The silicone syndrome

Samuel K. Dawn, Brett M. Elicker, Jessica W.T. Leung, Gautham P. Reddy, Michael B. Gotway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Silicone syndrome results from migration of free liquid silicone into the pulmonary capillaries following subcutaneous injection. Such injections are often performed illegally by nonmedical personnel for cosmetic reasons, such as breast and gluteal augmentation. Once the free silicone reaches the pulmonary circulation, it induces interstitial inflammation, increased capillary permeability, alveolar edema, and alveolar hemorrhage, and produces a syndrome that clinically resembles fat embolization syndrome. Patients with silicone syndrome usually present with cough, fever, dyspnea, and chest pain, although a minority of patients primarily present with severe neurologic symptoms; mortality is usually high for this latter subset of patients. Thoracic imaging studies in patients with silicone syndrome usually show bilateral patchy areas of consolidation and ground-glass opacity, which is characteristically and often strikingly subpleural. These radiographic findings are suggestive of silicone syndrome in the proper clinical context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-147
Number of pages2
JournalClinical Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Computed tomography
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Silicone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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