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Long-Term Health Status of Danish Women with Silicone Breast Implants

Breiting, Vibeke B. M.D.; Hölmich, Lisbet R. M.D.; Brandt, Bodil M.D.; Fryzek, Jon P. Ph.D.; Wolthers, Mette S. M.D.; Kjøller, Kim M.D.; McLaughlin, Joseph K. Ph.D.; Wiik, Allan M.D., D.M.Sc.; Friis, Søren M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: July 2004 - Volume 114 - Issue 1 - p 217-226
doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000128823.77637.8A

Long-term safety data are important in the evaluation of possible adverse health outcomes related to silicone breast implants. The authors evaluated long-term symptoms and conditions and medication use among 190 Danish women with cosmetic silicone breast implants compared with 186 women who had undergone breast reduction surgery and with 149 women from the general population. Breast implant and reduction surgeries were performed from 1973 to 1988 at one public hospital and one private plastic surgery clinic. Among women with breast implants, the average implantation time was 19 years, 60 percent (n = 114) had only one implantation, and 10 percent (n = 19) had undergone explantation before the time of study (1997 to 1998). The authors found no material differences in self-reported diseases or symptoms among study groups, except for breast pain, which was reported nearly three times as often by women with implants than by women with breast reduction (odds ratio, 2.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 5.3). Approximately 80 percent of women in each study group reported at least one symptom. No consistent differences were observed in the seroprevalences of antinuclear antibodies or other autoantibodies. Self-reported use of psychotropic drugs was higher among women with breast implants than among either control group. The authors conclude that long-term cosmetic breast implantation may cause capsular contracture and breast pain but does not appear to be associated with other symptoms, diseases, or autoimmune reactivity. The authors’ finding of excess use of drugs for treatment of depression and anxiety among women with breast implants may warrant further investigation.

Holte, Copenhagen, and Herlev, Denmark; Rockville, Md.; and Nashville, Tenn.

From the Holte Clinic of Plastic Surgery; the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society; the Department of Plastic Surgery, Herlev University Hospital; the International Epidemiology Institute; the Department of Medicine and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and the Department of Autoimmunology, Statens Serum Institut.

Received for publication June 23, 2003; revised October 15, 2003.

Søren Friis, M.D., Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark,

©2004American Society of Plastic Surgeons