Will you be happier with silicone implants?

December 1, 2010 Providence Health Team

For women who have undergone a single or double mastectomy plastic surgery is often a very real possibility. I firmly believe that what you (and only you) decide to do with your body your decision. I have known plenty of strong and beautiful women who have decided not to augment postmastectomy but I have known just as many strong and beautiful women who decide to augment.

But today’s post isn’t about that choice (although we can talk about that if you want). Today’s post is about a Nov.8, 2010 study. The American Cancer Society’s peer-reviewed journal CANCER published a study finding that women who opt for silicone implants postmastectomy are more satisfied than women who opt for saline.

672 women were followed and 472 chose to participate in the post-operation questionnaire. 176 women opted for silicone implants and 306 women opted for saline implants. According to the abstract, those women who chose silicone implants reported higher satisfaction than those who chose saline.

However, the results are not necessarily cut and dry. The study also reveals that, of the women surveyed, regardless of silicone or saline choice, receiving radiation therapy post-mastectomy had a negative effect on satisfaction and satisfaction in all women surveyed diminished over time. The leader of the team that surveyed the women, Dr. Colleen McCarthy, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City is quoted:

“We now know that women who elect to proceed with the placement of a silicone implant report higher satisfaction with their reconstructed breasts than those who choose saline implants,” said Dr. McCarthy. “It also appears that patient satisfaction with postmastectomy implant-based reconstruction is generally high and that individual treatment variables—such as implant type—explain only a relatively small amount of the variance. Patient counseling should reflect these realities in order to reassure patients that high satisfaction may be obtained with both saline and silicone implants.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a wealth of information about the “physical health” behind implants. As for your personal decision, well that’s where we come in. You cannot gauge your decision on a study involving just 472 women. What you can do is use it to help trigger some questions that you can ask your doctor, especially your surgeon.  

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