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J Med Case Rep. 2008 Aug 15;2:277. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-2-277.

Capsular synovial metaplasia mimicking silicone leak of a breast prosthesis: a case report.

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SpR in Trauma and Orthopaedics, Mayday University Hospital, Croydon, UK.



Synovial metaplasia around a prosthesis and in particular around silicone breast implants has been noted by various investigators, but has unknown clinical significance. We report on a patient where a large amount of synovial fluid mimicked rupture of an implant. We believe this to be an unusual clinical presentation of this phenomenon. Review of the English language literature failed to identify a comparable case.


A 25-year-old woman had undergone bilateral breast augmentation for cosmetic reasons. One implant was subsequently subjected to two attempts at expansion to correct asymmetry. The patient was later found to have a large quantity of viscous fluid around the port of that same prosthesis. Histological assessment of the implant had consequently confirmed capsular synovial metaplasia. This had initially caused the suspicion of a silicone 'bleed' from the implant and had resulted in an unnecessary explantation.


Capsular synovial metaplasia should be ruled out before the removal of breast implants where a leak is suspected. Manipulation and expansion of an implant may be risk factors for the development of synovial metaplasia.

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