Silicone and autoimmunity

Steven D. Hajdu, Nancy Agmon-Levin, Yehuda Shoenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (2): 203-211Background Since the 1960s, silicone implants have been successfully used for breast augmentation and reconstruction. However, safety issues regarding the use of silicone have led to a moratorium by the US Food and Drug Administration between 1992 and 2006.Design To date, although the moratorium has been removed and women overwhelmingly prefer silicone over saline implants, local and systemic adverse effects still remain a concern.Results Silicone-elicited inflammatory fibro-proliferative response and capsular contracture is irrefutable. Studies on silicone breast implants have not supported a relationship to carcinogenesis, whereas that to autoimmunity mainly to nondefined autoimmune phenomena seems very plausible. These silicone-related autoimmune adverse events termed 'siliconosis' are probably limited to a small minority of implanted patients.Conclusions Risk factors, such as characteristic environmental exposure and/or genetic predisposition, still require further elucidation. Similarly to antibacterial agents, texturized implants and Zafirlukast that were found to be beneficial in inhibiting fibro-proliferative response and capsular contracture, elucidating autoimmune-related risk factors might subsequently enable physicians to accurately predict long-term health status of silicone implant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Autoimmune
  • Breast implants
  • Cancer
  • Capsular contracture
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Silicone


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