Venezuela Suffers from Breast Implant Shortage
Venezuela has one of the highest rates of plastic surgery in the world, and at the top of the list of most frequently performed surgeries is breast augmentation. Recently, however, the country has suffered from a shortage of breast implants, preventing many women from enhancing their curves. The body-conscious culture praises beauty and the enhanced feminine figure so much that women could once win raffles for breast augmentation surgery, hosted by pharmacies, corporations and even politicians. Venezuela once had steady access to any U.S. implant approved by the FDA, but currency controls now mean that local businesses are strapped for cash when it comes to importing foreign goods, whether food or, as the case may be, breast implants.
First Lightweight Silicone Breast Implant Developed
Two Israeli brothers have worked to develop the first ever lightweight silicone breast implant. The partnership between one plastic surgeon and his brother, a biomedical engineer, just may have provided the solution for women seeking breast augmentation but worried about increasing breast ptosis, or sagging, with the additional weight of typical breast implants. The new lightweight implants, which the brothers have called B-Lite, weigh 30 percent less than conventional silicone breast implants. The brothers have plans to eventually introduce the product to the United States market, though approval could take several years.
Breast Implants with RFID Chips
International aesthetic company, Establishment Labs, announced in 2013 that it was partnering with VeriTeQ to produce breast implants embedded with a microchip. The microchip would serve as a radiofrequency identification tag, providing information about the device that could help the patient and her future doctors. Similar implantable microchips have been used to keep track of pets for some time, and while the health and safety benefits of embedding breast implants with such devices could be significant, the announcement faced some backlash from communities concerned with “tracking” people. The practical use of the microchips, however, would mean that information about the implants, such as serial number, brand and manufacture date, would be accessible to the patient and her doctors through a simple radiofrequency scan. This could mean helping patients better understand when to replace implants, as well as helping to prevent counterfeit products.