Can you have silicone implants if you have SLE lupus?

Is it possible to have implants safly without causing problems to lupus?

Doctor Answers 7

Can you have silicone implants if you have SLE lupus?

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This is a very good question. Back in ancient times (the 1980's and 1990's) silicone implants were suspected of causing SLE or similar conditions. This has generally proved to be untrue. However, if you are taking medications that could impair your ability to heal (steroids for example). There may be an increased risk of complications (contractures for example) in people with SLE so you will want to be mindful of this.

You would definitely want to be cleared by your rheumatologist for the procedure your surgeon will want to follow you very closely.


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If your medical doctor clears you for elective surgery, then having implants will not have much effect on your lupus, excluding the stress of surgery. Some whose lupus involves their heart or lungs may not be good candidates for elective surgery.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

SLE and implants

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Hello and thank you for your question! There have been studies that have come out showing breasts implants do not lead to an increase in the risk of developing autoimmune diseases or cancer. So getting breast implants should be ok even if you have SLE. However, the main issue is going to be the medication that you are on. Some of these medications can lead to wound healing problems and there are also medications that decrease your immune system leading to possible increased risk of infection. I have performed breast augmentations, and other surgeries for that matter, on patients with SLE. I have them see their treating physician and make sure that the physician has no objections to performing the operation. On many occasions I call the rheumatologist to discuss risk of wound healing or of infection based on medication the patient is on. So, bottom  line is...have an open discussion with your plastic surgeon and make sure your physician that is monitoring and treating your SLE is aware that you are wanting breast augmentation. I hope this helps and hopefully you are being seen by a board certified plastic surgeon!

Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

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Breast implants and SLE Lupus

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Thank you for asking about your breast implants.

  • The answer is - probably.
  • First your rheumatologist should clear you for surgery.
  • If you are on auto-immune suppression medicines, you are at a higher risk for infection and poor healing.
  • Your surgeon and rheumatologist should discuss in advance how to manage your medicines.
  • The Implants should go under the muscle for extra protection against infection.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Can I get silicone implants if I have lupus?

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I have taken care of many patients with lupus, and breast augmentation did not cause the patient additional problems. However before surgery I do confirm that their treating doctor is supportive of this decision and feels surgery would be appropriate for them. Hope this information is helpful and reassuring. For more information on this and similar topics I recommend a plastic surgery Q&A book like "The Scoop On Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths."

Ted Eisenberg, DO, FACOS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Silicone Implants and Lupus

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Despite being among the most thoroughly studied and rigorously tested medical devices on the market, myths surrounding the silicone gel breast implant persist. These devices are safe and durable. There is no link or association with any autoimmune disease.

Patients being treated for an autoimmune condition should obtain medical clearance before undergoing elective cosmetic surgery. This is irrespective of the device used. However, the patient's health status as well as the medication regimen they are maintained on (steroid and immune modulating agents)  can impact there overall worthiness as a candidate for surgery.

As always, discuss your concerns with a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Donovan Rosas, MD
Kissimmee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Lupus and breast implants

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In one word, yes.  Breast implants (silicone or saline) have been repeatedly studied and not shown to worsen or cause autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

However, you must check with your rheumatologist and/or primary care doctor to get surgical clearance for such a procedure.  You may be at a slightly higher risk of slow healing because of lupus.  You may not be a good candidate for surgery if you are currently being treated with a steroid or other medication that may cause wound healing problems.  You may not be a good candidate for surgery if you have significant disease of the kidneys or lung which can sometimes be a part of lupus. 

Have a conversation with your physician and have a consult with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine if your level of risk is acceptable to proceed with this surgery.  Best of luck to you!

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.