Conclusions

The IOM committee's review of research and medical studies shows a local, but not general, reaction to silicone breast implants.

  • There is no evidence that silicone implants are responsible for any major diseases of the whole body. Women are exposed to silicone constantly in their daily lives.

  • There is no plausible evidence of a novel autoimmune disease caused by implants.

  • The committee found no increase in either primary or recurrent breast cancer in women with breast implants. Some studies even suggest lower rates of breast cancer in implanted women.

  • There is no danger in breast-feeding; cows' milk and infant formulas have a far higher level of silicon, a silicone component, than mothers' milk. Breast milk is the best food for babies.

  • The major problems with implants are local, but not life-threatening, complications. These include implant removal, ruptures, deflations, capsular contracture, infection, and pain.

  • Many women will have secondary problems such as severe contracture, rupture, and implant removal.

  • Implants do not last forever; risks accumulate over time, and many women should expect to have more than one implant.

  • Some women with breast implants are indeed very ill. However, the committee can find no evidence that these women are sick because of their implants.



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Conclusions The IOM committee’s review of research and medical studies shows a local, but not general, reaction to silicone breast implants. I There is no evidence that silicone implants are responsi- ble for any major diseases of the whole body. Women are exposed to silicone constantly in their daily lives. I There is no plausible evidence of a novel autoimmune disease caused by implants. I The committee found no increase in either primary or recurrent breast cancer in women with breast implants. Some studies even suggest lower rates of breast cancer in implanted women. I There is no danger in breast-feeding; cows’ milk and infant formulas have a far higher level of silicon, a silicone component, than mothers’ milk. Breast milk is the best food for babies. I The major problems with implants are local, but not life-threatening, complications. These include implant removal, ruptures, deflations, capsular contracture, infection, and pain. I Many women will have secondary problems such as severe contracture, rupture, and implant removal. I Implants do not last forever; risks accumulate over time, and many women should expect to have more than one implant. I Some women with breast implants are indeed very ill. However, the committee can find no evidence that these women are sick because of their implants. 20