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Publication Detail
Mechanical and surface chemical analysis of retrieved breast implants from a single centre
© 2018 Introduction: Breast implants are associated with complications such as capsular contracture, implant rupture and leakage often necessitating further corrective surgery. Re-operation rates have been reported to occur in up to 15.4% of primary augmentation patients and up to 27% in primary reconstructions patients within the first three years (Cunningham, 2007). The aim of this study was to examine the mechanical and surface chemical properties as well as the fibroblast response of retrieved breast implants in our unit to determine the in vivo changes which occur over time. Methods: Ethical approval was obtained. 47 implants were retrieved. Implantation time ranged from 1 month to 388 months (Mean 106.1 months). Tensile strength, elongation, Young's modulus and tear strength properties were measured using Instron 5565 tensiometer on anterior and posterior aspects of the implant. Attenuated total reflectance-fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), wettability and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis was performed on the shell surfaces. Bicinchoninic acid assay was performed to determine shell protein content. The fibroblast response was determined by seeding HDFa cells on the retrieved implants and cell metabolism measured using Alamar Blue™ assay. Results: Mechanical properties fall with increasing duration of implantation. There were no significant changes in ATR-FTIR spectra between ruptured and intact implants nor significant changes in wettability in implants grouped into 5 year categories. SEM imaging reveals surface degradation changes with increasing duration of implantation. Conclusions: With increasing duration of implantation, mechanical properties of the breast implants fall. However this was not associated with surface chemical changes as determined by ATR-FTIR and wettability nor protein content of the shells. Thus the reduction in mechanical properties is associated with breast implant failure but further research is required to elucidate the mechanisms.
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