There is no doubt breast implant illness (BII) is one of the most discussed breast augmentation topics, especially on social media. By 2018, more than 50,000 women with implants reported some mysterious symptoms of breast implant illness. Many women raised voice against BII symptoms with the help of Facebook support groups. Unfortunately, medical practitioners still do not have enough data to support this illness despite all the available cases.

Breast implant illness is a controversial and poorly diagnosed disease among medical professionals, mainly because there is not much research supporting any association of symptoms with the implants. Similarly, at the same time, there are few research-based studies investigating the causes and risk factors of BII.

What is breast implant illness? And what are the symptoms?

One of the most frequent questions patient asks their surgeon is what BII is? BII is a self-identified disease among women with implants and results in a wide range of autoimmune symptoms that vary from patient to patient.

Symptoms include:
• Tiredness and chronic fatigue
• Severe joint and muscle pain
• Hair loss
• Headaches
• Allergies
• Memory and cognitive problems
• Dry eyes
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Sleep disturbance
• Chills
• Dry mouth
• Rashes
• Gastrointestinal problems

Is there any diagnostic or screening test I can receive to diagnose breast implant illness?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to receive any specific test for the diagnosis of BII simply because there is no evidence-based association of the symptoms with implants. On top of that, no mainly known symptoms are genuinely related to implants. However, you can have yourself evaluated for autoimmune diseases.

If I remove my implants, would it heal my symptoms?

Many patients come into Barrett Plastic Surgery wanting to know if removing their implants will heal their symptoms. Suppose you have previously had all the preliminary tests from your local doctor, endocrinologist, dermatologist, or other practitioner’s office. Still, you have not found any potential cause for the undiagnosed symptoms. In that case, Dr. Barrett may recommend removing the implants as a reasonable and right choice.

Please note a board-certified plastic surgeon is in the best position to decide what is best in your interest.

What will my breast implant illness surgery involve?

Dr. Barrett, a board-certified plastic surgeon, will perform an explant surgery that may or may not include capsulectomy to remove any additional scar tissue or fluid.

Is implant removal a solution for breast implant illness?

Sadly, there is still not much research supporting whether the symptoms improve after the explant surgery or not. But luckily, most patients have taken their cases to social media with before and after pictures showing that most of their symptoms disappeared after surgery. However, we cannot be 100% positive if breast implant illness surgery is a permanent solution for all the signs, but it has helped many get their everyday life back.

I think I might be experiencing breast implant illness symptoms; what should I do?

The first thing you should know is that Dr. Barrett will not leave you in this time of uncertainty, and he will be with you throughout this journey. Initially, Dr. Barrett will advise you to have all the necessary tests from your primary physician to rule out any other probable reason for the symptoms. If no cause is found, he continues with a thorough consultation to discuss your best options. If you want your implants removed electively, Dr. Barrett will respect your decision and will direct you to schedule the explant surgery as requested.

What is next?

If you are experiencing a tough time with intense pain and are suffering, Barrett Plastic Surgery is here to help you heal faster.

Dr. Barrett understands how frustrating it is for patients not to have their symptoms medically diagnosed. That is why our team is always available to listen to you and to help you.

Some patients with BII have reported their doctors never informed them about the possible complication of implants. That is why it is necessary to have your procedure performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, especially doctors who specialize in implant and explant surgeries. A skilled surgeon will always ensure their patients are evaluated thoroughly about the procedure and the possible associated risks.

It is always good to talk to a doctor before reaching any conclusion.