Self-Reported Symptoms among Women after Cosmetic Breast Implant and Breast Reduction Surgery


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Abstract

A retrospective cohort study was performed in Sweden to evaluate the possibility that an individual symptom or constellation of illness symptoms related to silicone occurs in women after breast implant surgery. A random sample (n = 2500) of all women in the Swedish national implant registry who underwent breast augmentation surgery with alloplastic breast implants during the years 1965 through 1993 was compared with a sample (n = 3500) of women who underwent breast reduction surgery during the same period, frequency matched to the implant patients for age and calendar year at the time of surgery. In total, 65 percent of the breast implant patients (n = 1546) and 72 percent of the breast reduction patients (n = 2496) completed a self-administered questionnaire covering 28 rheumatologic and other symptoms and lifestyle and demographic factors. Practically all of the 28 symptoms inquired about were reported more often by women in the breast implant cohort, with 16 (57 percent) significantly more common in breast implant recipients. In contrast, few significant differences or consistent patterns were observed in the length of time since the implant and in the type (silicone or saline) or volume of the implant. Although women with breast implants report a multitude of symptoms more often than women who have breast reduction surgery, the lack of specificity and absence of dose-response relationships suggest that the excess of reported symptoms is not causally related to cosmetic implants. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 107: 206, 2001.)

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