Silicone thorax due to a ruptured breast implant

Robert L. Levine, Timothy C. Allen, Joiner Cartwright, Philip T. Cagle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1854-1857
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac surgery
  • Fibrothorax
  • Silicone breast implants
  • Silicone thorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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