Is It Possible for Your Body to Reject Implants?

I have problems with my body rejecting various types of piercings. Is it possible for the body to reject implants?

Doctor Answers 10

Re: Silicone breast implant rejection

It is most highly unlikely that your body would reject silicone implants. The problem with your piercings is either related to infection or an allergy to the metal itself. When silicone implants were removed from the market roughly 16 years ago, there was the whole question of their relationship with autoimmune disorders. This issue was resolved in subsequent prospective studies. Many of us saw numerous patients with concerns and in all of this I only saw one woman who I actually thought might have a silicone allergy. Her allergic symptoms developed shortly after augmentation in the 70’s, resolved completely almost immediately after their removal. There did not appear to be any sort of psychological component. With the new cohesive gel implants the likelihood of a true rejection would be next to zero. Unfortunately the term “rejection” is sometimes associated with surgical complications, infection, etc. which can also lead to the loss of the prosthesis.

Albany Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 181 reviews

Body to Reject Implants

Interesting question. But without more medical information the easy answer is it is POSSIBLE. I doubt probable though. Implant materials are usually inert in other words the body does not recognize them as foreign materials so it does not start a rejection reaction sequence. Hope that helps. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Breast implant rejection

Typical causes for jewelry rejection are allergy to nickel. Although platinum is used as a catalyst in silicone, the impact of this has not been shown to be responsible for any allergy. Silcione antibodies can be found in the bloodstream of some individuals but this does not appear to be responsible for implatn rejection. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

There is no such thing as "rejection" of breast implants

Hi there-

The term "rejection" implies an immunological response- meaning that your body recognizes something inside of it that it has been exposed to before and knows does not belong to it- and then attacks it, sometimes causing illness.

This does not occur with any type of breast implant.

All breast implants are inert, meaning they are not recognized as foreign by the body. What DOES sometimes happen is infection, or capsular contracture (where the connective tissue wall your body makes around the implants shrinks over time).

Both of these will require treatment. But true rejection does not occur.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Breast Implant Rejection

There is no documented cases in the literature about "rejection"  as being a risk of the current saline and silicone breast implants. Your body's rejection of piercings is not related at all to your risk of "rejecting" a breast implant. Certainly, all patients potentially respond differently to the presence of a foreign material implanted in the body, but this typically presents as variability in  scar tissue and capsule formation around the implant.

Hayley Brown, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Implants and rejection

I have not heard of a silicone or slaine filled implant being rejected by the body. They are inert and should have any effect on the immune system.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Breast Implant Rejection : Facts and Fiction

Rejection is an immune reaction in which the body uses special cells to mount warfare against tissue it feels if foreign and it destroys it. This would be seen when tissue from an non-matched donor (such a liver, kidney etc) are graftedwithout supressing the immune system. Progressive destruction of the graft then takes place. Although implants are recognized by the body as being foreign they do NOT cause a classic rejection response. Instead, the body walls the foreign body, be it a breast implant, an artificial joint, artificial blood vessel or even a bullet, with a thin wall of scar. In 15% of women the thin scar capsule becomes progressively hard and thicker causing a capsular contracture. BUT this is NOT a rejection. The fact that you have a reaction to piercings, probably the nickel in them, dores not imply anything when it comes to predicting your success rate with breast implants. Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Breast Implant Rejection

The problem that you describe with rejecting piercings is likely due to a metal allergy (nickel) which is not uncommon.  Rejection of breast implants would be extremely unlikely, although your body does recognize them as  "foreign bodies", hence the capsule that forms around the implants.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breast implant rejection is not possible

Breast implants, either silicone or saline do not produce a rejection reaction so there is no risk that your body will reject breast implants. They do cause a healing response where the body forms a thin scar layer over the implant to 'isolate' the implant from the body. Also despite other allergies, implants are safe.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Implant rejection

It depends on the implant. Some are allergenic but if you are talking about breast implants, the contents and the bag itself is inert so there is not the typical immunological rejection reaction that occurs with, say, an incompatible kidney transplant. The body does create a capsule of collagen, walling off breast implants and there can be consequences of hardening or even thinning of tissue causing extrusion. But while we might use the term "reject" it is not an immunological rejection.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.