Why Did I Have a Bad Reaction to Silicone- I've Heard There Are No Silicone Allergies?

BRCA 2 positive,Profolatic Double Mastectomy, bad reaction to expanders of brest reconstruction waited 6 months then tried again,reconstruction with sling instead of expanders, within 48 hrs after surgery,"massive reaction to the silicone Implants, emergency surgery to remove implants again, Dr. George Breaka states that there is no such thing as an allergic reaction to silicone! if that is the case, then what happened to me?

Doctor Answers 6

You can do silicone skin test

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Allergic reaction to the silicone is very rare,but if you had reaction and implants had to be removed,then you may get skin test to make sure. Silicone is in many food products(most spices have it).

New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

Bad Reaction to Silicone Implants

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I am sorry to hear of your difficulty. I have never had a patient or heard of a patient who had a true allergy to silicone (it is everywhere in our environment), so it is more likely that you had an infection on both occasions. That being said, nothing is impossible and it is not unreasonable to get testing to determine whether you are allergic to medical grade silicone. Either way you may want to try having your reconstruction with your own tissue instead of implants. There are many options available today, including breast expansion with an external device and subsequent fat grafting, if the idea of "flap" surgery does not appeal to you.


Daniel Medalie, MD

Breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction, breast cancer, DCIS, mastectomy, TUG flap, DIEP flap, Latissimus flap, fat graft i

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is very disappointing.  I have had several patients have different issues with implants.  I have care for my own patients with these issues and patients of other surgeons.  I remove the implants and replace them with your own tissue.  Typically  I use the DIEP flap from the abdomen.  This way you cannot have a reaction because it is your own tissue.

Diagnosisng what appears to be a silicone allergy

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Since silicone is such a ubiquitous material in our envirnoment, we are sll exposed to it every day whether we have implants or not. That is why the reaction you have had seems so difficult to explain. One possibility is that it is the antibiotics used in the irrigation of the pocket before implant placement. Infection is another possibility. your experience is very unfortunate but unlikely to be a silicone allergy.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Why Did I Have a Bad Reaction to Silicone- I've Heard There Are No Silicone Allergies?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I agree with Doctor Bereaka. Was this a true allergy or an infection? Obtain skin testing to see if you are allergic to silicone. Are you an allergic patient? This needs medical investigation before you try additional reconstructions. 

Breast Reconstruction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Silicone is the most inert material. From your description it sounds that you had an infection around the tissue expander. The second time got infected also, thats why the emergency surgery, probably because the scar still has some bacteria and in the face of a foreign material, the tissue expander, got infection again.

Your options now is to make sure th expander is out and all the capsule is out. Wait a year then try again. or the other options for you are flaps reconstruction and you have many options to chose from.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.