Silicone Survivors: Women's Experiences with Breast Implants

This work is a result of conversation with 40 women about perhaps one of the most sensitive issues of the body image and health - their breasts, the chief attributes of femininity. In the aftermath of the early 1990s controversy over the use of silicone breast implants, how do women decide to undergo surgery to enhance or reconstruct their bodies? How did they face the possibility of debilitating autoimmune disease from rupturing or leaking implants? Some opted for breast implants after masctectomies, others for cosmetic reasons. Some felt empowered by the surgery, others were pressured by their husbands. After surgery, some women were ecstatic, while others had a sense of inner conflict about what they had done to themselves, and others were angry. Having faced years of medical and personal uncertainty, many have coped by reassessing their lives and their relationships, by sharing information and support with other women with implants, outreach that became a means for self-empowerment.