In general, silicone gel breast implants are safe. However, a French company, PIP, manufactured an implant that was available outside the United States which felt very soft, and was used by many plastic surgeons. Now, it appears that this implant was filled with an industrial grade silicone (rather than medical grade), and has a very high rupture rate (as high as 11% rupture per year) when compared to the standard silicone gel implants approved for use in the United States (appx 1% rupture per year). It is not fully known if the impurities of an industrial grade silicone could cause medical problems, but the consensus is that these implants should be replaced with standard silicone implants. If you had your breast augmentation performed in France, England, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, or other countries, you should contact your doctor to determine the type of implant used, and if your implants should be changed to another implant.
In California, we have some patients considering cosmetic surgery in other countries because it might be less expensive, but this decision, which could have lasting implications, must be made carefully.
Please check my website at www.prescottmd.com for more breast implant information.