The risks behind the widespread use of siliconized syringes in the healthcare practice

Gustavo Barreto Melo*, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Eduardo Büchele Rodrigues

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

7 Scopus citations


Injections are widely performed in the healthcare practice. Silicone has long been thought to be an inert and harmless material. Although used for decades in medical implants, including heart valves, breast implants, and as a tamponade for retinal detachment surgery, silicone oil might have deleterious effects. Agitation of the syringe to expel air at the moment of drug preparation not only leads to silicone oil release but also to therapeutic protein aggregation. Lab studies have shown that silicone oil microdroplets can act as an adjuvant to promote a break in immunological tolerance and induce antibody response. Similarly, recent studies have suggested a causal link between agitation of siliconized syringes and ocular inflammation after intravitreal injection. Systemically, silicone oil has been reported in association with autoimmune diseases and skin granuloma after either direct injection of dermal fillers or secondary leakage from silicone breast implant. However, it has not been established yet a potential link between the silicone oil released by the syringes and such relevant systemic adverse events. Few professionals are aware that agitation of a siliconized syringe might lead to silicone oil release, which, in turn, acts an adjuvant to an increased immunogenicity. We strongly recommend that every healthcare professional be aware of the use of silicone oil in the syringe manufacturing process, the factors that promote its release and the potential complications to the organism. Ultimately, we recommend that safer syringes be widely available.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalInternational Journal of Retina and Vitreous
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ASIA syndrome
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Breast implant
  • Dermal filler
  • Inflammation
  • Intravitreal injection
  • Silicone oil
  • Subcutaneous injection
  • Syringe
  • Vaccination


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