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, 52 (3), 284-7

Breast Implants and Fibromyalgia: A Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence


Breast Implants and Fibromyalgia: A Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence

Loren Lipworth et al. Ann Plast Surg.


Although the collective epidemiologic literature does not support an association between silicone breast implants and any well-defined or atypical connective tissue disease, a recent study raised concern regarding an increased risk for fibromyalgia among women with extracapsular ruptured implants. In this review, we examine the results of 6 epidemiologic studies which have evaluated the occurrence of fibromyalgia among women with breast implants. Two large nationwide follow-up studies of women with breast implants in Sweden and Denmark reported relative risks for fibromyalgia of 1.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3 to 3.0) and for unspecified rheumatism (including fibromyalgia and myalgia) of 1.2 (95% CI 0.9 to 1.5), respectively. Similarly, both a case-control and a cross-sectional study conducted within rheumatic disease clinics reported no association between silicone breast implants and the subsequent development of fibromyalgia. The single positive finding, that of a greater than 2-fold excess of self-reported fibromyalgia among women with magnetic resonance imaging-diagnosed extra-capsular ruptures in one study, can be explained by selection bias and the use of an inappropriate reference group in the analyses. In the most recent study of indefinite connective tissue disease (including fibromyalgia) by rupture status, no association was found among unselected Danish women with ruptured implants (relative risk 1.0; 95% CI 0.3 to 3.0), and none of the women with extracapsular rupture reported fibromyalgia. Thus, the weight of the epidemiologic evidence is remarkably consistent and reassuring in failing to support an association between breast implants and subsequent fibromyalgia.

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