breast so it is usually rec-
ommended to replace these implants.
High quality implants carry very low rate of leak.
I recommend to all my patients whom I perform
cosmetic or reconstructive implant-based surgery
on that we check it annually, or often I may scan
them within the first three years.
Thereafter it is often safe to not do any active
surveillance. Most modern implants do not require
a shelf life and therefore do not require routine
exchange after ten to 15 years and can last a lifetime.
However, I would advise that you routinely check
with your plastic or breast surgeon when you have
had these devices inserted.
An important point of note is that implants do
not raise your risk of developing breast cancer nor
does it hide breast cancer if it was to develop.
When you are under surveillance of a skilled
practitioner one is able to do a thorough breast
examination and also mammography and ultrasound
without any hindrance from these devices.
The Breast and Oncoplastic Clinic
5 Adam Smith Square
624-2002 or e-mail www.thebreastcentrett.com
very low rate of
leak. I recommend
to all my patients
whom I perform
surgery on that
we check it
annually, or often
I may scan them
within the first
DR RAJENDRA S RAMPAUL
Breast implants are becoming very popular in the
cosmetic world and have been around for over 20 years.
It is well known that a lot of women in Latin America
and in North America seek to have cosmetic implants.
Implants are also an instrumental part of breast recon-
struction following breast cancer surgery and allows a
woman to retain her breast form after operations like mas-
tectomy (removal of the entire breast).
Cosmetic and reconstructive implants are usually the same
and are made of a silicone shell with liquid silicone inside (the
use of saline is on the decline). Many readers will be aware of the
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