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In this very cold and arctic winter, it is no surprise that I have heard more than one breast augmentation patient ask if their implants could freeze. The answer, of course, is no since they are placed within one’s body under the muscle and the temperature around them never drops below 98 degrees F.  The exception, however, is if the person froze first.

But for the purpose of scientific discussion, can breast implants freeze? (when out of the body) That depends on whether one is talking about saline or silicone breast implants. A saline implant refers to one filled with essentially salt water. The addition of salt in the water drops its freezing temperature but not appreciably. Using salt water as a corollary, it has a freezing temperature lower than pure water at roughly 29 degrees F or -2 degrees C. As the saline fluid freezes, its volume expands but the stretch of the silastic shell that contains it does not result in its disruption. This can be quickly confirmed by placing a saline breast implant in the freezer.

Breast Implants and Freezing Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisSilicone breast implants act quite differently as the temperature drops below the freezing point of saline. Even after days in a freezer, a silicone breast implant does not freeze. It may feel quite cold but it does not lose any of its physical properties that are felt at room temperature…it remains soft and very flexible. Polymerized silicone gel (polydimethylsiloxane) has good working properties across a very broad range of temperatures from -55 degrees F to 300 degrees F. Below that temperature it becomes stiff or close to the equivalent of frozen. Interestingly even though a silicone breast implant does not freeze, it will feel colder than a frozen solid saline breast implant. This makes it a good cold compress after surgery or injury as it also adapts well to the body site. (the basis of many cold gel packs)

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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