Pseudoscientific “studies” reported on cases of connective tissue disease supposedly associated with breast implant use in breast augmentation surgery. No study to date has ever demonstrated this. Many women who went on to develop connective tissue disease after breast augmentation attributed the problem to the implants, but the truth is that the incidence of such patients within the breast enlargement population and the general population is the same.
The following is an excerpt from a US breast implant manufacturer on the subject.
“Connective Tissue Disease (CTD)
Connective tissue diseases include diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by chronic pain in the muscles and soft tissues surrounding joints, with tenderness at specific sites in the body. It is often accompanied by fatigue. There have been a number of published epidemiological studies which have looked at whether having a breast implant is associated with having a typical or defined connective tissue disease. The study size needed to conclusively rule out a smaller risk of connective tissue disease among women with silicone gel-filled breast implants would need to be very large. The published studies taken together show that breast implants are not significantly associated with a risk of developing a typical or defined connective tissue disease. These studies do not distinguish between women with intact and ruptured implants. Only one study evaluated specific connective tissue disease diagnoses and symptoms in women with silent ruptured versus intact implants, but it was too small to rule out a small risk.
CTD Signs and Symptoms
Literature reports have also been made associating silicone breast implants with various rheumatological signs and symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion, joint pain and swelling, muscle pain and cramping, tingling, numbness, weakness, and skin rashes. Scientific expert panels and literature reports have found no evidence of a consistent pattern of signs and symptoms in women with silicone breast implants. Having these rheumatological signs and symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a connective tissue disease; however, you should be aware that you may experience these signs and symptoms after undergoing breast implantation. If you notice an increase in these signs or symptoms, you should consider seeing a rheumatologist to determine whether these signs or symptoms are due to a connective tissue disorder or autoimmune disease.”