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  • Dr. Marcel Daniels, Plastic Surgeon
    Dr. Marcel Daniels thinks that there are no adverse health issues to having silicone breast implants and has the research to back it up. Dr. Daniels is one of the plastic surgeons selected by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the research study on the safety of silicone implants. The results of this study culminated with the recent FDA approval of silicone implants in breast augmentations. Having used silicone implants in patients since 1997 at his Long Beach, California plastic surgery practice, Dr. Daniels offered us a glimpse into his experience as a clinical investigator for the FDA study and his thoughts about silicone implants. This interview is part of a series that Make Me Heal is conducting with well-known plastic surgeons who specialize in breast augmentation.

    Make Me Heal: Describe your role and experience as a physician in the FDA study group for silicone implants. Please describe how many women were part of the study and the number of years of the study.

    Dr. Daniels: My role in the study was to ensure patients qualified and were followed post-operatively for five years with regular check-ups. The study began in 1997 and technically ended with the FDA’s approval of silicone implants although these patients will continue to be followed. It involved thousands of patients from across the country.

    Make Me Heal: Why were the implants removed from the market in the first place?

    Dr. Daniels: The implants were removed amid concerns that leaking silicone implants were causing a plethora of health problems ranging from auto-immune disease to cancer, none of which was supported by legitimate scientific studies. It was a triumph of what we call “junk science”.

    Make Me Heal: What did the FDA study group find that led to the decision to lift the ban on silicone implants?

    Dr. Daniels: The study group provided the FDA with data that demonstrated the device’s safety and efficacy.

    Make Me Heal: What would you tell a patient to make them feel secure about opting to have silicone implants?

    Dr. Daniels: I would tell them that over 200 scientific studies have failed to find any statistically significant evidence of any adverse health effects of silicone implants.

    Make Me Heal: Should the FDA increase its educational and informational efforts to explain the public about the safety of the implant, or should that responsibility rest on the hands of the manufacturers and the physicians?

    Dr. Daniels: The FDA has placed the responsibility upon the manufacturers who are partnering with physicians to provide potential patients with a comprehensive overview of the risks and benefits of silicone implants. The scope of material provided to patients to help them make an informed decision is quite extensive.

    Make Me Heal: Is the silicone implant safer than the saline implant? What are the key advantages of each other?

    Dr. Daniels: The silicone implant is not safer than saline, it is merely another option open to women desirous of augmenting their breasts. Saline implants are easier to put in and it is easy to tell when they’ve leaked. Silicone implants tend to look and feel more natural and seem to be lasting longer due to the fact they are pre-filled and don’t have a valve.

    Make Me Heal: Do you think that there could be anything in the distant future that might replace silicone implants such as stem cell breast enhancement or nano-technology aided breast augmentation?

    Dr. Daniels: The future of breast augmentation will likely involve some form of tissue engineering or selective breast tissue stimulation.

    Make Me Heal: Have you started using silicone implants since the FDA approved their use?

    Dr. Daniels: I have been using silicone implants as a clinical investigator for the FDA study since 1997

    Make Me Heal: Do you think more women will opt for silicone implants than saline implants over the next 5 years? What percentage would you speculate will get silicone versus saline?

    Dr. Daniels: As the fear of silicone generated by the 1992 gel implant moratorium fades, the number of women opting for silicone over saline will steadily rise. In my practice approximately 90% choose silicone.

    Make Me Heal: Do you feel silicone implants look aesthetically better and more natural relative to saline implants?

    Dr. Daniels: Unnaturally large implants, whether silicone or saline, can look artificial. The key to a superior aesthetic result and natural look is dimensionally matching an implant to the individual patient.

    Make Me Heal: Do silicone implants feel more “real” to the touch compared to saline implants?

    Dr. Daniels: Without a doubt, silicone gel is the gold standard for a natural feeling augmented breast. The thinner a patient’s tissue is the more they will feel the ripples and edges of saline implants. Conversely, in thicker tissued patients the choice of implant has less of an impact on how natural a breast feels.

    Make Me Heal: Are silicone implants lighter, heavier, or have the same weight as their saline counterparts?

