You wouldn’t normally consider the concepts of plastic surgery and terrorism in the same sentence. If you did, you would assume that it had something to do with surgical changes of a terrorist’s face to alter their identity. Plastic surgery amongst drug dealers in different parts of the world, for example, is well known. Why wouldn’t it be the same for terrorists?
Perhaps terrorists are getting their noses reshaped and other facial reshaping surgeries, but that is not the association that is currently news worthy. It is now reported that female suicide bombers are being fitted with breast implants containing explosives which are all but impossible to detect by current airport scanning machines. Similar approaches are apparently being also considered for men by using buttock implants The discovery of these methods was made after the recent airliner incident on Christmas Day where a Nigerian had stuffed explosives inside his underpants.MI5, the famous British spy unit, has reported that such movie-like plots for bringing down airliners do really exist.
While breast implants do have a controversial material history, it has never been one of a lethal and nefarious nature. Explosive experts say that an implant containing as little as five ounces of certain explosives (a B cup breast size) can open a hole in the skin of an airplane that can take it down.
While an exploding breast implant is not a concern for the typical woman in the U.S. who undergoes breast augmentation, understanding implant rupture is. Implant rupture is not the same as an ‘exploding breast implant’. This is the one lifelong implant-related risk which every breast implant patient should know. While the bag or shell of a breast implant does not explode, it can develop a tear or hole in it over time. Such an implant defect is not the result of anything the patient does, it is the result of natural fatigue of the implant material as it flexes and folds over time from external displacement forces. It is always best to not think of breast implants as permanent although we all hope that they are.
Patients of course want to know how likely is implant rupture and what happens if it does. The true incidence of breast implant failure is really only known from past history with older device designs that are no longer used. While the manufacturers provide statistics of a 1% risk per year for the lifetime of the implant, numbers are just…numbers. That statistic is meaningless when it happens to you. You just have to know that it can happen and the longer they are in place, the more likely it can occur. Rupture of saline implants are immediately obvious, like a flat tire. Silicone implant failure usually never results in any external change and may only be found on a routine mammogram.
The good news is that breast implant rupture is medically harmless, no scientific evidence has ever linked a medical disease with implant filler materials. Rupture is an issue of inconvenience and economics. For saline implants, it will be a cosmetic ‘emergency’. For silicone implants, it is more of a dilemma of whether anything needs to be done at all if the breast feels and looks fine.
While terrorists might come up with lots of different ways to try and kill US citizens, using breast implants against us is definitely not one that we might have expected.
Dr. Barry Eppley