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Study Shows Breast Cancer Surgery Patients Prefer Silicone Implants

Study Shows Breast Cancer Surgery Patients Prefer Silicone Implants

updated

Women who choose silicone implants for reconstruction after breast cancer surgery are more satisfied with their cosmetic results than those who opt for saline implants, according to a new study. Its author says the study may help surgeons advise future reconstructive surgery candidates.

Dr. Colleen McCarthy, a reconstructive surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said she and her colleagues undertook the study because of a lack of research into patient satisfaction. She said surgeons generally prefer the cosmetic results with silicone implants, but could not previously tell their patients what other patients preferred.

The study of 472 reconstructive surgery patients, published in the online journal Cancer, found that those who received silicone implants were happier with the look and feel of the results than those who received saline implants.

McCarthy said some women choose saline implants, even if they expect a less satisfying cosmetic result, because of the health concerns associated with silicone implants. Surgeons recommend an MRI every three years for patients with silicone implants, because of the chance that a rupture might cause silicone to leak into surrounding tissue, leading to infection. Because saline occurs naturally in human tissue, a leak from a saline implant is not a health risk.

Silicone implants were banned for 14 years over fears that leaks could lead to cancer or rheumatoid arthritis. They were reinstated for use in breast augmentation and reconstruction patients in 2006, when health officials determined the only risk was local infection and that newer materials available for the implant shell made ruptures less likely.

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