Silicone and saline breast implants, Europe, 2003
Two different types of breast implants are shown here, one containing silicone gel and the other saline (a salt solution). Breast implants are used for cosmetic breast enlargement or for reconstructive purposes, for example for women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. Silicone breast implants were first introduced in the 1960s in the United States and there have long been some medical concerns over their safety. Over 10,000 women have breast implants fitted in the United Kingdom each year. These particular implants are made by Mentor Medical Ltd.
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Glossary: plastic surgery
A surgical speciality dealing with the restoration or construction of the body. Often used to refer to elective surgery done for aesthetic reasons.
Glossary: silicone implant
An implant that is inserted into the body by surgery, typically to enhance a particular area (commonly breasts). Silicon is a synthetic material that remains unaltered by changes in temperature and is resistant to chemical attack.