BOOBS

Some of you may suspect that I used that title just to get your attention. But no, today’s post is actually about boobs. Specifically, silicone gel breast implants. See, the FDA is holding hearings to determine whether or not they should lift the ban on silicone boobs.

There’s huge controversy over these little (or not-so-little) blobs of gel. Many women claim they developed incurable, disabling illnesses after their implants ruptured and leaked silicone goo into their bodies. Others claim that silicone blobs are far superior to blobs made out of saline in feel and appearance, and they should be allowed to buy them.

What I can’t understand is why it should be so difficult to decide if the silicone blobs cause health problems. I mean, they’re self-contained.

Compare this issue to MSG, another controversial substance. There are loads of anecdotal reports of harm caused by the ingestion of MSG. The FDA says controlled studies have not demonstrated that MSG is to blame. There are numerous claims by anti-MSG activists that evidence has been suppressed by the powerful food-additive industry.

You can see where this gets complicated, because there are so many factors to consider. Everybody in the U.S. consumes MSG regularly, unless they go to a great deal of trouble to avoid it. Even reading labels doesn’t necessarily eliminate it from your diet, because glutamate is identified by other names if the quantity is small. And when you eat in restaurants or other people’s homes, you have no idea what’s in the food.

So, it is very difficult to separate our baseline consumption of this stuff from whatever amount might possibly cause a reaction. And it is impossible to gauge long-term effects, because you can’t control the diets of a large number of subjects over a long study period.

With silicone implants, on the other hand, either you’ve got ‘em or you don’t. They were on the market for decades before the ban, and in the years since the ban, they’ve been used in controlled research studies.

So why do we still not know if they cause health problems or not? Perhaps we know that they do. After all, silicone from a ruptured implant oozing into your tissues simply cannot be good for you. Perhaps the companies that have lobbied so long and hard to get the devices back on the market should have put their R and D money into building a safe and equally effective alternative.

Leaving aside the idiocy of getting implants just to achieve a D cup, shouldn’t women who need reconstruction be offered better choices?

UPDATE—–UPDATE—–UPDATE

Today the health advisory committee recommended against lifting the ban, citing insufficient data about how long the implants will last.

Interesting statistic: ” Last year, 264,000 breast augmentations and 63,000 breast reconstructions were performed in the United States, most with saline implants.”

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37 thoughts on “

  1. I don’t think many long term studies have been done on this…tissue rejection tends to sometimes vary from individual to individual. the fact most of them are for esteem or cosmetic issues does lead me to lean towards if people want to accept the risk and sign legal waivers then they should be entitled to size away…

  2. Ryc: I can’t see the screen… I’m laughing too hard! ohmigod… let me get a grip here. Okay. Ummm. It was the emergency room; give me a break! lol again.
    *checks boobs* Umm, I don’t have implants and can’t really fathom why (other than reconstruction) anybody gives a rat’s ass about the size of their boobies. Heck, I’ll be tripping over mine soon, and even then I’m determined to just tuck them into my socks and carry on!
    Seriously, they did their job (nursed two kids and reeled in a husband) They are free to do as they please now. I have a great bra collection to help give them direction…

  3. Warning:  male viewpoint ahead.  More specifically, I’m a male who loves cleavage as well as the next guy, BUT I’m also a “liberated male” in that I seriously value what’s inside a woman (good character, honesty … you know, the virtues that really count) rather than the cosmetic outside.
    That said, it’s sad that women take health risks in order to attract those males who are not worth attracting in the first place.  But I’m not being critical of your gender.  Males do silly things, too, such as wear toupees if they’re balding or lifts if they’re short.  And I’ve already admitted that I like cleavage. 
    The world’s the way it is.  Being attractive is a plus, I grant you.  But if we (men AND women) would grow up and value what’s important, there would be fewer health risks.

  4. Look, to be truthful, who among the general population doesn’t want to be considered attractive and/or sexy?  And since a curvier shape with more cleavage is upheld as one of the standards of female beauty, it’s little wonder why some women would want to have that.
    But to want to “improve” your outside appearance (which will fade anyway) at the risk of your health is an entirely different matter–it’s unfortunate that vanity and insecurity blinds people to the dangers. 

  5. After my first mastectomy I opted to augment the left side and reconstruct the right side, with saline implants.  Prior to being a size C, I was a size A.  I’d always been thin with wide hips.  After the reconstruction I had the body I’d always dreamed of.  I could walk into any store and fit into any size 12.  Everything fit me.  I bought all new clothes, sexy clothes.  I remember saying to someone “If I’d known how these would make me feel I’d have done it as soon as I’d nursed my last baby.”  Talk about a self-confidence boost.  And unless you’ve been flat-chested you don’t know what I’m talking about.  The funny thing was my husband preferred small-busted woman. 
    Anyway, after the second mastectomy I had them take the implants out.  I just didn’t like the fact that there was plastic inside of me.  I wanted to be able to feel around for what my surgeon calls “mischief.”  So now I wear a prosthesis and it’s actually a more realistic shape.  A couple of the women in my support group have silicone and they love it.  My plastic surgeon perfers it but won’t use it any more.  Maybe that’s changed.

