Surgical Breast Procedures

Breast Implant Risk

For over 15 years, there have been concerns about the safety of silicone breast implants with respect to causing or exacerbating certain autoimmune diseases (scleroderma, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and dermatomyositis) or breast cancer. The doctor will review with you current safety information about saline and silicone gel breast implants with regard to these two major concerns. Currently there is no epidemiological or immunological evidence that associates silicone breast implants to these diseases. He encourages you, however, to visit additional information from the National Cancer InstituteNational Academy Institute of Medicine)Independent Review Group and the European Committee on Quality Assurance.

Because breast implants are foreign body devices, they are not guaranteed for a lifetime. They undergo wear and tear (fatigue of silicone shell) as with any other implant inserted in the body (heart valves, artificial joints). Over time, the thinning shell or envelope around a saline-filled or silicone gel-filled implant may develop a leak site that results in an implant rupture. If a saline implant were to deflate, the salt water is safely and rapidly absorbed by the body. The empty shell may be replaced with another implant without any difficulty. If a silicone implant were to develop a leak site and rupture, the free silicone gel is contained within the surround scar tissue (capsule) and usually does not migrate through its capsule. Even if free gel were to migrate outside the capsule, a new capsule will isolate it within six weeks at its new location. The free gel from a ruptured implant can be easily and safely removed. Silicone gel implants can frequently produce a reaction within its surrounding capsule (silicone granulomas and calcifications) when they have been present for over ten years. Dr. Sasaki will confer with you the merits to remove the surrounding calcified capsule in addition to the free gel at the time of your reparative and replacement surgery.

Since a breast implant represents a foreign body, your body will form a reactive scar capsule-envelope around your saline or silicone gel implant to isolate it from the surrounding tissue. In some patients, the normal capsule may start to squeeze down on the soft implant, causing the implant to feel firmer. The poorly understood phenomenon, called capsular contracture, may occur at any time but usually is observed a year following surgery. The primary methods to reduce this untoward event are to position the implant beneath the pectoralis muscle or to use a textured surface implant. The majority of implants may undergo a slight degree of capsular contracture over time and is left alone. If the degree of contracture causes distortion, pain, and firmness, the implant and capsule may need to be removed and replaced in an alternative pocket with a textured surface implant.

The incidence rate of bleeding and infection is extremely low after a breast augmentation procedure. Migration of an implant or postoperative asymmetry can usually be easily corrected by a secondary procedure.

Recently scientific community of plastic surgeons has noticed an increased risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) in women who have had breast implant either for reconstructive or cosmetic reasons. So far less than 250 cases in the world have been reported. This is a very small number considering approximately 10 million women with breast implants around the world.

Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BI-ALCL) is a rare type of lymphoma that can arise from and is usually limited to around the breast implant and has a much better prognosis than other types of lymphoma that are commonly known to public. Breast implants do not cause cancer or ALCL and the mechanism of this phenomenon is unknown.  When diagnosed early, treatments includes removal of implant and the surrounding scar tissue which is most often curative. 

This is another reason why patients are encouraged to follow up for annual exam by their plastic surgeon as early diagnosis of this very rare entity can make all the difference.  During your consultation, Dr. Sasaki will educate you more about the common presenting symptoms such as late onset swelling or pain in one breast and what the diagnosis and treatment would entail.

Meanwhile, we would like to emphasize that breast implants do not cause cancer and until more scientific data is available, Dr. Sasaki aims to educate patients on ALCL as a very rare inherent risk of having breast implants along with more common ones such as capsular contracture & fluid collection; all of which should compel to follow up after breast augmentation.

Contact Us

Sasaki Advanced Aesthetic Medical Center
800 South Fairmount Avenue Suite 319
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 796-3373 - Office
(626) 796-1678 - Fax 

(626) 796-0530 Sasaki InnoVessence SkinCare Center
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