Sclerodermalike esophageal disease in children breast-fed by mothers with silicone breast implants

JAMA. 1994 Jan 19;271(3):213-6. doi: 10.1001/jama.1994.03510270059040.


Objective: To determine whether breast-fed children of mothers with silicone implants are at increased risk for the development of sclerodermalike esophageal involvement compared with children not exposed to silicone implants.

Design: Case-series [corrected].

Setting: Referral-based pediatric gastroenterology clinic.

Patients: Eleven children (mean age, 6.0 years; range, 1.5 to 13 years; six boys and five girls) referred for abdominal pain who were born to mothers who had silicone breast implants (eight breast-fed children and three bottle-fed) were compared with 17 patients (mean age, 10.7 years; range, 2 to 18 years; 11 boys and six girls) with abdominal pain who were not exposed to silicone implants.

Methods: All children underwent esophageal manometry and upper intestinal endoscopy with esophageal biopsy and were tested for antinuclear antibody and autoantibodies to Scl-70, centromere, ribonucleoprotein, Sm, Ro, La, and phospholipid.

Results: Six of the eight breast-fed children from mothers with silicone implants had significantly abnormal esophageal motility with nearly absent peristalsis in the distal two thirds of the esophagus and decreased lower sphincter pressure. Upper esophageal pressures and motility were normal. Compared with controls, the breast-fed children had significantly decreased lower sphincter pressure and abnormal esophageal wave propagation. These manometric abnormalities were not seen in the three bottle-fed children. There was no difference in the expression of autoantibodies in the breast-fed children compared with the bottle-fed children or controls.

Conclusions: A relationship appears to exist between breast-feeding by mothers with silicone implants and abnormal esophageal motility. Studies evaluating larger numbers of children are needed to determine the extent of the risk.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / analysis
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Esophageal Diseases / etiology*
  • Esophageal Diseases / immunology
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Esophagus / pathology
  • Esophagus / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mammaplasty
  • Manometry
  • Prostheses and Implants* / adverse effects
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / etiology
  • Silicones* / adverse effects


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Silicones