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Evaluation of the patient with silicone gel breast implants & rheumatic complaints

  [ 60 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • July 5, 1994

By utilizing a systematic approach to evaluate patients with
implants and musculoskeletal complaints, patients can be
categorized into either those with a true connective-tissue
disease (scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogrens)
or those with nonspecific muscle and joint findings consistent
with fibromyalgia. This latter subgroup represents the
majority of patients who present with musculoskeletal
complaints and have no evidence of a serious connective-tissue
disease. Patients with silicone gel breast implants suffer
great anxiety and fear over the possible association of
implants and disease. Unfortunately, most of the information
provided to the patient is through the media, support groups,
or the legal system. Many patients are unable to evaluate this
issue in an objective fashion and present to the plastic
surgeon convinced that the implants are causing their
problems. Consultation with a rheumatologist interested in the
silicone gel implant controversy would serve to educate the
patient regarding the diagnosis, as well as provide an
independent source of information regarding the relationship
between implants and disease. Until proper case-control
studies are performed, the controversy over silicone gel
implants and connective-tissue disease will persist.

Cohen SB, Rohrich RJ

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