Breast augmentation surgery has been the number one cosmetic surgical procedure performed according to the 2018 Annual Statistical Report of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Breast implants can be placed to restore the natural-looking breasts that is proportionate to one’s body. They are both used to enhance or enlarge the breasts (breast augmentation) and to reshape the breasts (breast reconstruction) after mastectomy (a surgery that removes the breast to treat or prevent breast cancer or other diseases).

What are breast implants made of?

 It was in the early 1960s when the first silicone breast implants were used and from then further technological advancements were discovered and studied to achieve a higher safety performance.

Today, breast implants are made up of a silicone shell that is either filled with saline (sterile salt water) or silicone gel. Silicone has been safely used not only as breast implants but also in a variety of consumer and industrial products. The advantages of silicone include stability at high temperature, resistance to aging, sunlight and moisture, and resistance to extremes in temperature.

Are Silicone Breast Implants Safe?

Breast implants come in different sizes, shape and shell texture. The “gummy bear” breast implants is the most sought after implants from the new generation of breast implants. These breast implants are named after the gummy bear candies because they return to their original shape after being touched (just like the gummy bear candies). Unlike traditional implants, the “gummy bear” implants have thicker gel (highly cohesive silicone gel) and do not spread out from the implant shell when cut. As a result, it is less likely to break or leak into the body. Similarly, the gummy bear breast implants mimic the shape of the breasts giving a more natural look and soft to touch.

According to two scientific studies done in 2004 and 2005, the “gummy bear” implants have low incidence-rate of capsular contracture and rupture and have greater improved medical-safety than that of early generation breast implant devices.

What risks are involved?

As with any surgical procedures, may it be minor or major surgeries, there are certain risks and complications involved and should be taken into consideration.

There are a few local complications associated with breast augmentation which include infection, breast or nipple numbness, asymmetry, fluid collection around the implants and capsular contracture (hardening of the breast around the implant). There is also the risk from the anaesthesia and leakage of the silicone gel from certain breasts implants.

The breasts implants are considered as foreign materials and capsular contracture is a response of the body’s immune system to the foreign material. After the breast augmentation, the body’s response is to form scar tissues around the implants resulting in a “tissue capsule.” Typically, this capsule is soft and slightly firm; however, in some women, this capsule hardens and squeezes the implants causing pain and discomfort. Capsular contracture can appear as early as a few months after the surgery.

The treatment for capsular contracture is by removal of the existing implants and the surrounding tissues and releasing of the capsule by making small incisions. In some cases, the existing implants will be replaced with a new one.

In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified a possible connection between breasts implants and the development of a unique form of lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) associated with implants known as Breast Implants Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL]. The symptoms of BIA-ALCL include persistent swelling or pain in the breasts. The risk of developing this type of lymphoma is very low (1 in 70,00 to 1 in 500,00). In most cases, the treatment is through the removal of the implants and the surrounding scar tissues. However, in some cases where there is evidence of systemic spread, chemotherapy or radiation therapy might be needed. In addition, the FDA reported that the risk for BIA-ALCL is higher for textured implants. It is also important to know that most of the reported cases of BIA-ALCL had implants in for many years before having the condition.

Do I need to change implants after a few years?

Breast implants do not expire and are designed to be long lasting and safe. However, change of implants may be necessary if there are major complications like leaking or capsular contracture, dissatisfaction with the initial results, or a desire to change breast size.

What other concerns should I be aware of?

 Most women can still breastfeed after breast augmentation but will depend on the original state of the breasts prior to surgery and the type of approach used. There has been no evidence that the silicone in the components of the breast implants can go through and pass to the milk during breastfeeding.

Incidentally, there is an increased risk of feeding problems when the incisions are done through the areola since nerves around the breasts are cut or damaged during the surgery.

Breast augmentation is a generally safe procedure to enhance the breast size and improve the overall appearance, however, certain risks and possible complications should be considered and discussed with the surgeon.

If you are considering breast augmentation and would like to learn more about implant options, please contact our Dubai or London offices.

To book an appointment, or consultation for in Dubai at our LCAS Dubai Healthcare City Clinic, please contact 04-375 2393 or email

To book an appointment at our LCAS 15 Harley Street, London practice, please call +44 207 636 4272 or email