2 Years after FDA Approves Silicone Breast Implants, Santa Barbara Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon David L. Buchanan, MD Discusses the Decision’s Impact

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After a series of highly publicized lawsuits regarding the safety of silicone breast implants, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled the implants from the market for further study. Following years of rigorous testing and clinical trials, the FDA approved them for use in breast reconstruction and breast augmentation procedures in 2006. On this two-year anniversary of formal approval, one cosmetic plastic surgeon in Santa Barbara offers his views.

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They feel much more like regular breast tissue, and do not deflate - with trauma or spontaneously - which occurred in 4% to 16% of patients over a seven year study of saline implants.

Dr. David L. Buchanan, a cosmetic plastic surgeon in Santa Barbara, California, has specialized in reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery for more than 27 years. He says that in the past two years, approximately 95 percent of his patients have chosen silicone gel implants over saline implants.

“They feel much more like regular breast tissue, and do not deflate - with trauma or spontaneously - which occurred in 4% to 16% of patients over a seven year study of saline implants.”

Dr. Buchanan has spent decades performing breast surgery. While in plastic surgery residency at Baylor University in Houston, Dr. Buchanan worked extensively with Dr. Frank Gerow, the inventor of the silicone gel implant. Dr. Buchanan believes the FDA’s decision to approve silicone breast implants after a decade of voluminous and careful study was the right one. “There is currently no scientific evidence that silicone gel breast implants are harmful. Silicone is widely used in medicine every day. Needles are routinely coated with silicone, and silicone is used in intravenous tubing lines.”

In addition to aesthetic breast enhancement procedures such as breast augmentation and breast lift, Dr. Buchanan is known for being the first plastic surgeon in the southern coastal California region to perform TRAM and Latissimus muscle flap breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients in the early 1980’s. Dr. Buchanan says silicone gel breast implants were often used in these procedures in conjunction with the patient’s own tissue to create soft, supple natural-appearing breasts. He says gel implants were extensively used for elective breast augmentation as well.

In 1991, silicone breast implants were taken off the market for further study. In 2006, they returned to the marketplace, having been FDA-approved for use in breast reconstruction surgery for patients of any age, and aesthetic breast surgery procedures for patients 22 and older.

Dr. Buchanan says he tells patients considering breast reconstruction or breast enlargement in Santa Barbara that if it were his wife or daughter who needed to make the choice between silicone and saline, he would always recommend silicone gel breast implants. “They provide a superior result with less need for reoperation. Contrary to some internet reports, these devices are designed to last a lifetime, and should not need to be replaced unless there is a complication or injury.”

Dr. Buchanan says he is delighted that his Santa Barbara, California breast augmentation and breast reconstruction patients now have more options, and that the scientific method has prevailed.
For more information on breast implants in Santa Barbara, California, Dr. David L. Buchanan can be reached at 427 Pueblo Street, Suite A, Santa Barbara, California 93105 – (805) 395-4545, or via his website at http://www.sbplasticsurgery.com .


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