What you don’t know about breast implants

• Today’s breast implants are part of a long and often dangerous tradition. In the 1880’s, women tried to increase their breast size with paraffin injections; later glass or ivory balls were used.

• At the end of WWII, barrels of industrial grade silicone mysteriously disappeared off the docks of Japan. The silicone was injected into the breasts of Japanese prostitutes to make them more attractive to American GIs. Unfortunately, the silicone often migrated to other parts of the body, causing many health problems, and sometimes death.

• After the war, thousands of Las Vegas showgirls, actresses, and others in the entertainment industry were injected with liquid silicone. Silicone injections proved to be so dangerous that the government banned the procedure.

• Silicone breast implants were first “tested” on a thirty-year-old divorced mother of six who went to a Texas charity hospital to have the rose tattoos removed from her breasts.

• Silicone gel breast implants have been sold since the early 1960’s but at that time the FDA had no authority to regulate medical devices. They have never been approved by the FDA.

• When the FDA was granted oversight for medical devices in 1976, silicone implants were allowed to stay on the market, with no safety studies required.

• Saline implants were approved in 2000, despite the fact that 40% of augmentation patients and approximately two-thirds of breast cancer reconstruction patients had complications within the first three years.

• Studies by the National Cancer Institute found that women with breast implants were twice as likely to die from brain cancer, three times as likely to die from lung cancer or other diseases, and four times as likely to commit suicide, compared to other plastic surgery patients of the same age.

• FDA scientists have found that most breast implants break within 10-15 years, and that one in five broken silicone gel implants leaks outside the breast area.

• Liquid silicone is impossible to remove once it reaches vital organs such as the lungs.