Cutaneous Hypersensitivity-Like Reactions Associated With Breast Implants: A Review

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Breast implantation is an increasingly common procedure for both cosmesis and reconstruction. Risk of cutaneous reactions to breast implants is low and typically described in postsurgical settings. Adverse skin hypersensitivity-like reactions to implants have also been reported but are not well described.


To review the scientific literature on cutaneous hypersensitivity-like reactions to breast implants.


A systematic literature review was conducted using PubMed. Articles pertaining to breast implants and cutaneous hypersensitivity-like reactions in humans were included.


In total, 10 studies on hypersensitivity-like reactions from breast implants were included in the review. Potential allergenic compounds in breast implants include silicone, polyurethane texturing, and acellular dermal matrix. Perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate was a common finding on histopathology. Patch testing and preoperative silicone cube implantation were used to determine sensitivity. Attempted treatments included topical and oral corticosteroids, montelukast and antibiotics. Most cases required implant removal for resolution of symptoms.


Cutaneous hypersensitivity-like reactions to breast implants seem to be rare complications, sometimes necessitating implant removal. Future studies are needed to establish their incidence and etiology, and the diagnostic role of patch testing and preoperative screening.

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