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Can My Breast Implants Freeze in Alaska?

This blog by Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Tim Neavin tries to answer one of the most profound questions next to “the meaning of life”: “Can your breast implants freeze in Alaska?”

Recently on my radio show with Dr. Gordon, I received a very interesting question from a listener in Nome, Alaska. It came from a woman who had a breast augmentation a few months ago. She wanted to know if her breast implants could freeze in extremely cold weather.

The answer, is “yes”, with two conditions. One, the implants must be saline. The second criteria, is that the person must freeze to death first.

Breast implants are composed of either saline or silicone. Saline refers to them being salt water. Salt water has a freezing temperature lower than pure water. The ocean can freeze at approximately –2 C or 28 or 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Saline breast implants would act similarly, and because the body is composed mainly of salt water, saline implants should heat and cool similarly to the way your body heats and cools. Silicone breast implants act slightly different. I’m not aware of a freezing point for silicone. Silicone implants tend to always be at a temperature somewhere between body temperature and the temperature of the surroundings, and their temperature will change slower than the surface of your skin when your surroundings change.

While being in cold weather won’t freeze your saline or silicone breast implants, being in hot whether is a bit different. For one, hot weather will not harm your breast implant weather it is saline or silicone. The heat of a sauna should not damage breast implants. Silicone melts at over 200°C (392°F), which should be nowhere near the temperature of even a Russian sauna (VODA Spa on Santa Monica, anyone?). However, most sauna manufacturers recommend that you check with your surgeon and the manufacturer of the implants before using a sauna.

But it IS possible that the breast implant can harm your skin in excessive heat. This is very, very rare. Hot tubs go up to about 106 degrees and are safe for your breast implants. Saunas can approach 200 degrees, perhaps even more, which again, is perfectly safe for your implant. However, the silicone implant can heat as well, particularly if you have little breast tissue, and this heat CAN be transmitted to the breast tissue which would then be heated from inside AND outside. This COULD theoretically burn tissue, although I am personally unaware of any cases.

What is still rare but more likely is a burn from a heating pad placed on a chest with breast implants. If you put a localized source of high heat directly on the breast, like a hot water bottle or heating pad, the implant will gradually warm up, and your breast skin will then be getting heat from both outside and inside – and you can burn the breast skin. Do not put heating pads on the breast if you have breast implants. And do not fall asleep nude in Nome, Alaska.

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