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Silicone Thorax Due to a Ruptured Breast Implant*

Robert L. Levine, MD; Timothy C. Allen, MD, JD; Joiner Cartwright, Jr, PhD; Philip T. Cagle, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Neurosurgery and Emergency Medicine (Dr. Levine), the University of Texas School of Medicine at Houston, Houston; Department of Pathology (Dr. Cartwright), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Department of Pathology (Dr. Cagle), the Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX; and Department of Pathology (Dr. Allen), the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Tyler, TX.

Correspondence to: Robert L. Levine, MD, Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 6431 Fannin St, Suite 7.142, Houston, TX 77030; e-mail: Robert.Levine@uth.tmc.edu



Chest. 2005;127(5):1854-1857. doi:10.1378/chest.127.5.1854
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A woman with a history of bilateral mastectomy and silicone implants for fibrocystic disease and a history of atrial septal defect repair presented with pleural nodules on a chest radiograph. A thorascopic biopsy performed for possible mesothelioma demonstrated chronic inflammation and focal pleural fibrosis due to a foreign-body reaction secondary to silicone. This was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive radiograph elemental analysis. As the population ages, the increasing frequency of ruptured silicone implants and the need for heart surgery may result in a corresponding increase in the risk for fibrothorax secondary to inadvertent silicone introduction during surgery.

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