What Are the Symptoms of Silicone Toxemia?

Doctor Answers 6

Symptoms of Silicone Toxicity

Tough question to answer as there is no causal relationship proven for Silicone Toxicity.
Despite three decades of safety testing and monitoring of silicone breast implants, there is
still a public perception that silicone breast implants are more toxic or dangerous than
saline implants. The truth is that there has no known toxicity from silicone gel breast
implants. In fact, silicone is one of the most common materials used in medical devices and
implants. There is no known toxicity from silicone gel breast implants. It has been studied
by the FDA for more than three decades to establish its safety. Silicone is the most
common material used in medical devices/implants. Examples include shunts that go from
the brain to the abdomen (for hydrocephalus) which are left in for a lifetime, artificial finger
joints, syringes, IVs, catheters (including ones that go next to the heart), surrounding
pacemakers, and even oral anti-gas tablets.
The one possible exception may by the PIP implant made in France (generally not available
in the USA). Most of the concerns about the PIP implant were about the use of non-medical
silicone and manufacturing problems, and do not relate to implants used in the United
States by board-certified plastic surgeons. This is not to say that breast implants, like any
implant, can have problems; they may have to be removed and are not meant to last a life
time. Common reasons for replacement include: capsular contracture, rupture, infection,
change in breast size, and pain—but not for toxicity.
To answer the perceived toxicity of Silicone by the general public—this is quite a different
Breast implants have been around since the 1960s. About 15 years ago Connie Chung ran
an exposé, Face to Face with Connie Chung, claiming silicone implants were responsible
for different health problems. This led to lawsuits, a huge windfall for lawyers, and the
subsequent ban on silicone implants for first-time breast augmentation patients went into
effect. They were always available for breast reconstruction (e.g. after mastectomy) and
replacement of existing silicone breasts. Also, please note that saline implants are still
covered by a silicone envelope.
Soon after, a ban on silicone implant use became worldwide. This lasted for years until
more than 100 clinical studies showed that breast implants aren’t related to cancer, lupus,
scleroderma, other connective tissue diseases, or the host of other problems they were
accused of causing.
June 1999, The Institute of Medicine released a 400-page report prepared by an
independent committee of 13 scientists. They concluded that although silicone breast
implants may be responsible for localized problems such as hardening or scarring of breast
tissue, implants do not cause any major diseases such as depression, chronic fatigue
syndrome, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
The Institute of Medicine is part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most
prestigious scientific organization.
Eventually, a federal judge dismissed/rejected the lawsuits, declaring them junk science
and ended for the most part the barrage of lawsuits. This led to the present reintroduction of
silicone implants years ago and their approval by the FDA. Interestingly enough, most of
the rest of the world reintroduced them many years prior to the United States.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Silicone toxemia

Silicone toxemia sounds like something serious, but it is a made up term by attorneys during the original scar with silicone implants years ago. As you know there was no merit to their claims.

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

Symptoms of Silicone Toxemia are Machinations of Junk Science

Silicone Toxicity is not a true disease entitiy but one concieved by tort attorneys and backed by weak scientific data. For example, silicone antibodies are known to exist but they have not been linked to any disease causation.

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

"Silicone Toxemia" is a BOGUS Diagnosis

The Element Si, Silicon, is the eighth most common element in the universe by mass and the second most abundant element in the earth's crust (nearly 26%) after oxygen. Silicon is an essential element and plants and animals need tiny traces of it to survive.  Because of its inertness and conductivity in high heat, Silicones are widely used as the principal component of most semiconductor devices, most importantly integrated circuits or microchips (IE Silicon Valley). various forms of it are also commonly used in glass, ceramics, concrete, caulking and synthetic plastic products. The VAST MAJORITY of medical implantable devices contain silicones, compounds containing silicon-oxygen and silicon-carbon bonds. They are widely used in heart valves, joints, artificial blood vessels, shunts, pacemakers, catheters and many other implants.

They lubricate all syringes allowing the piston to glide. As a result, diabetics and others who inject themselves daily have much larger intake of silicone than women with breast implants. So do people working near copying machines whose movement is made easier by silicone lubricants which do get into the air.

ALL breast implants (saline filled and silicone gel filled) have a silicone shell that hold the filler. These implants have been used for almost 50 years in tens of millions of women the world over. After the FDA / Public Citizen / Plaintiff Bar generated moratorium of November 1992, tens of large scientific studies were performed looking into the safety of Silicone gel breast implants.

NOT A SINGLE STUDY found SILICONE TOXEMIA / SILICONE DISEASE or any evidence the these breast implants either caused cancer or auto-immune diseases. Throughout, many Plastic surgeons, myself included, were allowed to use silicone breast implants in the most challenging cases. Had these implants been toxic, would the FDA have allowed it? In July 2005, the FDA canceled restrictions on the use of silicone gel implants to ALL women 21 years and older.

While lawyers made a fortune off these lawsuits, the true losers were the women who delayed mastectomies for cancer for fear of deformity and those who needlessly suffered anguish and fear of NON-existing silicone diseases.

If this does not convince you, maybe you should not have breast implants. Or for that matter ANY man made medical device.


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

Silicone Toxemia NOT here

As stated by Dr. Pelletiere, there is really no such thing and it took us many years and lots of studies to show this.  Silicone is an inert substance and present in many many things around us, i.e. the under arm spray or roll on you use.......

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

NO Silicone Toxemia

As far as the medical community knows, not just in the US, but around the world, there is no such thing as silicone toxemia.  Silica, the elemental particle in silicone, is the second most common mineral in your body, behind sodium.  It is present in everything from foods to hairspray, etc.  It is a completely inert material and should not lead to any sort of systemic toxic effects.

Christopher V. Pelletiere, MD
Barrington Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 73 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.