    Dr. Daniels: Equal volumes (cc’s) weigh about the same

    Make Me Heal: Is the recovery from having silicone implants any different from having saline implants?

    Dr. Daniels: I believe that saline implants are more unyielding and “harder” on tissue so the recovery time is longer for saline than silicone.

    Make Me Heal: Do you think silicone implants present any safety issue as far as rupturing and the potential health effects if silicone leaked to other parts of the body?

    Dr. Daniels: All implants eventually rupture but there is not a single scientific study that has shown a statistically significant link between ruptured implants and adverse health effects. The silicone gel being used today is significantly thicker than previous implants and the potential for gel migration greatly lessened.

    Make Me Heal: If you do not believe that there are any safety downsides to using silicone implants, are there any remaining advantages to getting saline implants now that the FDA approved silicone implants?

    Dr. Daniels: The main advantage of a saline implant is you know when it has leaked (you get a “flat”). Saline implants are also less expensive and can be put through a slightly shorter scar. They can also be placed through incisions in the belly button and the armpit which you usually can’t do with a silicone implant without damaging it.

    Make Me Heal: What is the ideal profile of a woman who should elect for silicone implants?

    Dr. Daniels: One who is comfortable with the science supporting the safety of the device and is desirous of the most natural feeling breast.

    Make Me Heal: What is the profile of a woman who should not elect to have silicone implants?

    Dr. Daniels: One who has any doubts about the safety of the device.

    Make Me Heal: Finally, we wanted to ask you a few questions that patients who contemplate breast augmentation frequently ask that are not related to the silicone implants subject:

    What is the best incision in your opinion?

    Dr. Daniels: There is no best incision. Incisional choice is dictated by many factors (surgeon preference, patient anatomy, etc.)

    Make Me Heal: Is it true that there is usually no loss of sense of touch of the nipples?

    Dr. Daniels: There is about a 10% chance of nipple numbness from the surgery and this may be related to implant size or incision location.

    Make Me Heal: Do breasts with implants experience greater sagging over time than natural breasts?

    Dr. Daniels: Larger breasts whether real or augmented can and do sag with time. Gravity does not have a preference for one over the other.

    Make Me Heal: Name celebrities that you think had great breast augmentations and celebrities that you think had bad breast augmentations?

    Dr. Daniels: In my opinion, the ones with great augmentations are the ones that leave an element of doubt or whose chest looks proportional whereas those that look out of proportion (think Pamela Anderson or Tara Reid) give breast augmentation a bad name.


    Make Me Heal: Please comment on the following actresses and which ones you believe had breast augmentations and why you believe so? Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale, Salma Hayek, Jessica Simpson, Halle Berry, Lindsay Lohan, Charlize Theron.

    Dr. Daniels: Clothes, wonderbras and Photoshop all have ways of confusing the issue so short of asking them to all to strip down to the waist in front of me (the things I do in the interest of “science”!) any speculation on their chests is idle at best….

    Based in Long Beach, California, Dr. Marcel Daniels is a graduate of UC Irvine and the USC School of Medicine. Dr. Daniels obtained his residency in surgery at University of Arizona-Tucson and his residency in plastic surgery at the prestigious Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts. Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, he is a member of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a fellow of the International College of Surgeons.

    Dr. Daniels created his practice “Image Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery” with the belief that providing quality surgical care is only one aspect of a successful practice. He recognizes that each patient is an individual with unique goals, desires and concerns. The decision to have cosmetic surgery is not made lightly and can only be made when one is thoroughly informed. That is why Dr. Daniels goes to great lengths to listen to each patient and helps them select the procedure that has the best chance of meeting their expectations. Dr. Daniels understands that an operation is only a small portion of the patient’s experience at Image Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery. To ensure the best possible care, he has selected his support staff with two qualities in mind: they are skilled in their field and they enjoy their work. Every patient that walks through our doors soon realizes that Dr. Daniels and his staff are all committed to creating as enjoyable and satisfying an experience as possible.

    For more information, visit Dr. Daniels’ website at: www.imagemd.com.

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