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Am J Surg Pathol. 1995 Apr;19(4):433-8.

Capsular synovial-like hyperplasia around mammary implants similar to detritic synovitis. A morphologic and immunohistochemical study of 15 cases.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021.


Formation of a fibrous envelope around the implant, a so-called capsule with resultant contracture of the prosthesis, is an occasional complication of augmentation mammoplasty. The capsulectomy specimen contains mature scar tissue with mononuclear cells, histiocytes, and foreign body giant cells. We studied 15 capsulectomy specimens. Seven showed a striking form of papillary villous synovial-like hyperplasia similar to detritic synovitis, a form of proliferative synovitis caused by orthopedic prosthetic devices. There was an accompanying infiltration of the subcapsular surface by mononuclear cells, giant cells, and chronic inflammatory cells. This reaction was independent of the type of prosthetic device. In one case, foreign material consistent with polyurethane was demonstrated by histology and electron microscopy. Among eight cases without capsular synovial-like hyperplasia (CSH), two showed dense fibrous tissue with foamy macrophages, and the rest showed fat necrosis, foreign body giant cell reaction, and occasional evidence of foreign material, including silicone granulomas. We stained four of the CSH, two with silicone granulomas, and one sample with dense fibrous tissue with peanut agglutinin and antibodies against vimentin and S-100 protein. Selected cases were also stained for concanavalin A and cytokeratin. CSH stained for concanavalin A, peanut agglutinin, and vimentin but was negative for cytokeratin. Our cases showed a striking similarity in the staining pattern of CSH, detritic synovitis, and normal synovium. We conclude that CSH of the mammary prosthetic capsule is pathophysiologically similar to proliferative synovitis.

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