Senator Tom Coburn insisted that breast implants have no health risks, but studies say he’s wrong.

September 19, 2014

Women's Health


Back in 2005, Oklahoma Republican Senator insisted that breast implants had no harmful potential side effects. During a hearing on class action lawsuits, he stated:

“You know,” he said, “I immediately thought about silicone breast implants and the legal wrangling and the class-action suits off that.

“And I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you’re healthier than if you don’t. That is what the ultimate science shows. . . . In fact, there’s no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier.” (Source)

This is one of the strangest claims I have ever heard from a senator. Coburn is absolutely wrong. 

There is no peer-reviewed medical study that shows that women with breast implants are healthier. The FDA reports that out of all women who receive implants for augmentation, up to 20% need to have their implants removed within 8 to 10 years.

The FDA also recommends that women undergo an MRI test three years after initially receiving implants, and every two years after that to check for ruptures.

Their website shows a long list of health risks related to breast implants. See the full list here.

In short, some of the complication risks include:

  • Additional surgeries (with or without removal of implant)
  • Scar tissue formation squeezing the implant
  • Breast pain
  • Rupture of implants, deflation
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Inflammation/Irritation
  • Asymmetry
  • Calcium Deposits
  • Delayed Wound Healing

In other words, Tom Coburn made a highly irresponsible statement. The most troubling part of this story is that Tom Coburn has a medical degree from the University of Oklahoma Medical School. He worked as an obstetrician and had an excellent record as a physician. How can someone working in women’s health be unaware of something this simple?

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About jslachman381

I'm a Yale graduate who majored in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health.

View all posts by jslachman381


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