Who’s Afraid of Silicone Breast Implants?

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When breast implants made their debut decades ago, silicone implants were the only option for women who wanted breast augmentation. Back then, the most popular and widely used (in the USA) were Dow Corning’s silicone breast implants, which were later banned after class-action lawsuits claimed the implants caused systemic health issues.

Issues with implants did not stop women from wanting them, and manufacturers of saline implants, like Allergan and Mentor were able to produce saline-filled implants that passed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for safety and sustainability, and for nearly 20 years, they dominated the implant market.

Silicone Making A Comeback With Sientra Gummy-Bear Implants

Silicone Making A Comeback With Sientra Gummy-Bear Implants

More recently, in Europe, silicone-based gel implants manufactured by the French company, Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) were recalled and banned due defects which caused the implants to rupture.

Regardless of silicone set-backs, they are making a come-back in the cosmetic and plastic surgery industry. Six years ago, the FDA lifted its ban on silicone implants when technological and material-based advances in silicone implant devices improved.

In March 2012, the FDA approved the latest generation of silicone implants manufactured by Sientra Inc called “gummy-bear” implants. They acquired this name in the surgical community because they have the consistency and feel of a gummy bear, even when sliced in half, the content is not liquid inside the shell, but semi-solid and spongy, so leakage is not an issue. Surgeons like Dr. Joel Beck of Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery like the benefits of the Sientra gummy bear implants.

  • More natural-looking breast enhancement
  • Additional shape choices for more customized results
  • Added safety and peace of mind due to the leak-resistant nature of Sientra silicone gel

Because silicone implants actually feel and move more like normal breast tissue, they are preferred by many patients. They do not ripple and the texture is more natural feeling than saline implants.

In February, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons released their 2012 statistics which indicated that 330,631 breast-augmentation procedures were performed in the U.S. by their 2,600 member plastic surgeons. Of those patients, 72% elected to have silicone implants, while 28% chose the sterilized salt water filled saline implants.

Sherry Azzarella

Sherry Azzarella is a well-known marketing and communications specialist. Her core competencies include: brand, content and campaign development/management; building key relationships and alliances; traditional, online, strategic and mass marketing; event management, community outreach, publishing, fund raising and increasing revenue streams via cooperative campaigns (from grass roots to mainstream). Google Profile


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