As Breast Augmentation Becomes the No. 1 Cosmetic Surgery Procedure, New Jersey Plastic Surgeon Paul LoVerme, MD Discusses the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants

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18 years ago, silicone breast implants were pulled from the market for further study. Now, after being formally approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006, one New Jersey cosmetic plastic surgeon discusses the reasons why the FDA’s decision is beneficial to breast augmentation and breast reconstruction patients.

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Silicone implants were taken off the market with some allegations that over the last 14 years have not proved to be true. There really is no greater risk to women with silicone implants than there is with saline implants, but there are some differences.

New statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery report that, for the first time in twelve years, breast augmentation has surpassed liposuction to become the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. More than 355,000 breast augmentation surgeries were performed last year. The new report coincides with the two-year anniversary of a landmark decision from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowing doctors to use silicone breast implants in breast surgery procedures.

In 1991, following a series of high-profile lawsuits, the FDA decided to pull silicone breast implants off the market. In 2006, after years of intensive study and clinical trials, the organization decided to approve the use of the implants in breast augmentation patients over the age of 22, and breast reconstruction patients of any age. Dr. Paul LoVerme is a New Jersey cosmetic plastic surgeon and head of the LoVerme Center for Plastic Surgery in Verona. He says the FDA’s decision is ultimately good for patients. “Silicone implants were taken off the market with some allegations that over the last 14 years have not proved to be true. There really is no greater risk to women with silicone implants than there is with saline implants, but there are some differences.”

Those differences are mainly apparent in the appearance and feel of the implant, and what happens if the implant ruptures. With saline implants, a rupture or leak in the implant is easily detectable as the breast takes on a deflated appearance. Since silicone breast implants use a viscous, silicone gel as their main component, a leak may be harder to detect. “With a silicone implant we may have a silent rupture and it may not be detectable except by MRI or perhaps physical examination by the plastic surgeon.” However, many doctors say silicone breast implants are extremely durable, and that years of rigorous testing and study show that silicone implants are not harmful. Dr. LoVerme says one of the most positive aspects of the FDA’s decision is that it gives patients like those at his New Jersey breast augmentation practice a broader range of options to meet their own specific needs. “You know it’s great that silicone implants are now back on the market because it gives women a choice.”

Silicone breast implants are often said to look and feel more natural than their saline counterparts, and are less prone to rippling. Dr. LoVerme says the choice between silicone and saline implants is ultimately up to the patient, and he provides detailed advice on both implants so that individuals can make educated choices about what they feel is right for them. “Some women still are uncomfortable with silicone implants and that’s fine and I still use saline implants for those women. Other women have actually waited until silicone gel implants were available because they do have a more natural feel, especially in women with very small breasts to begin with. I have women who have exchanged saline implants for silicone implants and they can’t believe how much more comfortable and natural they feel.”

Dr. LoVerme says the most important thing for patients to do before undergoing breast enlargement is to educate themselves about the procedure, and be sure to have an understanding about both types of implants. “I have a lot of things on my website and I spend a lot of time speaking with patients when they come into the office about breast augmentation, about the differences between saline and silicone. And I’m not one that tries to push you to one implant or the other. I really look at myself as a resource… I’m here to help you make that final decision.”

Dr. Paul LoVerme is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has been recognized as “Top Doctor” in the New York and New Jersey area by the Castle-Connolly Guide, N.J. Monthly, and N.Y. Magazine. A past president of the New Jersey Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. LoVerme is an associate professor of Plastic Surgery at UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School. His New Jersey breast implants facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF), with a fully operational surgical suite on-site.

New Jersey silicone breast implant surgeon, Dr. Paul LoVerme can be reached at the LoVerme Center for Plastic Surgery at 825 Bloomfield Ave., Suite 205, Verona, New Jersey 07044 – (973) 857-9499, or via his website at http://www.LoVermeCenter.com .

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