Author(s): Lykissa ED, Kala SV, Hurley JB, Lebovitz RM
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Abstract We have conducted a series of studies addressing the chemical composition of silicone gels from breast implants as well as the diffusion of low molecular weight silicones (LM-silicones) and heavy metals from intact implants into various surrounding media, namely, lipid-rich medium (soy oil), aqueous tissue culture medium (modified Dulbecco's medium, DMEM), or an emulsion consisting of DMEM plus 10\% soy oil. LM-silicones in both implants and surrounding media were detected and quantitated using gas chromatography (GC) coupled with atomic emission (GC-AED) as well as mass spectrometric (GC/MS) detectors, which can detect silicones in the nanogram range. Platinum, a catalyst used in the preparation of silicone gels, was detected and quantitated using inductive argon-coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), which can detect platinum in the parts per trillion range. Our results indicate that GC-detectable low molecular weight silicones contribute approximately 1-2\% to the total gel mass and consist predominantly of cyclic and linear poly-(dimethylsiloxanes) ranging from 3 to 20 siloxane [(CH3)2-Si-O] units (molecular weight 200-1500). Platinum can be detected in implant gels at levels of approximately 700 micrograms/kg by ICP-MS. The major component of implant gels appears to be high molecular weight silicone polymers (HM-silicones) too large to be detected by GC. However, these HM-silicones can be converted almost quantitatively (80\% by mass) to LM-silicones by heating implant gels at 150-180 degrees C for several hours. We also studied the rates at which LM-silicones and platinum leak through the intact implant outer shell into the surrounding media under a variety of conditions. Leakage of silicones was greatest when the surrounding medium was lipid-rich, and up to 10 mg/day LM-silicones was observed to diffuse into a lipid-rich medium per 250 g of implant at 37 degrees C. This rate of leakage was maintained over a 7-day experimental period. Similarly, platinum was also observed to leak through intact implants into lipid-containing media at rates of approximately 20-25 micrograms/day/250 g of implant at 37 degrees C. The rates at which both LM-silicones and platinum have been observed to leak from intact implants could lead to significant accumulation within lipid-rich tissues and should be investigated more fully in vivo.
This article was published in Anal Chem
and referenced in Reconstructive Surgery & Anaplastology