How Common is a Silicone Allergy with Silicone Breast Implants?

Is there any way to test for a silicone allergy? Is it rare or common to be allergic to the silicone implant shell?

Doctor Answers 15

Silicone Allergy is Unknown

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While there is really no solid documentation of silicone allergy, there are inflammatory reactions to liquid silicone.

Since you have a complex allergy history, consult with your allergist for their advice.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Very unlikely

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It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to almost any product or substance in our surroundings. . However the silicone allergies are very rare and uncommon .Silicone is found in many household items such as hand lotions, polishes, waterproof coatings and even processed foods. Therefore allergy to silicone can one develop even without the existence of silicone breast implants.


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I agree with the physicians below. Silicone is inert and should not be the cause of a true allergy. In addition - almost all needles that are used to perform injections or place intravenous lines are coated with silicone to increase the ease of passing through the skin.

If you've had an injection or an IV you may have already had your allergy test. I would like to add that both silicone and saline implants have silicone shells. The exposure to silicone in your body for an unruptured implant would be the same.

Find a board certified plastic surgeon and discuss your concerns. I hope this helps.

Very low probability for allergic reaction.

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There has never been an implantable device studied as extensively as silicone breast implants.In 1990, silicone implants were taken off the market by the FDA.Since that time, multiple studies have been performed that have evaluated the safety of liquid silicone and the Silastic implant shell.None of these studies have demonstrated silicone allergies.It’s also important to realize that silicone is present everywhere in our environment.It’s even present on needles that are used for medical injections.Although silicone implant allergies are probably extremely rare, in someone with your history of allergies, it’s probably reasonable to consult an allergist before proceeding with breast augmentation surgery.

Silicone Allergy: Rare if at all

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Silicone allergy would rare if at all possible. The FDA has studied Breast implants for more than thirty years and it has not identified allergy to silicone as being a concern. By the way silicone is on coatings of some needles, IV catheters are made of silicone as are many other implants in the body, and many antacid/antigas medications taken orally have a silicone derivative as one of its components.

Severe allergies and breast augmentation

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Although most of us believe that silicone is an inert substance that is hydrophobic in molecular structure and safe to use, I would not advise you to undergo the procedure as there are isolated cases of inflammatory reactions arising from silicone or any type of foreign substance.  In your particular case, it seems as though you have a quality of life issue with your allergies and we would not do anything to exacerbate it.   I maintain a very conservative approach to elective surgery in patients with chronic health conditions. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Silicone Allergy

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This is a very intriguing question, and as far as I know there are no blood tests nor skin challenge tests for Silicone Allergies. A tremendous amount of scientific energy and resources have been put into researching the interactions of silicone with the human body, especially with respect to breast implants and there silicone polymer shells. We continue to research implantable prostheses such as this and use our data to take the best care of our patients possible...thus the very important reason why you should seek out a Board Certified Surgeon who is a member in good standing with the specific plastic surgery societies that promote, contribute to and report research.

John Philip Connors III, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

There has never been an antibody to silicone demonstrated in humans (no allergies)

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I have never read of an antibody to silicone in humans.  An antibody is a requirement for a true allergic reaction.  The body does recognize silicone as a foreign object which is why capsules form around breast implants.  Silicone does not have an organic moiety (an antigen) that triggers the body to produce an antibody.  Silicone is useful because the foreign body response is very tame.

Silicone and allergies

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To answer your question regarding allergies and silicone implants, you need a little background regarding silicone. Silicone comes in different forms based on its molecular structure. This ranges from a low viscosity liquid form to a stable solid form. A common misconception is that silicone is inert. This is partially true. Solid silicone such as silicone rubber, the silicone elastomer shell of a breast implant, and silicone facial implants are inert. However, liquid silicone is intensely imitative. Injection of liquid silicone can cause very aggressive inflammatory reactions (which is why injecting liquid silicone is not approved for cosmetic purposes).

The silicone polymers in today's implants resemble the elastomer shells much more than they resemble the oily liquid silicone commonly used as a lubricant. Because of the closer relationship to the solid form, cohesive gel silicone causes a very low grade inflammatory reaction. 

A true silicone allergy is very rare. Silicone appears in everything from soaps, nail polish, chewing gum, processed food, and hand lotion. Typically, the allergy that is thought to be from silicone is actually from an additive used with the silicone, such as Latex. However, if you are concerned, you can have a skin test from a Board Certified Allergist to specifically check for a silicone allergy.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Silicone allergy

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I believe that silicone is an inert substance and there is no known allergy to the product. The studies that were requested by the FDA prior to approval clearly support the evidence that silicone implants do not cause autoimmune disorders.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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.