Silicone embolisms occur when silicone causes a clot in the bloodstream. Silicone embolism syndrome is a serious problem caused by this blockage.

Silicone embolism syndrome is a medical emergency. It can lead to death if not treated.

You can learn more about the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of Silicone embolism syndrome.

Embolism is a medical term that refers to a blockage in the blood vessels. Blood clots cause most embolisms.

Blood flow to the heart or lungs can be disrupted by an embolism. The organs may shut down if there is no oxygen-rich blood.

Silicone from implants or injections causes the obstruction in a Silicone embolism. The lungs are affected.

Breast implantation with silicone-gel inserts is a common cosmetic procedure in the United States and it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Still, it carries some risks.

Breast implant casings can rupture, causing silicone gel to leak out. In very rare cases, silicone that migrates throughout the body causes an embolism.

Injectable liquid silicone is not approved by the FDA for soft-tissue augmentation and carries health risks. But some doctors still use it off-label to contour or enhance the lips, breasts, penis, buttocks, and other areas of the body.

Silicone can occur hours, days, or weeks after a liquid injection. Symptoms can develop later. Symptoms can include serious ones.

Silicone embolism is a medical emergency

The signs and symptoms of a silicone embolism can resemble other life threatening conditions, such as pulmonary embolism or heart attack. It’s best to err on the side of caution and call emergency services if you’re experiencing the symptoms listed above.

“There is no standard treatment for Silicone embolism syndrome. A silicone blockage is not as dangerous as a blood clot and won’t be helped by clot dissolvingrs.”

The focus is on managing symptoms while the condition resolves on its own. Respiratory symptoms associated with Silicone embolism syndrome can be treated with oxygen and mechanical ventilation.

According to a 2019 case report, doctors may also prescribe corticosteroids to help to ease respiratory symptoms and reduce inflammation.

If you have breast implants, you could be at risk of a silicone embolism.

According to a 2017 review, silicone breast implant rupture rates range from 1% to 36%, depending on the manufacturer, the procedure, and the number of years after the surgery.

Silicone embolism is rare even when implants tear or break.

People who have received silicone injections are also at risk of a silicone embolism. A 2020 case study reported that approximately 1% to 2% of people who received silicone injections experienced some type of complication.

Silicone embolism is not known how frequently people have had injections.

The only way to truly prevent a silicone embolism is by avoiding cosmetic procedures that put you at risk. But for some people, the benefits may outweigh the risk. This includes people seeking gender affirming care or breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

“It doesn’t mean you’ll have a procedure if you already have one. The risk is very low.”

It can help to know the symptoms of Silicone embolism syndrome and other long-term problems associated with implants and injections. Be sure to report any unusual behavior to the healthcare professional.

Safety tips for people considering silicone implants or injections

Silicone implants or injections should be considered.

  • The risks associated with the procedure are something that you should learn about.
  • Purchase online and inject yourself with the dermal fillers.
  • You should work with a board certified physician who only uses FDA approved products.
  • Ask your doctor what to expect during and after the procedure, and what the long-term risks are.
  • Be careful of doctors who seem to breeze over the risks of Silicone products.
  • Talk to other people who have had the same procedure.
  • There are alternatives to both injections and implants.

Can saline implants cause a silicone embolism?

A 2016 case report described the first-known silicone embolism in a 45-year-old female with saline breast implants. The authors suggested that, although rare, saline implants encased in a silicone shell may cause a silicone embolism.

Is the risk of silicone embolism higher with older implants?

The FDA indicates that breast implants are not meant to last a lifetime. The longer a person has them, the higher their risk of complications.

The risk of implant failure is included. Silicone embolism is a possibility in most cases of the rupture implant.

Is silicone embolism fatal?

Silicone embolism is fatal in approximately 25% of cases, according to a 2019 case report.

How common are silicone embolisms?

Silicone embolism are rare, and only a few case studies detailing them exist in the medical literature.

Silicone can cause a blood clot in the vessels. Silicone embolism syndrome causes severe respiratory symptoms.

Silicone implants and injections can be dangerous. If you are considering implants or injections, make sure you have a licensed healthcare professional who uses FDA approved products as intended.