With approximately 400,000 women in the U.S. receiving silicone breast implants every year, anything concerning the health of them is a hot topic—and now, thanks to a new brand-led study, anyone considering the surgery (or anyone who already has silicone implants) has some new information available as a resource.
As published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, a team led by MIT researchers (including Dr. Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and co-founder of Moderna) shared their findings and, while preliminary in nature, they say the study provides “groundbreaking results for the future of implant design and its contribution to preventing unwanted and potentially dangerous immune and inflammatory responses within the body.”
According to a release, the purpose of the study, officially titled “Surface Topography Mediates Foreign Body Response of Silicone Breast Implants in Mice, Rabbits, and Humans,” was to determine the optimal breast implant surface topography that induces the least amount of adverse foreign-body response and understand better how breast implant design impacts biocompatibility.
“There is a lot of research being done now by The Aesthetic Society and ASERF [the research arm of the society], which has always been heavily involved with safety and best patient results,” says La Jolla, CA plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD. “It is a positive thing any time we can look at how to improve the future of implants.”
Las Vegas plastic surgeon Mary C. Herte, MD agrees, adding that she is “certainly delighted that some real scientific effort is being devoted to this problem.”
“While we sometimes ‘think’ we know what is happening, not having the science to back it up leads to opinions based on feelings and sometimes incorrect actions. I stopped using textured implants years ago due to my perception that there was more inflammation visible in the scar capsules and I felt it was triggered by the textured implants—it was just a perception with no real scientific basis. This research is definitely helpful in identifying why the high texture implants are problematic, and supports removing them from the market. It is interesting that some of the lower-texture implants are not just less harmful, but may actually be protective against inflammation.”
“We need more information, more detail and more studies that support this initial research before we reach a conclusion about the implant shell material’s role long term,” Dr. Herte stresses. “But this research is the beginning of an understanding that could enhance the safety of the implants we use, for a healthier, safer future for our patients.”
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