Friday, July 18, 2008

Is Saline Safe?

Some Doctors Wonder If Saline Implants Are Really Safe
Traditional silicone breast implants were banned in 1990's in the US due to safety concerns - if ruptured, or if silicone "bleed" occurred and migrated from the breast area, it could spill into the patient's body and cause siliconosis (toxicity from excess silicone poisons the body and presents the following symptoms: fainting, extreme fatigue, muscle and body aches, fever, rashes, forgetfulness, loss of vision, and any number of other autoimmune and connective-tissue diseases.)

Saline has long been thought the safe solution to silicone breast implants, but some researchers believe that siliconosis is still a possibility. Saline implants are, indeed, filled with saltwater, but that saltwater is encased by a silicone shell. Some doctors believe that the silicone shell may be what causes siliconosis in their case studies.

Take into account Colleen McKenzie's story, as reported by the Memphis Flyer. Colleen was nineteen in 1997 when she had her saline breasts implanted. Three years after implantation, Colleen began experiencing fevers, fatigue, fainting, depression, blurred vision, and aches and pains. Her symptoms were so bad, she had to take a leave of absence from her jobs.

Months of doctors visits followed for McKenzie, but no one could give her a correct diagnosis. One rheumatologist even suggested Colleen's illness was imaginary and suggested that she see a psychologist. It wasn't until she met Dr. Douglas Shanklin, a leader in research linking saline implants to siliconosis, that Colleen was diagnosed with the illness and began treatment for siliconosis.

At 25, Colleen is finally on the road to recovery - it can take several years for a woman with siliconosis to fully recover. She had her implants removed a year ago and has joined Saline Support, an Internet group composed of women who feel they've contracted siliconosis from their saline implants.

Since the FDA's ban of silicone implants in the 90's (the moratorium on traditional silicone implants has been lifted, but only if the patient meets certain requirements, such as being unable to be treated with other types of implants), the large majority of the 32,000 breast augmentations performed per month utilize saline implants. Cohesive silicone gel (gummy bear) implants are also recently FDA approved, but only if the patient has met several conditions (the patient must be at least 22, the doctor and the manufacturer must conduct device tracking for safety and physicians wishing to use the implants must take a device access course before beginning implantations.) Cohesive silicone gel implants differ from traditional silicone implants because of layers of hardened silicone they possess to prevent silicone bleeding.

If you believe you are suffering from siliconosis from saline implants, please see an expert in the field, such as Dr. Shanklin, or contact Saline Support for a referral.

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