  6. Did somebody put a gun to any of those women’s heads and FORCE them to get silicone implants?  Aren’t we aware that there are risks with any kind of surgery?  Isn’t that why we sign all of that paperwork before we get anything done?  Oh well.  I think a woman should have the right to do whatever she wants with her boobs.  And we SHOULD have more choices.  But also, we should be allowed to be comfortable with what we have naturally.  IT really ticks me off that all boobs are judged by this standard…are they perky, are they firm, are they…whatever their supposed to be.  I say, don’t judge a boob by it’s cover. 

  7. I’m assuming (and I’m no scientist) that the difficulty lies in *proving* that a woman’s silicone implants and not her genes or exposure to other toxins caused her health problems.
    That said, I agree with Leonidas:  women should be fully informed of all possible risks and then be allowed to make their own decisions.  We can’t have the FDA be our babysitter.  I mean the FDA should keep the public well informed of all dangers related to drugs and treatments, etc, but maybe banning certain things is not always the right course of action.

  8. You have me stumped.  I guess I don’t know enough about the FDA ban to know the politics behind the whole thing.  Aren’t people turning to saline implants?  If they exist and are safer, why do people still want silicone?  I’m with you, common sense tells me that silicone probably just isn’t safe…

  9. I agree with twoberry…. I too like cleavage. But personally I could care less about breast size, they are all fun..
    He does have a point in that if someone is doing something they know is dagnerous to be attractive, then they have a lot more baggage that most people want to deal with. It’s on a par with bulimia in my opinion. I’m a guy and I check women out – it’s just hardwired and honestly I enjoy it…..but I’d much rather be with a woman who had a personality, a good sense of humor, and a mind than someone who is all image and illusion.
    It’s not an attack on women or even women who go to such absurd lengths to catch a mate – men are prone to do that as well. They just take different routes….I worked with one guy who is 52 who will dye his hair – facial hair, eyebrows, etc to cover up the grey – with the result of taking 20 years off and go on the prowl for younger women. And unfortunately they fall for the illuson… I don’t think they ever know what they climbed into bed with.

  10. I agree with several of the comments that it should be an informed risk.  Women who need reconstruction do have a safer option–the saline.  I have precious little experience with the matter, but my understanding of it is that saline implants are very natural, and that’s just the problem with them–they tend to sag and be less firm.  The only reason to go with the silicone is cosmetic.  That being the case, I think women should have a right to take that risk, provided they’re made aware of the risk and made to sign a waiver.  Look at saccharine–still on the market alongside products like Splenda and Nutrasweet.  It’s a free country (well, it’s supposed to be anyway).  People should have the right to choose between safe and satisfying.  Anything else and the tyrrany of public health gets completely out of hand…

  11. Having had a one of my breast augmented just to show male compassion for the plight ofwomen with breasts, I can personally tell you that silicone implants look freakish.Even if it is on a male body.

  12. Personally, I believe if anyone ones to take part in the exploitation of themselves, they get what they get. There are so many documented cases of serious health problems from plastic surgery and plastic surgery gone wrong. Exploit yourself. Live with your choice, even if it means becoming incredibly sick.. The FDA is just another political institution that is influenced by money and power. They are up there on my list with the FCC>

  13. I’m just happy that I don’t have to worry about it!  Don’t get me wrong; my three children have not left me as ummm, perky, as before, but I would rather have NONE than have size D’s!!!  Hopefully this isn’t offensive! 

  14. I kept thinking about this post today.  I imagine that the other problem with women proving that their implants caused health problems is that as far as I know, there is no defined silicone poisoning syndrome as yet.  (Correct me if I’m wrong.)  Something like lead poisoning is well known and has been a problem for centuries so the symptoms are recognized and there is a specific test for it.  Putting silicone implants into the body is a relatively recent procedure, so I imagine it will be a long time before a silicone poisoning syndrome can be identified.

  15. Dear Jodi,
    I have seen the “results” of what has happened when silicone implants have ruptured. At least the saline implants have never (to my knowledge) caused the problems inherent in silicone implants. (rupture, hardening around the implant, “migration”) The silicone implants are, as you say, “contained” but if they leak, which they did, in certain cases, hence the litigation and the ban, then they are certainly not “contained”.
    Irrespective of the women in the porn industry who enhance their breasts to immodest and ridiculous sizes, the main reason why these devices are on the market I would surmise is because of reconstructive surgery after loss of the mammaries due to cancer. (I always liked long legs and bitty titties to tell the truth, and if I were involved with a woman who had a masectomy I probably would leave it up to her if she wanted to have implantation. I don’t know if I’d care to have them made “larger” if it were a small breasted woman, but this is besides the point.)
    I feel that if women were given the choice, then perhaps there would still be problems with the silicone implants, as there were before 1992. Of course a lot has happened in medical advancements in the past 12 years, and hopefully the hearings will determine the right decision based on all the data available now.
    It would be disastrous to put the silicone implants back on the market, however, if there were still a great risk involved. Drugs are alway being marketed, then people die, then the drugs are taken off the market. I still have the terrible images in my head (which were from a television documentary I saw soon after the silicone implants were banned.) after 12 years and wouldn’t want to wish these abnomalities on anyone.
    Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool

