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Breast-Feeding and Silicone Implants

Semple, John L. M.D., M.Sc.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: December 2007 - Volume 120 - Issue 7 - p 123S-128S
doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000286579.27852.ed

Background: Despite the overwhelming advantages of breast-feeding, there is a persistent concern that maternal exposure to chemical contaminants may result in contamination of breast milk and have an effect on the child’s growth and development. A parallel concern regarding lactation in women with silicone implants over the past years has led to confusion and anxiety relating to the potential risks to the child.

Methods: The author reviewed the facts and issues as he knows them, including biomaterials, lactation toxicology, and a previous study where no difference was found in silicon (a proxy measurement of silicone) in women breast-feeding with silicone implants and those without.

Results: In the author’s previous study, he compared women with implants to women without implants as controls and showed that mean silicon levels were not significantly different in breast milk (55.45 ± 35 and 51.05 ± 31 ng/ml, respectively) or in blood (79.29 ± 87 and 103.76 ± 112 ng/ml, respectively). However, silicon levels in alternative methods of infant nutrition were much higher. The mean silicon level measured in store-bought cow’s milk was 708.94 ng/ml, whereas that for 26 brands of commercially available infant formula was 4402.5 ng/ml.

Conclusions: In this review, the author looked only at silicon/silicone and did not address other potential contaminants that may be associated with silicone gel or the elastomer shell. This report may provide plastic surgeons and other healthcare workers with information regarding silicon/silicone for discussion with women with gel implants who are contemplating breast-feeding.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Women’s College Hospital, and the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto.

Disclosure:The author has no financial interest in any of the products, devices, or drugs mentioned in this article.

Received for publication March 12, 2007; accepted June 7, 2007.

John L. Semple, M.D., M.Sc., Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, 76 Grenville Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1B2, Canada,

©2007American Society of Plastic Surgeons