Letter published in an unidentified medical journal. Page 314/Correspondence and Brief Communications
Inflammation and Silicone Prostheses
“We cannot imagine inflammation to take
place without an irritating stimulus (irritament)” (Virchow, Cellular Pathology,
“Inflammation is a destructive and sometimes
a formative process. The treatment is withdrawal of the cause” (Tanner
and Broadbent, Index of Diseases, 1882).
Many plastic surgeons (myself included) have become
mesmerized by the good results we usually obtain with the augmentation mammaplasty.
Thousands of patients have been helped by this operation. Because of these
successes, we have been less than objective in our evaluation of the body’s reaction to silicone gel. We continue to alter, modify, make thinner, make softer, drain, add steroids, add antibiotic solutions,
rupture, hide under muscle, and, in general, avoid a confrontation with the fact that we are inserting a foreign and reactive
material into the human body. The inflammatory reaction to foreign implants is
not new. The body has in the past reacted and will continue to react to an intrusion
of foreign material. The reaction is not new, but perhaps the longer time period
for the full evolution of this particular inflammatory process is new.
We have a problem—the inflammatory response
to the silicone gel implant. Let us objectively review our results, report unfavorable
ones, and not be mesmerized by our many successes.
William M. Cocke, Jr., M.D.
1737 Briarcrest Drive