To conduct a systematic review of the inflammatory elements in peri-implantitis (PI) and peri-implant mucositis (PM) in comparison with healthy peri-implant tissues (HI) and periodontal disease.
The PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus databases were searched up to December 2020. English articles that evaluated human soft tissue biopsies of PI or PM were included. Values reported for the surface area of the infiltrated connective tissue (ICT) were pooled using the random-effect model meta-analysis to estimate the mean (95% CI).
A total of 33 articles were included. Of 30 studies on PI, the majority evidenced significantly increased vascularization and inflammatory cell counts dominated by plasma cells in PI compared with HI. Studies that compared PI with chronic periodontitis primarily reported more severe inflammatory infiltrates in PI. This was confirmed by the meta-analysis results since the surface area of the ICT was significantly larger in PI (p < 0.001). Only seven studies analyzed the PM lesions and reported increased inflammatory infiltrates and vascularization in PM compared with HI. Based on the meta-analysis results, the surface area of the ICT was 3.00 [1.50, 4.51] mm in PI and 0.23 [0.02, 0.44] mm in PM lesions. Based on the available evidence, presence of foreign body particles considerably increased the inflammatory infiltrate; however, smoking did not have a significant effect.
There was controversy regarding the prevalence of various inflammatory cell types in peri-implant diseases; however, a considerably high ICT surface area in PI indicates the aggressive nature of the disease.

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