Label-free stimulated Raman scattering imaging reveals silicone breast implant material in tissue

Ludo van Haasterecht, Liron Zada, Robert W Schmidt, Erik de Bakker, Ellis Barbé, Heather A Leslie, A Dick Vethaak, Susan Gibbs, Johannes F de Boer, Frank B Niessen, Paul P M van Zuijlen, Marie Louise Groot, Freek Ariese*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Millions of women worldwide have silicone breast implants. It has been reported that implant failure occurs in approximately a tenth of patients within 10 years, and the consequences of dissemination of silicone debris are poorly understood. Currently, silicone detection in histopathological slides is based on morphological features as no specific immunohistochemical technique is available. Here, we show the feasibility and sensitivity of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) imaging to specifically detect silicone material in stained histopathological slides, without additional sample treatment. Histology slides of four periprosthetic capsules from different implant types were obtained after explantation, as well as an enlarged axillary lymph node from a patient with a ruptured implant. SRS images coregistered with bright-field images revealed the distribution and quantity of silicone material in the tissue. Fast and high-resolution imaging of histology slides with molecular specificity using SRS provides an opportunity to investigate the role of silicone debris in the pathophysiology of implant-linked diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201960197
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of biophotonics
Issue number5
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Biophotonics published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


  • capsular contraction
  • label-free histology
  • nonlinear optics
  • pathology
  • plastic surgery
  • polymer detection
  • silicone bleeding


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