Updated January 30, 2011 - Although this article was written 5 years ago, the information remains accurate. San Francisco Bay Area plastic surgery patients are still awaiting the FDA's decision on the form stable breast implants, and no new restrictions have been added to the use of the current Silicone Gel Breast Implants. Both the Allergan and Mentor Breast Implant Follow-up Studies are filled, and data is being collected.
Although Silicone Gel Breast Implants have always been available for qualifying women, on November 17, 2006, the FDA further eased restrictions. This means that for women in the San Francisco Bay Area silicone gel breast implants are again an available option for elective breast augmentation. Saline breast implants also continue to be available, and will still be the best choice for many women.
Along with approval, come some additional restrictions. Here are a few items identified by the FDA in its approval letter:
When considering whether to proceed with breast augmentation, it is import to discuss the risks, benefits, procedure, alternatives and recovery with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Many of the risks associated with saline and Silicone Gel Breast Implants are similar; however, there are some differences between saline and silicone gel filled implants that may help you make the decision between the two more clear.
Future note: Some of the problems specific to silicone gel filled breast implants are linked to leakage. The "Gummi-Bear," form stable implants are soft solids - more like JelloŽ than a liquid. The upside is, they can't leak, so MRI's may not be required. For reconstructive patients (after mastectomy) the implants can be made into a larger variety of shapes. The downside they require a larger incision for placement.
News on these next generation Form Stable Silicone Gel Implants will hopefully come soon. These implants have been used in Europe for many years. It should be noted that it took Europe less than one year to lift restrictions on Silicone Gel Breast Implants (while it took th US 14 years), and this is what allowed Europe to progress to form stable breast implants (gummy-bear implants). Canada approved the "Gummi-Bear" form stable implants in early 2006. Maybe next year for the US?