Breast implants enlarge the breasts through indwelling materials such as saline and silicone gel contained within a silicone elastomer bag. There are millions of women every year who travel on airlines carrying their own ‘internal’ baggage inside their breasts. It is neither evident or scanned and their presence is a most personal issue and not relevant to airline safety. But on a recent flight from Columbia to Spain, a female passenger had more than just standard breast implants. Tipped off by blood-soaked gauze sponges under her breasts, airport security ultimately discovered by surgical extraction that she had packs of cocaine contained within her breast implants. While this may not be the most efficient form of drug smuggling by volume, it just shows how far the drug trade will go to smuggle contraband across borders. But such attempts in the U.S. are bound to be foiled by the use of full body scanning machines. Such scanners show many different kinds of implanted medical devices, from joint replacements to pacemakers, due to their metal components. But breast implants are not excluded just because they lack metal. They are still seen in the scanners and any change in their internal smooth imaged consistency, such as a bag of cocaine, will be discerned.
Dr. Barry Eppley