What is known about silicone breast implants is that fibrous capsule contracture occurs in about 70% of cases two to four years after implantation. The rate of complications – which include breast pain, contracture, rupture, infection, implant migration requiring surgery – approaches 50% at 10 years. In a Mayo Clinic study, there was a 30% failure rate at 7.8 years. Rheumatologists have described a veritable array of symptoms in more than 1,000 patients with silicone breast implants.
Autoantibodies to collagen and extracellular matrix proteins and abnormalities of cell-mediated immunity have been found in women with silicone implants and not in controls. There does not appear to be a serologic marker consistently associated with rheumatic disease in these patients. These findings suggest that silicone implants may cause immune dysfunction and rheumatic disease in some patients, but it is very difficult to prove.
In more than 80% of over 1,000 females with breast implants who were referred to neurologists at Baylor College of Medicine, mild to severe short-term memory loss was discovered. Many of the individuals experienced a 70% recovery when the implants and any loose silicone surrounding them was removed. SPECT testing of 15 of the women found diminished blood flow to the temporal lobe. When the SPECT testing was done after the silicone was removed there was increased blood flow to the temporal lobes.
Plastic surgeon and president of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery said the patients in this study are not representative of all silicone breast implant patients and that this was a highly biased and selected group of women being fewer than a thousand out of the million U.S. women who have had breast implants. You are left to draw your own conclusions.
While most women will not have systemic problems from their silicone breast implants, the rate of local problems is much higher, and increases with the passage of time.
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