Breast implants on scleroderma patient safe? Been done before?

I'm a 30 year old active and healthy female. I have an 8 month old I gave birth to by c section due to breech position. I have had scleroderma since about 24 and thankfully have been stable with no major issues. I've had surgery on one finger and it was successful (to fix joint related arthritis issues). Ive wanted breast implants for about 10 years now. I would like to do so but just have concerns on whether any doctor has done this on a parient with scleroderma or any auto immune issue

Doctor Answers 4

Rheumatologists in my Area Are Approving Breast Augmentation in Patients with Autoimmune Disorders

The Gabriel study from the Mayo Clinic and the Nurses Health Study from the 90's satisfied most of the scientific community that breast implants don't cause or worsen autoimmune or collagen vascular disorders.  There may be an association (because both of these events occur in females), but there is not causation.  Most rheumatologists in my area allow their patients with autoimmune disorders to have breast implants.  

The medications used to treat the underlying disorder may interfere with healing, and the surgeon and rheumatologist may need to work together to get the best outcome for their patient.  All the best to you.



Bismarck Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Breast augmentation with autoimmune disease

The short answer to your question is yes. There were many questions raised in the 1990's regarding autoimmune disease being caused or worsened by silicone breast implants. At this time there is no strong evidence (statistically valid and reproducible) linking breast implants to autoimmune disease. Simply put, you can't prove something does not happen, only that it does. You are a candidate for surgery if you are healthy enough to tolerate it with a good chance of healing well. Among patients afflicted with autoimmune disease, I insist on your rheumatologist's input and assistance with medication selection. Any chronic condition requires extra effort on our part to make sure that the procedure goes well. We do that as a matter of routine. Good luck.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Breast implants on scleroderma patient safe?

The answer to your question is a bit controversial because of all the issues alleged to be caused in the past by silicone gel breast implants and the restrictions that were suggested in the 90's.   I'd suggest that you talk to your rheumatologist and seek his/her opinion regarding implants since most of us shied away from the use of implants in scleroderma patients due to previous FDA restrictions.  Even though I doubt implants would be responsible for worsening of your scleroderma, I'd be concerned that if it did worsen in time no one would know whether they were the cause and whether they should be removed.  Another option would be to choose a saline implant if you're a good and suitable candidate (enough breast tissue and skin elasticity to cover the saline implant and its rippling).  Good luck and best wishes,

Jon A Perlman MD FACS 

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery 

Extreme Makeover Surgeon ABC TV

Best of Los Angeles Award 2015, 2016 

Beverly Hills, Ca


Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast implants and scleroderma?

Your situation is not a common one so there are not a lot of plastic surgeons who have a lot of experience operating on patients with scleroderma. Nevertheless, your personal history suggesets that you can be a satisfactory candidate for breast implants. Your best bet is to consult a Board Certified plastic surgeon who can demonstrate experience with breast implants and who will confer with your rheumatologist to determine the best course of action. As long as your medical problems are stable/in good control, you can expect to undergo operation successfully.

Tad Grenga, MD, FACS
Norfolk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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.