Silicon tissue assays in nonaugmented cadaveric patients: is there a baseline level?

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1994 May;93(6):1117-22. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199405000-00001.


Microscopic silicone in various tissues in the bodies of females with breast implants has led to the possible incrimination of these implants with connective-tissue disorders. Current technology precludes accurate silicone measurements, but all compounds containing the element silicon (which would include silicone) may be measured accurately. Direct positive correlations of silicon assays with silicone measured levels were confirmed by adding known amounts of silicone oil as a control. With the ubiquitous nature of organosilicons (food containers, syringes, etc.), we hypothesized that baseline silicon levels could be detected in tissues of cadavers without silicone breast augmentation. Ten cadavers were examined. Tissue samples were derived from subcutaneous fat, nipple, breast tissue, liver, spleen, and axillary nodes. Nine of 10 cadavers had silicon levels in various tissues. Measurements were performed by direct current atomic emission spectroscopy. The baseline data were compared with those from four augmented patients who underwent capsulectomies and implant removal. Silicon levels were fivefold higher in the augmented patients than in the nonaugmented cadavers. No difference in levels was noted if the patient had an intact or ruptured implant and/or was symptomatic versus asymptomatic for immunologic disease. This study was designed to measure baseline silicon levels in the normal population. It also has established an accurate level of measurement of tissue silicone.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Reference Values
  • Silicon / analysis*
  • Tissue Distribution*


  • Silicon