Silicone breast implant--associated musculoskeletal manifestations

Clin Rheumatol. 1995 Nov;14(6):667-72. doi: 10.1007/BF02207934.


Three hundred consecutive women with silicone breast implants (SBI), referred to the arthritis clinic with a variety of musculoskeletal complaints, were evaluated for the presence of underlying connective tissue disease. A complete history and physical examination were performed, as well as laboratory testing for C-reactive protein, rheumatoid factor; and autoantibody determination by indirect immunofluorescence and immunodiffusion. The group mean age was 44.4 years (range 25-69), the mean time from initial implant surgery to appearance of symptoms was 6.8 years (range: 6m-19y) and 83.3% of women studied had clinical manifestations highly suggestive of an underlying connective tissue disorder. Fifty-four percent met criteria for fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome, distinct connective tissue diseases was detected in 11%, undifferentiated connective tissue disease or human adjuvant disease was found in 10.6%, and a variety of disorders such as angioneurotic oedema, frozen shoulder, multiple sclerosis-like syndrome were present. Several other miscellaneous conditions including recurrent unexplained low grade fever, hair loss, skin rash, sicca symptoms, Raynaud's phenomenon, carpal tunnel syndrome, memory loss, headaches, chest pain, and shortness of breath were also seen accompanying specific and non-specific conditions. Seventy percent of patients who underwent explanation of the implants reported improvement of their systemic symptomatology. A significant proportion of SBI patients referred for rheumatic evaluation have clinical manifestations highly suggestive of an underlying connective tissue disease. Furthermore, improvement of their symptomatology follows explanation of the implants in over half of the patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / metabolism
  • Breast Implants / adverse effects*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rheumatoid Factor / metabolism
  • Silicones / adverse effects*


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Silicones
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Rheumatoid Factor