Epidemiologic studies have found no association between breast implants and cancer or well-defined connective tissue diseases. However, women with cosmetic breast implants continue to report specific as well as nonspecific physical and psychological symptoms after receiving their implants. In an attempt to determine whether local complications of implantation may contribute to this excess of symptom reporting, the authors studied a large cohort of women in Sweden with cosmetic breast implants (n = 1280) and a comparison cohort of women who had cosmetic breast reduction surgery (n = 2211). Both groups of women had operations between 1969 and 1996. Medical record reviews of local complications revealed that approximately 31 percent of the women with cosmetic breast implants had an implant change, implant leakage, or a capsulotomy. Capsulotomies occurred more often in women who were age 35 or older at the time of the operation, had ever smoked, and had implants with a smooth surface. On self-administered questionnaires, symptoms were reported more often by the women who had implants regardless of whether they had local complications. Twenty of the 28 symptoms occurred more frequently among women with local complications and breast implants, compared with the women in the breast reduction comparison group or the women with breast implants but no local complications. This study suggests that local complications, particularly capsular contractures as indicated by capsulotomy, may be an important factor to consider when studying symptom reporting among women with breast implants. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 107: 214, 2001.)
Rockville, Md., and Uppsala and Stockholm, Sweden
From the International Epidemiology Institute; the Department of Plastic Surgery, Uppsala University Hospital; and the Department of Medical Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute. Received for publication January 27, 2000; revised March 29, 2000.
Jon P. Fryzek, Ph.D. International Epidemiology Institute 1455 Research Boulevard Suite 550 Rockville, Md. 20850 fryzek@.aol.com