What in the world is Silicone, anyways?

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Written by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Nima Naghshineh, MD, FACS on July 8th, 2020.

Whether you have saline or silicone implants, your implants are made of silicone. Both saline and silicone implants have a silicone shell. The only difference is that saline implants are filled with saltwater and silicone implants are filled with less viscous silicone.

Not to be confused with silicone, silicon is a metalloid used in computer microchips. However, silicone is made from silicon or more specifically, silica, the natural occurring form of silicon. Crystalline silica is known to be a powerful activator of the immune system and is associated with autoimmune diseases such as progressive systemic sclerosis in stonemasons and silicotic patients.1

Silicone does not exist in nature. It is man-made from crystalline silica. Typically, the body’s reaction or response to silicone is minimal and it forms a capsule or scar shell around the silicone to wall it off from the rest of the body.

1. Implant Illness: A Way Forward. Magnusson, Mark R. MBBS, FRACS; Cooter, Rod D. MBBS, PhD, FRACS; Rakhorst, Hinne MD; McGuire, Patricia A. MD; Adams, William P. Jr MD; Deva, Anand K. BSc(Med), MBBS, MS, FRACS. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2019 - Volume 143 - Issue 3S - p 74S-81S

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