Post mortem breast implants

When you leave your body to medical science you might imagine some marvellous discovery among your organs and tissues that leads researchers to the wondrous discovery of a universal anticancer drug or something equally stupendous. In reality, it can be a much more mundane, especially for any women donating their mortal coil.

Researchers at Emory University have been testing two techniques for implanting silicone prosthetic breast implants into cadavers. Obviously, the implications of their work will be of relevance to living recipients, rather than the morticians. They have investigated whether the so-called Keller Funnel, which allows the implant to be inserted without the surgeon actually touching it, reduces potential contamination with skin or other bacteria. And, their results show that indeed it does. There’s a 27-fold reduction in transfer of a fluorescent paste smeared on the chest of the cadaver on to the implant surface compared with digital insertion.

Given that microbes such as MRSA could so easily be transferred with the implant using the digital insertion method it is perhaps time for surgeons to switch to this technique and so reduce infection, contracture, and the need for reparative surgery after implantation.

A more technical write-up appears in the 1st February issue of SpectroscopyNOW.

Incidentally, the only difference between industrial grade silicone gel and medical grade silicone gel is one of labelling and certification. As far as I know, surgeons have not been injecting women with the waterproofing material you use to seal around your bath.

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