Group of relatively uncommon clinically overlapping chronic inflammatory disorders that involves many organ systems and wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. Characterised by pathology in the blood vessels and connective tissues and the presence of non-organ specific autoantibodies in the serum and other body tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis could be considered a connective tissue disease.
The link between silicone breast implants and connective tissue disease is still controversial and subject to ongoing litigation. A number reports have linked a connective tissue disorder (most commonly systemic sclerosis/scleroderma) to the use of silicone breast implants, with isolated reports of improvement in symptoms following removal. Meta-analyses of a number of studies have failed to demonstrate an increased risk for connective tissue disease . The American College of Rheumatology has issued a statement that there is no connection between silicone breast implants and connective tissue disease. There may be a genetic predisposition to developing a connective tissue disease in some women who have silicone breast implants and there may be a greater risk of connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia if the silicone breast implant ruptures .
Nail fold capillary microscopy has been used in a number of studies of connective tissue diseases (eg Minkin & Rabhan ; Marcicq & LeRoy, ) and it may have some use in early detection of a connective tissue disease (Marcicq et al71,72). The nailfold and eyes are the only two places for easy visualisation of vessels. After application of drop of immersion oil and use of ophthalmoscope distribution of capillaries noted. Normally have a confluent distribution. If dilated and/or tortuous capillary loops and areas of avascularity suggestive of connective tissue disease.