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So all my friends were wondering, when a woman with breast implants dies, do they remove them or bury them with her?

-- Ashley, the net

The elves have had a great time speculating about why you'd be forbidden from being buried with your implants. Risk of silicone groundwater contamination? Potential explosions? Then they worked on why a person would request that the implants be removed. To recycle them as sentimental throw pillows? Pass them on to your daughter and her daughter and on and on for generations of women with heirloom enhancements until one day they show up on Antiques Roadshow? People have been buried with their Harley-Davidsons, so who'd worry about a couple of bags of salt water or plastic.

According to professionals who prep bodies for burial or cremation, about the only worrisome things inside us are pacemakers. Occasionally the electrical heart devices are removed before a cremation since they can burst under the intense heat, which could cause damage to some types of incinerators.

But say Uncle Al has a titanium hip, or pins in his shins, or a plate in his head. He certainly would be buried with the hardware, and he also would be cremated with it. Once Al's been reduced to ashes, mortuaries discard metal implants. If for some reason the family can't bear to see any part of Al hit the Dumpster, they can negotiate to get the metal parts back, but only after they've been through the 1500-degree fire to remove flesh and pathogens. Apparently people believe they can resell the parts as scrap or on eBay to people who want discount transplants. Maybe you can scour a parts yard for a transmission for your Chevy, but medical parts don't work that way. The grieving widow usually changes her mind when she finds out Al's hip has no resale value.

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