THERE IS widespread interest in the silicones among plastic surgeons. Their employment has become standard practice for certain procedures, and their potential uses are rapidly increasing. It is, therefore, apropos at this time to discuss the types of available silicones and their applications.
The silicones are entirely synthetic materials which are never found in nature. They are polymers but differ greatly from plastics in their chemical makeup. Whereas the latter are based on long carbon chains, the silicones are based upon a backbone of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms. To each silicon atom are attached two organic groups. In the simplest silicones these are two methyl groups but can also be others such as phenyls. Thus the silicones offer the inertness and durability of inorganic materials and yet have the versatility of the organic plastics.
These linear silicone polymers can be short or long. The short chains are fluids of