Each year, there have been countless breast implant operations done in different countries of the world. Most of them prove to be successful in the long term, but complications can still arise, affecting patients’ life. Breast implant illness (BII) is an unexplained medical mystery. It is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and many manufacturer companies. In 2019, patients from these undiagnosed symptoms pleaded to FDA for help as the doctors don’t believe in this disease. Moreover, the representatives of the breast implant manufacturers such as Allergan, Mentor also claimed that BII doesn’t exist. However, the FDA later released a statement saying that some of the systematic symptoms can be healed with the implants’ removal.
Breast Implant Illness
Breast implant illness is a self-diagnose disease that many patients and doctors believe are caused due to constructive and augmented breast implants. It can occur in any breast implant such as saline implants, silicone gel-filled implants, textured implants, etc.
Signs and Symptoms
Patients with breast implants are suffering from unexplained symptoms. These symptoms can vary from person to person.
- Puffiness and soreness of the body
- General weakness
- Loss of weight
- Heart palpitations
- Chronic muscles and joint pain
- Rashes on skin
- Burning sensations
- Cognitive problems such as brain fog, migraines, memory difficulties, anxiety and depression
- Hair loss
- Dehydrated mouth and eyes
- Hormonal imbalance
- Gastrointestinal upset
- The rapid aging of the skin
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Thyroid Problems
- ALCL is a rare type of immunity-related cancer that rarely develops in patients with breast implants.
The risk factor is different for each patient and mostly depends on genetics and other co-existing conditions. People who either have tumor markers such as MTHFR, HLA-DR53, or are suffering from autoimmune disease, thyroid problems, and rheumatic arthritis are more likely to suffer.
The diagnosis usually involves mammograms, MRIs, and fluid tests. The treatment is the removal of implants to heal the symptoms; however, the explant surgery doesn’t guarantee complete recovery and the outcome varies between individuals.
Due to the lack of research and studies directly related to how the breast implant illness symptoms develop among patients, it’s hard to understand how the implants’ constituents, especially silicone, can harm the body’s tissues. Furthermore, implant removal is the best course of action if someone is suffering from breast implant illness. However, explant surgery doesn’t guarantee to treat all symptoms. Although there’s limited scientific evidence to support the breast illness disease, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is trying to implement a program in which all women would be informed about all the risks beforehand. Plastic surgeons need to give patients the most up-to-date information ahead of the procedure. People who plan on having breast implants need to have complete awareness and knowledge regarding the procedure and long-term effects. Patients of breast implant disease are advised to see their doctor for further medical guidance and help.