A new study has found that there is still insufficient evidence regarding the long-term health effects of silicone breast implants. This analysis is an important one in the decades-long debate over the long-term safety of silicone breast implants.
Silicone breast implants have been used since the 1960s. In 1992, the US Food and Drug Administration banned their use in the US. The reason was that the FDA was suspicious of the safety of these implants in the event that the implants ruptured. The FDA was worried that the presence of the silicone in the body could lead to health problems, such as breast cancer and connective tissue disease, and the agency wanted further research to be conducted.
By 2006, the FDA had approved the use of silicone implants once more. Between 1992 and 2006, no studies could show a definitive link between silicone breast implants and adverse health effects; however, due to lingering concerns, silicone implant manufacturers were tasked with conducting long-term follow-up studies.
Review of 32 silicone studies. Dr. Ethan Balk, the lead researcher for the new study, says after 10 years of having silicone implants back on the US market, evidence remains inconclusive.
Dr. Balk and his researchers reviewed the findings of 32 different studies of silicone implants, dating back as far as the 1990s. Their conclusion? There was no clear evidence showing silicone breast implants increase the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, connective tissue disease or other health problems.
There were a few studies that linked these implants with diseases related to immune system functioning, such as arthritis. Balk said there was inconsistency in these findings. The other major issue were serious flaws within many of the studies.
Finding of flawed studies. Dr. Balk and his team found that many of the studies failed to account for factors other than breast implants that could have led to the health conditions – smoking, alcohol consumption, birth control pills and other things all could have contributed to an increased risk for certain health problems.
Accounting for differences among women. Dr. Balk told WebMD that there are differences between women who choose breast augmentation and women who do not. Women who choose breast implants tend to be associated with the following compared to women without:
- More likely to use birth control pills
- More likely to consume alcohol
- Higher rates of smoking
Dr. Balk says the flaws of the studies conducted so far are that they do not explore whether these characteristics were what caused health conditions, and not the silicone breast implants.
Overall safety conclusion. In the end, Dr. Balk concluded that studies over the years have not conclusively associated silicone breast implants with a heightened risk of disease. He also said that because of flaws in the study and the fact that they have not been conducted for very long, it is important for research to continue into the safety of these implants.
The board-certified plastic surgeons at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery want to make sure you get a full picture of all of your breast implant options, as well as the safety and effectiveness associated with each. We want you to feel confident about your choices after discussing silicone implant safety and saline breast implants with our surgeons.
To schedule a complimentary cosmetic consultation, please call Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery at (720) 457-4471. We are located in Lone Tree, Colorado, and serve all of Denver and cities across the state.