Silicone Facial Implants

Q: Dr. Eppley, Due to the risk concerns of silicone facial implants, I am starting to reconsider the surgery. I am afraid that since it is a foreign object there may be long term effects I would rather avoid such as ALCL cancer. Is it possible that cancer cells could develop in scar tissue pocket?  I am just not feeling confident anymore and there aren’t a lot of studies done on this topic.

A: It is a very good question but the biology of that reactive process is understandably not clear to you. You are confusing gel-based breast implants with solid silicone facial implants. ALCL is a very rare lymphatic cancer that has been reported in a handful of cases of silicone breast implants, all due to the textured surfacing on the breast implant and how it was manufactured. Conversely, facial implants are solid smooth silicone implants from which no such issues have ever occurred. Given that the origin of ALCL is due to the textured surface of the breast implant, there is no correlation between a facial implant that you are considering having implanted and what is going on in these rare breast implant cases. Solid silicone implants have been placed all over the body for almost 50 years from which not a single such reactive tumor has ever occurred…nor would it be expected.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana