The History of Injectable Silicone Fluids for Soft-Tissue Augmentation

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Background:The debate over the legitimacy of silicone as a safe tool for soft-tissue augmentation has spanned well over half a century. Proponents concede that injections of questionable purity and/or of massive quantities have produced unfavorable outcomes. They assert that in experienced hands with “injectable-grade” silicone, there are very few problems. Despite these claims, the literature is replete with disastrous outcomes following silicone fluid injection, often many years after the initial treatment.Methods:An extensive review of the English-language literature was conducted using MEDLINE.Results:A comprehensive review of injectable silicones was completed, revealing the origins, misuses, early clinical trials, and support for and against the injection of silicone fluids for the augmentation of soft tissues.Conclusions:A better understanding of the history of injectable silicone fluids for soft-tissue augmentation can give insight into the pitfalls and complications surrounding its use. There has been an evolution in the technique and type of products used for soft-tissue augmentation. In its current use, silicone oil for permanent soft-tissue augmentation could be a very powerful tool. There is some literature that supports the use of a small amount of purified, high-viscosity silicone oil; however, there has not been a single longitudinal study to date with appropriate follow-up data. The unanswered question remains: Are the risks worth the potential benefits of silicone oil as a permanent filler?

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