Do health reasons exist for removing breast implants?
In certain cases, doctors may recommend that women have their breast implants removed because of health issues, such as:
- Capsular contracture (a condition in which the scar tissue capsule that forms around the implant hardens and contracts, squeezing and distorting the implant)
- Infection or bleeding: If bacteria is seeded on the implant and infection develops, the implant will need to be removed.
- Calcium build-up: Calcium deposits can form in the scar tissue around the implant, causing firmness and pain.
- Breast cancer
- Dead tissue around the implant (necrosis): According to the FDA, necrosis around the breast can result from several causes, including infection, use of steroids in the surgical breast pocket, chemotherapy and or radiation, excessive heat or cold, and smoking.
Do women with breast implants have a higher risk of cancer?
The FDA is collecting data on a possible link between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). This is a rare type of cancer involving cells of the immune system. The incidence of ALCL in the breast is only three cases in 100 million women.
Women with breast implants may have a very small increased risk of developing this rare disease. Findings are not conclusive as to whether textured implants pose a slightly greater risk than smooth implants.
What happens when implants leak?
Breast implants are not lifelong devices, and they may rupture or leak. When a saline implant ruptures, it will quickly become deflated, making the rupture obvious. The saline solution that leaks out can be easily absorbed by the body.
However, a leak in a silicone implant is not so easy to detect, and silicone leakage can cause irritation and inflammation in the surrounding tissue. When this occurs, the surgeon performing implant removal will need to remove silicone material during the procedure. As this thick, sticky, silicone gel may be difficult to remove, some breast tissue may need to be removed along with it.