Most vegans were probably not moved to the cause by a concern over breast implants and equally it is not something that will have even crossed the minds of many vegans. None the less, the Is It Vegan? area of our site aims to be as comprehensive as practicable and possible, and we know this is a question that some people are asking. So, whatever your relationship to them is or thoughts on them may be, let us answer the question, are breast implants vegan?
Well, traditional breast implants come in two main forms, ones filled with a saline (salt water) solution and ones that use silicone gel instead. This difference is in fact moot, because either way the shell of the implant is made from silicone, so both saline and silicone implants utilise silicone.
Are Silicone Implants Vegan?
We have a specific feature that looks at the vegan credentials of silicone but, in short, we explain how it is essentially a polymer made from the elements silicon and oxygen. It comes in many guises and as far as our research suggests none of those use animal derivatives in the manufacturing process. The problem comes with silicone when it is used in a medical context, because virtually all medical products used in the UK must by law be tested on animals.
Medical grade silicone may be used in contact lenses, condoms and a range of other ways, including implants, be they for buttocks, pectoral muscles, testicles or indeed breasts. In many ways, only you as an individual can answer whether or not you consider such silicone to be vegan.
Most vegans tend to take the view that silicone is indeed vegan and, as we explain in our more specific feature on it, that appears to be a view endorsed by PETA. What’s more, the Vegan Society sell silicone wristbands on their website, although admittedly such silicone need not be medical grade! That said, some will feel that any animal testing, even if it is historic and for a medical product, renders the item or material being tested as non-vegan.
It really does come down to personal feeling and of course people may feel differently about using silicone depending on the motivation. A vegan may feel that such implants should be avoided but find it more acceptable if, for example, the breast or testicle implant is due to reconstructive surgery. Once again, where you decide to draw your own personal line is, well, personal.
Vegan Friendly Breast Implants
If you decide that silicone implants are not for you due to the issue of animal testing then, as in so many aspects of vegan life, fear not – there is a vegan-friendly alternative. They are not really implants in the normal sense of the word and do not entail having a foreign object inside your body and for some this is another benefit of vegan breast augmentation.
This procedure is offered by a number of surgeons and “involves taking fat from one part of the body and grafting it into the breasts for natural enhancement.” As well as being vegan, it also offers other benefits as compared to traditional implants, including minimal scarring and being permanent.
Given this possibility some may feel more inclined to view traditional implants as being non-vegan. Ultimately though, we would argue that it’s down to the individual to decide, not least because there are far bigger vegan issues to consider and battles to fight.
Now you have all the information on this topic hopefully you are better informed to make that decision though, whatever you decide.