In most cases there is no need to do any type of surgical procedure to find out what types of implants were used for your previous breast augmentation. Typically that information is recorded in your patient’s chart at your surgeon’s office. Every device of this kind comes with a serial and tracking number. The silicone implants are also registered under your name, birth date and social security number with the make company. Maybe you remember the brand name. It can be easily found. It is a little bit harder to track the saline device, but still you should be able to find your medical records. Every patient gets an implant card with all the information that should be kept safe for the future reference.
The good news is that both types of implants are considered safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed silicone implants from the consumer market in 1992 as a precautionary measure after conflicting reports of possible complications surfaced. Some of these complications required breast implant removal. However, silicone gel-filled breast implants were fully exonerated and reapproved in 2006. (Read more about implants and the FDA.)
Saline-filled breast implants contain a silicone outer shell filled with a sterile saltwater (saline) solution. Some are pre-filled and others are filled during the implant operation. Saline-filled implants come in different sizes and have either smooth or textured shells. The FDA approved saline-filled breast implants for breast augmentation in women age 18 or older and for breast reconstruction in women of any age. They are also used in revision surgeries, which correct or improve the result of an original surgery.
In 2008, the longitudinal study Excess Mortality from Suicide and other External Causes of Death Among Women with Cosmetic Breast Implants (2007), reported that women who sought breast implants are almost 3 times as likely to commit suicide as are women who have not sought breast implants. Compared to the standard suicide-rate for women of the general populace, the suicide-rate for women with augmented breasts remained constant until 10-years post-implantation, yet, it increased to 4.5 times greater at the 11-year mark, and so remained until the 19-year mark, when it increased to 6 times greater at 20-years post-implantation. Moreover, additional to the suicide-risk, women with breast implants also faced a trebled death-risk from alcoholism and the abuse of prescription and recreational drugs. Although seven studies have statistically connected a woman's breast augmentation to a greater suicide-rate, the research indicates that breast augmentation surgery does not increase the death rate; and that, in the first instance, it is the psychopathologically-inclined woman who is more likely to undergo a breast augmentation procedure.
Breast implants are not lifetime devices. The longer a woman has implants, the more likely it is that she will need to have surgery to remove or replace them. The most frequent complications and adverse outcomes experienced by breast implant patients include capsular contracture, reoperation, and implant removal (with or without replacement). Other common complications include implant rupture with deflation, wrinkling, asymmetry, scarring, pain, and infection. In addition, women with breast implants may have a very low but increased likelihood of being diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
1998 Germany Federal Institute for Medicine and Medical Products Reported that "silicone breast implants neither cause auto-immune diseases nor rheumatic diseases and have no disadvantageous effects on pregnancy, breast-feeding capability, or the health of children who are breast-fed. There is no scientific evidence for the existence of silicone allergy, silicone poisoning, atypical silicone diseases or a new silicone disease."
The current lifetime risk of BIA-ALCL in the U.S. is unknown, but estimates have ranged between estimated to be between 1 in 70,000 to 1 in 500,000 women with breast implants according to MD Anderson. Certain geographic locations have demonstrated variable risks. For instance, a December 2016 update from the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia and New Zealand reported a risk of 1:1,000 to 1:10,000 for textured implants.". To date (2017), there has not been a case of BIAL reported where the patient had only implantation of smooth shell breast implants or a textured tissue expander that was exchanged for a smooth implant. The paucity of cases reported in Asian populations has raised the possibility that there may be a range of genetic susceptibility to the phenomena, or alternatively merely reflect differences in how cases are identified and reported.