Women with breast implants could be at higher risk of developing autoimmune disease.
Of 24 patients with silicone gel breast implants, 11 had symptoms of autoimmune disease. Of these 11, the majority (seven) had scleroderma, and the rest had systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple autoimmune diseases.
All 11 had a high level of "antinuclear" antibodies, which are associated with the development of autoimmune complications in women with breast implants.
Rupture of the implant apparently hastened the onset of symptoms.
Interestingly, scleroderma in particular has been frequently linked to occupational hazards such as coal mining, exposure in gold mining to silica dust and handling polyvinyl components in factories.