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J Clin Epidemiol. 1994 Oct;47(10):1211-4.

Breast silicone implants and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


The uncertain safety of breast implants has been a major controversy of late, both in the lay press and in the scientific literature. A case-control study had been performed in the Philadelphia metropolitan area during 1985-1987 to investigate potential risk factors for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A total of 219 eligible cases who met the American Rheumatism Association criteria for SLE were identified from the medical practices of cooperating rheumatologists in the area; 195 (89%) of these were enrolled in the study. Friends of the cases, matched to the cases on sex and age (+/- 5 years) served as controls. For the current investigation, conducted during June 1992 through September 1992, we attempted to re-contact each of these individuals. Using a short telephone interview, we asked each subject to provide information on any surgery that they may have had prior to the index date, i.e. the year of diagnosis of SLE in the cases and the same year for the age-matched friend controls. Specific questions were asked about plastic surgery in general and breast implants in particular. 148 (75.9%) of the 195 SLE cases being sought and 111 (77.6%) of the 143 controls being sought agreed to be re-interviewed for this study. Only 1 (0.8%) out of 133 female SLE cases reported having had a breast implant, 8 years prior to the diagnosis of SLE. This compared to 0 out of the 100 female friend controls (Fisher exact one-tailed p-value = 0.57).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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