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Are Breast Implants “Absolutely Safe?”

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In 2007, the dollars spent on breast augmentation surgery in the United States was $1.5 billion. By 2012, the numbers are projected to top 2 billion per year. Statistics from The American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that breast augmentation headed the list of surgical procedures in 2008. For those women who have had mastectomies, implants will be presented as a standard part of the recovery process.

Carol Ciancutti-Leyva, director of the documentary “Absolutely Safe,” is the daughter of a cancer survivor. Her mother’s journey, from a double mastectomy to silicone implants in the early 70s – which resulted in chronic illness, formed the impetus for the film.

The documentary came out in 2007, after a ten-year struggle for funding. It is currently being booked for screenings on college campuses and is being used in classrooms devoted to women’s studies, bioethics, and public policy.

Currently, Ciancutti-Leyva is working to create strategic partnerships to mobilize an “Informed Consent” campaign about the use of breast implant devices. Her model for legislation is a New York State Law (State of New York - Article 24-E, Section 2499w New York State law) that required the state’s Department of Health to publish a booklet that must be received by every woman considering a hysterectomy. It succinctly outlines risks, complications, alternative treatments, and recuperation expectations. Presently, the FDA has a guide on breast implants, but it is not legally mandated that prospective patients receive it. The "FDA Breast Implant Consumer Handbook" was published in 2004. Ciancutti-Leyva told me that the information reads as “a cautionary tale.”

Add a Comment17 Comments

Please see the information at www.thenakedtruthaboutbreastimplants.com including the foreword by Dr. Douglas Shanklin, a prominent silicone researcher, about the problems with breast implants. We actually do know where the silicone goes (animal studies) and much more about how to help women regain their health. If surgeons do not remove the entire capsule (and few know how to do this in every case), treat with antifungals around the time of surgery, address the immune, endocrine, and neurological issues, treat the ADH deficiency that can cause intraoperative bleeding, and treat the chemical, silicone, and biotoxicity (from mold) issues with detoxification, recover is very slow or nonexistant. See the peer reviewed article partially paid for by the FDA on the FDA website that shows that women with ruptured silicone implants are likely to have fibromyalgia (and make sure you go to doctors who understand why this is and how to treat it).

June 13, 2013 - 5:14am
EmpowHER Guest

Anytime you are altering your body there can be risks involved. A good plastic surgeon should explain the pros and cons of any procedure with you before you undergo the knife. You should also be given all possible options. Orange County breast augmentation surgeon Dr. Michael Jazayeri is just one of many doctors who makes sure that all of his female patients understand their options and any risks associated with their surgeries. As with any serious decision in life the most important thing to remember is if the risks outweigh the benefits and which mean more to you.

February 15, 2010 - 2:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

"Even if the stories of these women are 1 in 100 or even 1 in 500 cases"

Well, it's been exhaustively demonstrated that this is not the case in studies including many hundreds of thousands of women. This has been confirmed around the world. There is not and never has been any connection to systemic disease demonstrated in the literature.

July 12, 2009 - 7:24am
EmpowHER Guest

Even if the stories of these women are 1 in 100 or even 1 in 500 cases, I agree with the last poster that we shouldn't play Russian roulette with our bodies. Even if breast implants are "relatively safe," why take the chance on a medical procedure that is absolutely unnecessary? As a 121 lb 22 year old with a C cup, even I feel the pressures of our media to alter my body, and this is completely uncalled for. Nowadays, plastic surgery advertisements have made their way to my local newspapers and radio--and I live in rural Ohio.
In truth, women are never going to be satisfied with their bodies as long as they keep feeding us the lie that we shouldn't be.

July 12, 2009 - 7:19am
EmpowHER Guest

Take it from someone who has been through 16 years of severe illness. I was implanted in 1984 at 24 years of age to fit with what society pounded into me about appearance. In 10 years both implants ruptured and oozed continuously from my breasts. There is not enough time nor do I have the strength at 49 years of age ( how sad is that) to list my health issues. If this is "absolutely safe" well there is no exuse for those who will not listen to those who were not told thr truth when we were told 25 years ago it would take a crushed chest to rupture the implants and after 10 years and no crushed chest, having a surgery that removed not only the pathetic devices called safe but also what little breast I had as well as the entire skeletal muscle in the area soaked in silicone and after 16 years of following Dow Corning deadlines (as they still make millions with scrubbing bubbles and spray and wash) the lying cowards have yet to pay a medical bill. As for absolutely safe, I will NEVER play russian roulette with my health again and I would not trust any of them. I have nothing to gain but protecting someone from the hell I have gone through they have Everything to gain financially. You decide. I would not purchase their products either.

June 19, 2009 - 7:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have seen this film and it is powerful! To say that these implants are "absolutley safe" or even to say that they are "safe" is a farce! Women are suffering - all for the sake of so-called beauty, without considering the "absolute risks" with this procedure. There are so many alternatives rather than mutilating bodies. The FDA should take an OBJECTIVE look without the influence of the companies and doctors making huge profits from implants.

June 18, 2009 - 1:58pm
EmpowHER Guest

When are breasts like cigarettes?

Big Tobacco said for years there was no "proof" that cigarette smoking caused cancer. They influenced scientists and legislation. Now, we all know the truth.

I know that I was sick and old before my time. I had an explantation and 6 months later I felt great. Today I am well.

Eventually, there will be enough women harmed by this mutilation that the truth will override Big Pharma's influence just as it did with Big Tobacco.

Sharon Wilson
in Texas

June 18, 2009 - 10:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

has anybody here had hairloss with breast implants
I have mine taken out in 2004, because I had a mysterious eye infection....when took them out, it went away. Now I have hairloss. I'm almost bald.

Please help
Lisa L

October 3, 2010 - 4:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

Please don't confuse your political agenda with science. Breast implants are the most studied of any device used in medicine. There is no "medical-industrial" conspiracy hiding information from consumers, and the suggestion of it is pure paranoia. At the end of the day, there are hundreds of independent studies which have examined this issue, many of which are ongoing longitudinal populations. There continues to be consistant findings in these women of no immunologic, rheumatologic, and cancer related phenomena.

While you may object to the fact that many women choose breast augmentation for aesthetic appeal, it is 100% wrong to suggest that there is evidence that either saline or silicone implants cause any known illness.

June 18, 2009 - 7:28am
(reply to Anonymous)

You can fool some of the women, some of the time...

July 5, 2009 - 7:10pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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