In car accidents, the chest wall is often subjected to high pressure. This can lead to rib fractures even at low speeds, i.e. under 20 kilometers per hour. US researchers from Spokane and Seattle conducted a study to examine whether silicone implants affect the risk of injury in women – and found that the additional padding actually has an effect.

However, the researchers did not use crash test dummies in real cars for the study. They simulated the impact with a drop tower. Different gel blocks were used for the experiment. The control blocks consisted exclusively of gel that simulated a natural breast; the researchers also equipped other specimens with a large, embedded 800 cubic centimeter breast implant.

The tower was adjusted so that its weight of 7.46 kilograms hit the gel blocks with a force of 1.9 kilonewtons. This is a known point for rib fractures, the scientists said. A comparable car accident involving a person weighing 70 kilograms who was not wearing a seatbelt would have occurred at around 16 kilometers per hour, it is said. The results of the study refer exclusively to rear-end collisions at low speeds, but without a seat belt being worn.

This is also of interest because many airbags only deploy at speeds above 20 km/h and accident victims in collisions below this threshold have to make do without the usual safety measures, depending on the conditions and the forces involved. Since it can sometimes just be a case of reparking, it cannot be ruled out that people are not wearing a seatbelt.

The result: “Breast implants reduce the maximum pressure to which the chest wall is exposed by 23 percent,” write the researchers in the conclusion of the study. “This suggests that patients with breast implants may be protected from chest wall injuries, such as rib and sternum fractures or lung contusions, when compared to the general, unrestrained population involved in a low-speed traffic accident .”

But of course there are clear limits at which point the theoretical protective effect of implants most likely no longer plays a role – and they can even develop into a danger. In another study using belted crash test dummies and smaller (and therefore more common) 300 cubic centimeter breast implants, Italian scientists at the Polytechnic University of Milan found that high-speed accidents can cause the implants to become damaged.

They write: “Crash tests have shown that an impact at a speed of 90 km/h could be enough to damage implants.” The researchers note that this speed also applies to new inserts, and older specimens are often even less resilient before the shell breaks.

Both studies are, of course, primarily experiments. It would be wrong to conclude from this that silicone implants actually have a reliable protective effect. Even the constant conditions in accident simulations in the laboratory do not reflect reality. In a car accident, numerous parameters play a role that a drop tower or a standardized crash test cannot reflect.

Quellen : European PubMed Central , MDPI