Myth Buster: Silicone Implants Won’t Explode at High Altitude

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The Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters” covers a wide range of topics across the globe, but as a plastic surgeon in Sacramento, one episode that evaluated a myth about breast implants stood out to me.

The Myth: Silicone breast implants can explode at high altitude or low air pressure.

The Result: They “busted” the myth, proving it inaccurate. They discovered that, when measured at 35,000 feet, the silicone implants expanded negligibly compared to their size on the ground. This expansion is caused by the lower air pressure at that altitude, but it’s important to point out a few details. The cabins of airplanes are pressurized so that the air pressure in them is very similar to the air pressure a person would experience at ground level. Also, they measured the implant in test conditions that simulated the air pressure outside of an airplane at 35,000 feet – an environment and altitude in which humans cannot survive.

What it means for my patients with breast implants in Sacramento is that there’s absolutely no need to worry about air travel. On an airplane there is absolutely no risk of your implants expanding, let alone exploding.

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