Silicone breast implants and autoimmunity: causation, association, or myth?

J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 1995;7(2):133-45. doi: 10.1163/156856295x00652.


In vivo and in vitro studies, case reports and population studies show that: (1) silicone is immunogenic; (2) silicone is biodegradable and transported via the reticuloendothelial system to distant locations; (3) silicone breast implants "leak" and in turn silicone migrates outside the breast tissue; (4) case reports and population studies document an autoimmune reaction and immunological dysfunction in patients with silicone breast implants; (5) these immunological abnormalities and symptoms are reversible upon removal of the breast implants (in 50-70% of cases). The criteria to establish medical causation are defined, and based on those criteria it is concluded that silicone breast implants cause immunological disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Biocompatible Materials / standards
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Breast Implants / adverse effects*
  • Breast Implants / standards
  • Causality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Silicones / adverse effects*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Biomarkers
  • Silicones