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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lack of evidence of systemic inflammatory rheumatic disorders in symptomatic women with breast implants.

Breast implants containing silicone have been used for approximately 30 years for breast augmentation or reconstruction. In general, the implants have been well tolerated and reports have indicated a high degree of patient satisfaction. Nonetheless, there have been anecdotal reports of patients with musculoskeletal complaints that have been attributed to silicone breast implants. To investigate this further, we prospectively examined 70 women with silicone breast implants who had complaints that they or their referring physicians thought were related to their implants. On clinical examination, the majority of the patients had fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, or soft-tissue rheumatism. One patient had rheumatoid arthritis, which predated her implants, and one had Sjõgren's syndrome. Because many of our patients had myalgic symptoms, we further evaluated these patients by measuring circulating levels of soluble factors including interleukin-6, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and soluble interleukin-2 receptor, which have been previously found to be elevated in patients with inflammatory diseases. We found that the levels of these molecules in women with silicone breast implants were not different from those seen in normal subjects and were significantly less than those seen when examining chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. In summary, our clinical and laboratory evaluation of symptomatic breast implant patients argues against an association of silicone breast implants with a distinctive rheumatic disease or a systemic inflammatory disorder. Given these findings and the clinical picture, it is our impression that most symptomatic women with silicone breast implants have well-delineated noninflammatory musculoskeletal syndromes. Moreover, these data fail to support the concept that their symptoms are due to a systemic inflammatory response related to their implants.[1]


  1. Lack of evidence of systemic inflammatory rheumatic disorders in symptomatic women with breast implants. Blackburn, W.D., Grotting, J.C., Everson, M.P. Plast. Reconstr. Surg. (1997) [Pubmed]
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