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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Jul;114(1):204-14; discussion 215-6.

Untreated silicone breast implant rupture.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark. lisbet@cancer.dk

Abstract

Implant rupture is a well-known complication of breast implant surgery that can pass unnoticed by both patient and physician. To date, no prospective study has addressed the possible health implications of silicone breast implant rupture. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether untreated ruptures are associated with changes over time in magnetic resonance imaging findings, serologic markers, or self-reported breast symptoms. A baseline magnetic resonance imaging examination was performed in 1999 on 271 women who were randomly chosen from a larger cohort of women having cosmetic breast implants for a median period of 12 years (range, 3 to 25 years). A follow-up magnetic resonance imaging examination was carried out in 2001, excluding women who underwent explantation in the period between the two magnetic resonance imaging examinations (n = 44). On the basis of these examinations, the authors identified 64 women who had at least one ruptured implant at the first magnetic resonance imaging examination and, for comparison, all women who had intact implants at both examinations (n = 98). Magnetic resonance images from the two examinations were compared and changes in rupture configuration were evaluated. Comparisons were also made for self-reported breast symptoms occurring during the study period and for changes in serum values of antinuclear antibodies, rheumatoid factor, and cardiolipin antibodies immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M. The majority of the women with implant rupture had no visible magnetic resonance imaging changes of their ruptured implants. For 11 implants (11 percent) in 10 women, the authors observed progression of silicone seepage, either as a conversion from intracapsular into extracapsular rupture (n = 7), as progression of extra-capsular silicone (n = 3), or as increasing herniation of the silicone within the fibrous capsule (n = 1); however, in most cases, these changes were minor. Some changes could be ascribed to trauma, but others seemed spontaneous. There was no increase in levels of autoantibodies during the study period in either study group. Women with untreated implant ruptures reported a significant increase in nonspecific breast changes (odds ratio, 2.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 3.8) compared with women without ruptures. On the basis of this first study of women with untreated silicone breast implant rupture, the authors conclude that implant rupture is a relatively harmless condition, which only rarely progresses and gives rise to notable symptoms. Even so, because of a small risk of silicone spread, the authors suggest that women with implant ruptures be followed clinically, if not operated on. Because implant ruptures often occur asymptomatically, any woman with silicone implants, regardless of rupture status, should be evaluated at regular intervals.

PMID:
15220594
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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