Silicone Injection and Health Risks

There have been several reports of patients who have undergone silicone injections to enhance various areas of their bodies. One recent story describes how large volumes of silicone have been injected illegally into faces, lips, cheekbones, chins, breasts and buttocks in order to achieve fullness in these areas. However, the silicone used in these instances – administered by non-physicians in places such as hotel rooms – is not the medical grade, sterile material available only to physicians for medical purposes, such as in ophthalmology. Often it is merely a commercially available silicone from a hardware store, is not sterile and is fraught with complications. Injecting a foreign material into the body can cause a host of inflammatory and allergic reactions, and non-sterile technique may lead to serious infections. In addition, silicone can migrate inside the body to the lungs and brain, and resulting in “silicone embolism syndrome”, which may be fatal. Some individuals have died from this complication, others have been hospitalized with serious health issues. Choosing to undergo a procedure based solely on reduced cost is fraught with hazards, and it is imperative to research the credentials of the persons performing the treatments prior to proceeding.

Saline and silicone gel filled breast implants, by contrast, are strictly regulated in their production, surgical implantation, and post-operative outcome. In 2006, the FDA allowed reintroduction of silicone breast implants after the 1992 moratorium, under very distinct conditions for use. The silicone material used in the shells of both saline and silicone filled implants is a solid silicone polymer, and is structurally different from liquid injectable silicone. In addition, the silicone used to fill breast implants is made according to strict medical standards. Augmentation of lips, cheekbones, chins and buttocks may be accomplished with a patient’s own fat, injectables such as Juvederm or Restylane, and solid silicone implants.

When choosing a plastic surgeon to perform any cosmetic surgery procedure, it is extremely important to verify their professional credentials. Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are indications of the surgeon’s qualification.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hutchinson, please contact us or call us at (212) 452-1400.

Posted in: Silicone

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