Silicone breast implant rupture presenting as bilateral leg nodules

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2009 Jul;34(5):e99-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2008.03196.x. Epub 2009 May 5.


Gross migration of silicone gel from ruptured breast implants is a rare event. It is associated with extravasation of gel into the breast parenchyma, and to distant locations such as the abdominal wall and inguinal areas. This silicone deposits present as subcutaneous nodules and cause a local reaction known as siliconoma. We evaluated a 56-year-old woman who presented with a 2-year history of painful, firm and ill-defined subcutaneous nodules on the medial aspect of the shins and ankles. Her medical history was notable for bilateral breast augmentation with silicone implants 30 years before presentation. Although there were no signs or symptoms on breast examination, ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging confirmed that both implants had ruptured. Histological examination of a punch biopsy from a nodule on the shin found lobular granulomatous panniculitis. An excisional biopsy of the lesion was analysed by scanning electron microscopy and was found to contain silicone. This is a rare case of gross migration of silicone to the shins, originating from ruptured breast implants. To our knowledge, there is no previous report of silicone migration to such a distant location. We discuss the common presentation of silicone migration and highlight the importance of awareness among dermatologists and plastic surgeons about this unusual occurrence.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Breast Implants / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology
  • Humans
  • Leg Dermatoses / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Silicone Gels / adverse effects


  • Silicone Gels