Breast Implant Illness

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Breast Implant Illness (BII) or symptoms that are ascribed to be due to Silicone or Saline breast implants are commonly discussed the in Social Media and  Plastic Surgery articles .  But for myself after a literature review and personal experience, the question arises:  Does Breast Implant Illness truly exist?

To the sufferers of the “Illness” the symptoms are real. But is there physical evidence of a somatic disease, or are the symptoms parcel of psychological issues that plague society?

Our Experience with Breast Implant Illness

My own experience with BII is small despite almost 40 years of implanting and explanting breast implants.  My observations are anecdotal and revolve around the few women with symptoms whose implants I have removed.  These observations are consistent with the findings of the Plastic Surgery literature.

To gain a further understanding of the psychology and physical findings of BII, I reviewed the most recent Plastic Surgery Literature.

Articles suggest that BII is a poorly understood entity (difficult to define). The awareness of the issue is in part stirred by the growing impact of social media, heightened in the past 10 years and perhaps exacerbated with the Covid anxiety of 2020-to date. There appear to be no surveys which would indicate how many women have had their breast implants removed for BII, despite millions of breast prostheses implanted around the world. So just how much of an impact this “disease” has on breast implanted women is unknown.

Inconclusive

Is There a Relationship between Breast implant Illness and Autoimmune Disease?

Auto-immune disease has not been conclusively linked to breast implants in several studies.  Women with breast implants appear to have no higher incidence of connective tissue disorders than a control group.

However, none of the studies appear to discuss patient age, physical condition, co-morbidities or chronic diseases, obesity, age of the breast implants,  body dysmorphias or other psychological  issues.

What You Need to Know about Breast Implant Illness

Objective studies are difficult to locate and are inconclusive.

Examination of breast implants is an acceptable route to take followed an informed discussion with your surgeon.  A thorough review of the surgical procedure and risks is important. Understanding the consequences of implant removal both physical and cosmetic is the foundation of any surgery.

The psychology of BII cannot be minimized in a society that would appear by “media polls” to be increasingly anxious, “alerted” and in “crisis mode” and negative about the future.