Silicone Breast Implants Raise the Risk for Rare Health Problems

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Women who have silicone implants are at higher risk for a number of adverse, sometimes rare, health problems, including Sjogren's syndrome, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to an analysis of the largest prospective study on silicone breast implant safety to date, done by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The analysis involved about 100,000 women enrolled in large post-approval studies mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 to monitor long-term health and safety outcomes of silicone implants. More than 80,000 of the women received silicone-gel implants from 2007 to 2010, and the others have sterile saline implants. Reasons for getting the implants varied:

  • 72 percent were for primary breast augmentation (to increase the size or change the shape)
  • 15 percent were for revision breast augmentation (to replace old breast implants with new ones)
  • 10 percent were for primary breast reconstruction (implants after partial or complete mastectomy)
  • 3 percent were for revision breast reconstruction (to replace old post-mastectomy breast implants with new ones)

According to the researchers, compared to the general population, women who received silicone implants were at increased risk for:

  • Sjogren's syndrome (eight times higher risk)
  • scleroderma (seven times higher)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (six times higher)
  • stillbirth (four and a half times higher)
  • melanoma (four times higher)

Sourced from: Annals of Surgery