Doctor, Are You Listening? The Silicone Catastropheby Susan E. Kolb, M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.I.H.M.
What happens when a new disease is emerging that cannot be pigeonholed into any existing diagnosis?
What if this disease mimics other diseases but fails to consistently fit into a pattern, or worse yet, is variable over time? Sometimes lab tests are normal and sometimes they are abnormal. What if it takes years to develop this disease, as it is slowly progressive, and the main symptoms are nonspecific such as fatigue, muscle aches, joint aches, and increase of susceptibility to infection?
What if symptoms do not occur until implants leak or rupture ten to 15 years after placement so that studies that do not target the ruptured population fail to show an increased incidence of disease?
Does it make any sense to wonder why these women are ill, given the facts?
1. Most silicone–filled breast implants leak or rupture within 8-15 years.
2. The implant companies never intended for silicone to move out of the breast implant, and indeed Dow Corning stated in its
brochure that the implants would “last a lifetime”.
3. Some series1, 2 report a significant number of positive bacterial cultures around leaking and/or ruptured implants in patients with systemic symptoms. Pathology reports also show fungus or mold species around and in some implants. Investigation of the role of subclinical infection presenting as pain around an implant3 and the relationship of this infection to
abnormalities of the immune system4 is also being investigated