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Health complaints in women with a silicone breast implant : A survey

Gezondheidsklachten bij vrouwen met een siliconen borstimplantaat : Een inventarisatie

Synopsis

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has performed, by order and for the account of the Dutch Health and Youth Care Inspectorate in formation (formerly the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate), a survey of health complaints experienced by women with silicone breast implants.

Women with silicone breast implants were called to report their health complaints using an online questionnaire. The survey shows a wide range of complaints. Based on the results of this survey it is not possible to indicate whether the implants are the cause of the complaints. This will require follow-up investigations. The results from the current survey can guide future research.

Given that a variety of factors can influence the development of health complaints, it is difficult to interpret possible patterns in the complaints reported. Some of the complaints seem to occur more frequently in women with certain characteristics. For example, women with certain chronic diseases such as allergies more frequently report general complaints. One of the recommendations in this report is to perform further research on this.

In total the questionnaires of 976 women have been analyzed. From these, 695 women indicated they experienced local and/or general health complaints after undergoing one or more implantations. 281 women reported having no complaints after receiving breast implants.

Pain in the breast(s) and capsular contracture were the most often reported local complaints. Among the general complaints, women mentioned chronic fatigue, joint complaints and muscle complaints the most. Women often reported having both local and general complaints.

Almost half of the women that had their implants removed, reported an improvement of their general health complaints after explantation. In about the same number of women the complaints did not change, and in a small group of women the complaints became worse after explantation. Some women reported having health complaints before they received breast implants. The complaints before implantation were often experienced as less severe than after implantation.
 

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