Journal article Open Access
Brinton, Louise A.; Brown, S. Lori; Colton, Theodore; Burich, Mary Cay; Lubin, Jay
Several previous studies have shown that breast implant patients demonstrate a number of differences compared with the general population. However, studies have not compared patients with breast implants with women receiving other types of plastic surgery, of interest because this latter group has been proposed as a comparison group for assessing the long-term health effects experienced by breast implant patients. Questionnaire data obtained from 7447 breast implant patients and 2203 patients with other types plastic surgery were collected during the course of a retrospective cohort study, to determine whether implant patients demonstrate different characteristics compared with a more restricted group of patients. In contrast to previous investigations that compared implant patients with the general population, distinctive differences with respect to family income, number of pregnancies, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, or histories of previous gynecologic operations or operations for benign breast disease were not found. However, implant patients were significantly more likely than other plastic surgery patients to be white, have low levels of education, have early ages at first birth, be thin, and be screened frequently for breast disease. Furthermore, implant patients reported somewhat greater use of exogenous hormones and familial histories of rheumatoid arthritis. These results support the notion that other plastic surgery patients are a more appropriate comparison group than women in the general population for studies of the health effects of breast implants; however, there continue to be distinctive characteristics possessed by breast implant patients, which need to be taken into account in an assessment of what disease effects can be uniquely attributed to silicone breast implants.