If you’re thinking of getting breast implants, the advice we offer is: stay informed. For, with the general focus on desired results and aesthetics, the issue of BII – Breast Implant Illness – remains relatively undiscussed. This term refers to a wide range of symptoms that can occur, following reconstructive or cosmetic augmentation of the breasts with implants. It is important to note this could happen with any type of implant, whether saline or silicone. For our collective awareness – we’ve decided to do some research of our own. We explore essential details on this disease and its affects on the body. Keep reading to stay informed.
Breast Implant Illness symptoms, (according to BreastCancer.Org) can include:
- joint and muscle pain
- chronic fatigue
- memory and concentration problems
- breathing problems
- sleep disturbance
- rashes and skin problems
- dry mouth and dry eyes
- hair loss
- gastrointestinal problems
These issues can appear at any time after you have surgery to get breast implants, but sometimes they can appear years later. A lot of the time, the symptoms are associated with autoimmune and connective tissue disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Some do, many do not.
While this is not officially recognized as a disease (ridiculous, right?) there is no official medical diagnosis for it. It has not been studied heavily, whatsoever. Some believe it will eventually be recognized as an illness, but this may take time. No studies have been done to interpret any of the data collected on BII, though many social media groups have come together to raise awareness for it online.
Unfortunately, there are no diagnostic tests or criteria to figure out if what a person is experiencing is Breast Implant Illness or not. You will have to talk to your medical provider to see if what you’re experiencing is in fact BII. That doctor or plastic surgeon will take the time to determine whether or not you should have your breast implants removed. If so, this might additionally involve removing the scar tissue in the surrounding area. This is a key part of treatment. This lowers the risk that fluid will collect there after surgery. Those that opt to get their breast implants replaced may switch from the older silicone gel-filled implant to a newer saline-filled implant – more commonly used now, according to BreastCancer.Org. Still, note that this does increase the likelihood that you will experience symptoms of Breast Implant Illness again. Both types of implants are made from silicone shells.
Again, the reason anyone is experiencing BII is as a result of their bodies reacting poorly to breast implants. Since there has been little research done on BII, there is no way to know what to expect post-removal. In one small study on BreastCancer.Org, some 89% of patients reported improvement in their symptoms within three months of surgery.
What Causes Breast Implant Illness?
There is still no criteria to fully determine what might cause BII. Many times, it could be due to the fact that some have an immune reaction to the implantation of the materials the implants are made of (just as you may have an inflammatory response to fillers or botox). Sometimes, the substance inside the implant can also bleed through into the surrounding tissue (when an implant ruptures for instance).
What causes breast implant illness?
Researchers don’t know why some women with breast implants develop BII. A leading theory, according to experts, is that some people are predisposed to having an immune reaction to the materials that are used to construct breast implants. This creates inflammation that leads to symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, rashes, and gastrointestinal problems.
Our advice? We are fully support doing whatever your heart desires! But we say, seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon with years of experience in breast augmentation. Above all, make sure you discuss the possibility and risks of having surgery as well as Breast Implant Illness.