We Need Smarter Breasts

By Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) | November 21, 2006 6:00 pm

As DiscoBlog delphically predicted in its first post, silicone breast implants have jiggled back to life, as the FDA approved them for cosmetic surgery. (They were already approved for breast reconstruction, as in for cancer survivors, although those surgeries have more complications.)

The problem with these silicone implants is that they sometimes rupture, and some people are concerned that the silicone coursing through a woman’s body can be dangerous, perhaps even causing cancer (though the FDA found that not to be the case). Which raises an obvious question in my mind: Has anyone put a sensor inside a silicone implant that can report when the thing breaks? In recent years people have put sensors into the body to do all kinds of things—monitor blood pressure in the heart, control computer cursors with a thought, monitor healing in a hip replacement, etc. How about a sensor inside the breast implant that could monitor a change in pressure when the implant breaks? Or the presence of blood or organic molecules seeping in?

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