Silicone breast implants increase chances of skin cancer by 400%, stillbirth by 450%, and arthritis by 600%

The study looked at nearly 100,000 patients enrolled in large postapproval studies between 2007 and 2010 before publishing it in the journal Annals of Surgery


                            Silicone breast implants increase chances of skin cancer by 400%, stillbirth by 450%, and arthritis by 600%

Silicon breast implants increase the risk of a woman having stillbirth by 4.5 times and the risk of developing melanoma by four times, a new study suggests.

Women with silicone implants were also two times more likely to have surgical complications in comparison with saline implants. These complications particularly include scarring around the implant, Daily Mail reports.

The findings from the study conducted by a team at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston will help women choose the implant they feel is right for them. Also, the study is the largest of breast implants outcomes to date.

Dr. Brad Jacobs holds up a silicone implant gel (L) and a saline implant gel (R) inside of his office on November 21, 2006, in New York City. (Getty)
Dr. Brad Jacobs holds up a silicone implant gel (L) and a saline implant gel (R) inside of his office on November 21, 2006, in New York City. (Getty)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of implants for women - Silicone implants with shells filled with a plastic gel and saline implants with silicone shells filled with a sterile saline solution.

While both implants are approved for the purposes of breast reconstruction or the rebuilding of a breast; for breast augmentation, the organization has approved saline implants for women aged 18 or older and silicone implants for women aged 22 or older. Silicone implants are known to feel more like real breasts as compared to saline variants. However, they pose a greater risk if they leak out.

The FDA prohibited silicone implants in the early 1990s after several health concerns linking them to a risk of cancer, connective tissue disease, and autoimmune diseases were raised. But no definite link was established between silicone implants and these conditions by any research.

A Poly Implant Prothese is held up outside the courthouse at Parc Chanot on April 18, 2013, in Marseille, France. (Getty)
A Poly Implant Prothese is held up outside the courthouse at Parc Chanot on April 18, 2013, in Marseille, France. (Getty)

In 2006, the FDA approved silicone implants from two manufacturers after many postapproval studies.

The team which conducted the latest study looked at nearly 100,000 patients enrolled in large postapproval studies between 2007 and 2010 before publishing it in the journal Annals of Surgery.

While approximately 80,000 had silicone implants, the rest received the saline variant. It was found that silicone implants posed a higher risk of several rare adverse outcomes such as rheumatoid arthritis; Sjogren's syndrome, an immune system disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth; and scleroderma, chronic hardening, and tightening of the skin and connective tissues.

The FDA prohibited silicone implants in the early 1990s after several health concerns linking them to a risk of cancer, connective tissue disease, and autoimmune diseases were raised. (Pexels)
The FDA prohibited silicone implants in the early 1990s after several health concerns linking them to a risk of cancer, connective tissue disease, and autoimmune diseases were raised. (Pexels)

These women had a six to eight times higher risk of such conditions as compared to the general population. "We are reporting an analysis of the largest prospective study to date on silicone breast implant safety," said Dr. Mark Clemens, an associate professor in the department of plastic surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"We are sharing critical information on complication rates and rare associations with systemic harms. This data gives women important safety information about silicone breast implants to have real expectations and to help them choose what is right for them."

Although certain risks were more common in women with silicone implants, authors noted that "absolute rates of these adverse outcomes were low." Speaking to Daily Mail, Dr. Diana Zuckerman, President of the National Center for Health Research, said: "Women shouldn't panic but what it does tell us is that there's something going on and it's different than what women have been told for the last two decades. It's still cause for concern and you have to think that all those increased risks add up. Not all women are getting all these diseases but it's some getting one and some getting another that could be statistically different."

Although certain risks were more common in women with silicone implants, authors noted that "absolute rates of these adverse outcomes were low." (Pexels)
Although certain risks were more common in women with silicone implants, authors noted that "absolute rates of these adverse outcomes were low." (Pexels)

But a plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Stuart Linder, who also spoke to the outlet, was markedly skeptical of the research. "I use silicone implants and I have for over 20 years and I haven’t seen anything that has hinted of this," he said. "Unless the FDA states the risk is higher, then the products are deemed to be safe and usable in surgery."