  16. I prefer natural women. In fact, I prefer women without boob implants, tummy tucks, liposuction and even mascara. My wifeis allergic to all sorts of things, including make up and mascara, so I’m lucky that way. And if you want to do some interesting research, check up on the toxins in make up. You will be shocked.
    To me, it’s what is on the inside that counts, not the package. And as one of my friends always says, “No matter how good looking she is, some guy somewhere is sick and tired of putting up with her shit.” And to be fair, this works for hot looking guys too. (I didn’t want to seem chauvanistic) I bet I spelled that wrong.

  17. A good friend of my Mom’s had implants back in the late 80’s.  She had always been tiny (and muscular– she had a great figure).  Anyway, her boobs were obviously bigger after the surgery, and then a few years later, they were small again.  I can’t remember if the saline actually leaked, or if it was fear of leakage, that made her take them out. . . but I think they actually leaked. =-p

  18. My Mom had implants after her mastectomy, but she had trouble with them, too, and had them removed. 
    I just think that if there is a choice, and one is obviously safer, then why would you take the extra risk?

  19. Oh for crissakes!!!!!   It’s easy people….you want silicone breast implants….fine, you are an adult, you heard the warning, you still want em?   Sign a piece of paper that you will not sue the makers, your doctor, your boyfriend for telling you your tits are too small, etc. ad nauseum and GET them…….why can’t our govt. be so simple!??    Lawyers are making this world nuts!

  20. What in interesting and thought provoking topic!  I’m not sure what to say about implants. . .I don’t have the best body image myself, and there are days I think I’d go for surgery in a minute–not to please someone else, but myself.  Then again, I’m sad only one body type is the “ideal”. . .An informed choice is best, and the safest alternative should be the preferred one.  Now about MSG:  my husband is allergic to the stuff, and try as we might to avoid it, MSG shows up unexpectantly.  When we ask in restaurants if it’s used in salad dressings and such, the staff can’t always answer with certainty.  I’ve noticed that I’m becoming sensitive to MSG, too, and I  know many others who are.  I don’t know why we need it at all, since it can cause such bad reactions in so many people. 

  21. Hey, I hope you dont mind if I subsrcibe. Stumbled upon your Xanga through Leonidas’s site… and I find your posts very interesting…

  22. Go to Europe, especially France for a holiday, small tits are appreciated there as much as big ones. Clothes look more elegant on them.  See their style. Come back with a changed attitude about attractiveness and you eliminate the risk. It won’t cost any more than a boob job.  I know this sounds glib. That’s because its always hard to consider alternatives to a long-held idea without cognitive dissonance creeping in. 

  23. I personally don’t know why anyone would want bigger boobs, they are annoying enough whatever size they are! You got some interesting comments! lol.

  24. I’m going to take it that you meant “blobs” instead of “boobs” and go from there because that was funny! Politics is why it takes the FDA so long to say that silicone implants are harmful. Partially because women know this and still want them. Money. I was gifted with cleavage so this would never have been a choice but had I been walking around like Renee Zellweger’s chest I’d have run to get some bigger “blobs”. However, I would probably have chosen saline ones. After all, I used that to put on contacts.

  25. RYC Does this mean I get a pagan name?  😀
    I’m probably too sick to have an opinion on silicone.  But I tend to think that as long as women are informed of the risk, let them make the choice.  Not that it matters now.  But I still think that. 

  26. I know people who have had the saline implants.  They had boob jobs with implants after extreme weight loss.  I also know one person who never lost any weight but just wanted them (my sister–SHHH!)  The silicone ones were so long ago that I have not thought about them in ages.  Yeah, you would think there would be enough data collected on them by now. 
    All I know is that the silicone inSERTS are safe (they better be.)  Is that good enough?

  27. I was all ready to make a SERIOUS comment until I read the last comment. Argghhh… Anyways, I did read a statistic recently that cited 4 out of 10 women who rec’d breast implants later regreted the decision. No reasons were given, but I thought it interesting anyway.

  28. All I know is that if I ever need reconstructive breast surgery; I’m going for the saline implant. Silicone getting into your tissues: not good. And God help you if liquid silicone gets into your bloodstream! Yes, it’s only a minute chance that a silicone implant would leak—but why take that chance. And what’s up with all these doctors coming up with shit for women to stick into our bodies anyway? Silicone implants, norplant, IUDs, hell. How about having the mostly male medical community come up with some crap to implant into men, huh?

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