Two hundreds cases of ASIA syndrome following silicone implants: a comparative study of 30 years and a review of current literature

Maartje J. L. Colaris, Mintsje de Boer, Rene R. van der Hulst, Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

77 Citations (Web of Science)


In this study, we compared one hundred patients with autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) due to silicone implant incompatibility syndrome diagnosed in 2014 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, with one hundred historical patients with adjuvant breast disease diagnosed in the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA, between 1985 and 1992. Similarities and differences between these two cohorts were identified to determine whether the spectrum of silicone-related disease changed during the last 30 years. Patients with complaints possibly due to silicone-filled breast implants were prospectively examined in the Reinaert Clinic, Maastricht, the Netherlands between January 2014 and October 2014. All patients were evaluated for the fulfilment of ASIA criteria. Results were compared to results of the Baylor College cohort and 18 other reviewed historical cohorts. Clinical manifestations between the Maastricht and Baylor College cohorts were comparable. Fatigue was observed in 98 current patients and in 95 historical patients. Arthralgia was observed in 91 versus 81 historical patients. Myalgia was observed in 54 versus 91 patients. Cognitive impairment was observed in 78 versus 81 patients, pyrexia was observed in 64 versus 52 patients, sicca complaints in 73 versus 72 patients and severe neurological manifestations in 20 versus 32 patients. From the 54 patients who underwent removal of their silicone breast implant, 50 % (n = 27) of the patients experienced improvement of complaints after explantation of the implant. Also, in the 18 reviewed historical cohorts, similar clinical manifestations were described. Our findings suggest that no major changes were present in the observed clinical manifestations between the Maastricht and Baylor College cohorts. Also, despite changes in the principal constituents of the silicone implants during the past fifty years, silicone remained an adjuvant that may 'bleed' and subsequently may be a chronic stimulus to the immune system resulting in similar clinical manifestations as observed in the Maastricht cohort, the Baylor College cohort and 18 other large cohorts of patients. We therefore conclude that silicone-related disease has not changed during the last 30 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalImmunologic Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Breast implants
  • Silicones
  • Autoimmunity
  • Autoinflammatory
  • Fibromyalgia
  • ASIA
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • RISK

Cite this