Can breast implants cause health problems? (Breast implant illness)

Can breast implants cause health problems? (Breast implant illness)

Breast implants may be linked to a group of symptoms known as breast implant illness (BII). Although the precise origin of BII is unknown, autoimmune or inflammatory reactions may be involved. A rash, mental fog, weariness, and joint discomfort are typical symptoms. In order to diagnose BII, medical professionals must rule out other illnesses. Implants must be removed during treatment.

A wide spectrum of symptoms that appear after obtaining breast implants is referred to as breast implant sickness (BII). BII is not yet recognized as an official medical diagnosis because research into it is only beginning, although this may change.

Breast implant illness is also known as

  • Breast implant illness
  • Adjuvant-induced autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome (ASIA).
  • Infection from silicone implants.

No matter if their implants are silicone or saline-filled, people with BII have symptoms. After getting breast implants, symptoms may appear right away or take years to appear. Many claims that once a specialist removes their implants, their BII problems go away, although some claim otherwise.

In 2021, more than 365,000 women had breast implants, a 44% rise from the previous year. The most frequent side effects of breast augmentation in the U.S. include breast soreness, changes in nipple and breast feeling, the creation of scar tissue, rupture, and deflation. However, there is a minimal risk of problems.

Breast implant illness, or BII, is a collection of symptoms that only a tiny percentage of women report experiencing. Despite the fact that there is still much to learn about BII and that it is not yet a recognized diagnosis, a number of recent research are looking into possible explanations for the symptoms, which are varied and very genuine.

Common symptoms of BII

  • With BII, more than 100 symptoms have been linked. Among the most typical are:
  • Sadness or anxiety.
  • Mental fog
  • Chronic tiredness
  • Their mouth and eyes are both dry.
  • Issues with the digestive system.
  • Hair fall
  • Headaches.
  • Muscular or joint aches
  • Skin issues and rashes.
  • Weight fluctuates.

Many BII sufferers might find relief from their symptoms without needing to have their breast implants removed. Sometimes a disorder that weakens the immune system or hormone synthesis is the underlying cause of symptoms.

Consult a board-certified plastic surgeon if you experience any strange symptoms that you think could be related to your breast implants. They will pay attention to you, make an effort to understand the source of your problems, and, if necessary, put you in touch with medical professionals.

Causes of these symptoms

Any kind of breast implant might cause symptoms, which may manifest right away or years later.

It's crucial to rule out factors other than breast implants because so many BII symptoms are linked to other illnesses. For instance, autoimmune diseases including lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis,  and Lyme disease are known to cause a number of symptoms that are comparable. Menopause, fibromyalgia, and hypothyroidism can all result in symptoms that are similar to those of BII.

As part of the diagnostic process, we seek to identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a strategy for tackling them head-on. In other women, the implants themselves turn out to be the problem, such as when the implant ruptures or the tissues around it harden. An underlying ailment is a cause in many more cases.

A discussion about the causes of your symptoms and the degree to which they affect your quality of life serves as the basis for diagnosis. From there, we could suggest that you seek out an expert in anything like:

Rheumatology, for issues with the immune system or musculoskeletal system.

Endocrinology is for problems with the thyroid or hormones, which can result in symptoms including exhaustion or changes in body weight.

Dermatology, for rashes, tight/stiff skin, or scleroderma.

Neurology is used to treat behavioral or emotional problems including depression, anxiety, or brain fog.

Treatment for the underlying illness, if discovered by the doctors to be unrelated to your breast implants, ought to alleviate or cure your symptoms. If no underlying issues are discovered, having your implants removed should be considered.

Treatment of BII

  • Breast implant removal is the typical surgical treatment for breast implant disease. As part of this procedure, your doctor will:
  • Make a cut around your nipple or beneath your breast fold.
  • Take the implants out.
  • The scar tissue around the implant could be removed.
  • Utilize skin adhesives, stitches, or tape to close the wound.

The scar tissue surrounding your breast implants may also be removed at the same time by many doctors. This is known as a capsulectomy. En bloc capsulotomy refers to the removal of the breast implant and capsule together.

According to several studies, symptoms start to go better nearly right away once an implant is removed. Not everyone will show improvement, though. Within the first 30 days following surgery, relief could happen. Within three months of surgery, one research from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery demonstrated relief in symptoms.

Removal of breast implants

Even though getting breast implants was a significant decision, more women decided to have them removed in 2021 than in previous years. The Aesthetic Society figures show that 148,000 women got implants scrapped and replaced (up 32% from 2020), and 71,000 had implants removed but not replaced (up 47%); however, it is unclear whether or not BII contributed to either of these increases.

The choice to have your implants removed may lessen your symptoms if you're not satisfied with their size or shape or if you've experienced a problem like capsular contracture, which is the development of hard, stiff scar tissue around the implant.

However, the choice may be more challenging if you are happy with your physical appearance and your problems are systemic rather than specifically related to your breasts. Even if BII symptoms disappear following implant removal, getting used to physical changes might be difficult.

In order to assist you in making the best choice, your plastic surgeon will go through all your alternatives with you.

Myths related to breast implants

The disease caused by breast implants is the subject of several websites and social media groups. Patients frequently tell that they read or saw something in one of the communities that worried them. Addressing a few of the most typical worries.

Sagging skin after implant removal: After having their implants removed, many patients publish pictures of themselves online. These images often show ladies who had very big implants removed (400cc or 500cc), leaving behind a lot of loose skin. Images like this may unnecessarily increase worry.

After the removal of the implants, some volume can be restored by moving fat from another part of the body to the breast. This procedure can give your breasts a nice look and a less abrupt transition, even though they probably won't be as full as they were before the procedure or with implants.

There is no "one proper approach" to removing breast implants; instead, there are various safe removal techniques.

Removing the implants but leaving the capsule-like scar tissue that surrounds them.

En-bloc capsulectomy: the removal of the implant and complete capsule without opening the capsule.

After making a cut in the capsule and extracting the implant, all or most of the capsule is then removed.

Many social groups assert, however, that only particular treatments, most notably en-bloc capsulectomy, would completely eradicate BII symptoms. This is false, and there are circumstances where using that technique may make things worse. A pneumothorax, or air leak into the gap between the lungs and chest wall, could result from completely removing the capsule if it adheres to the chest wall. In this instance, the majority of the capsule may be removed, and the patch up against the ribs can be cauterized.

Furthermore, removing the capsule and implant simultaneously (en-block) could call for a lengthier incision, particularly for women who have just undergone a breast enhancement and not a breast lift and augmentation.

Being troubled with BII symptoms might be perplexing. It's crucial to locate a healthcare professional who pays attention to your worries. You want someone who will do a thorough examination and look for methods to assist you in improving.

If any symptoms worsen or you have any new ones, consult your doctor. A group of symptoms known as breast implant illness (BII) affects patients who have breast implants. For BII, there is no recognized medical diagnosis. Fatigue, joint discomfort, mental fog, dry eyes, and several other health issues are possible symptoms. In order to diagnose BII, medical professionals must rule out other medical problems. The removal of the implants is a component of breast implant sickness therapy. Many patients see symptom alleviation quickly after having an implant removed. To better recognize and comprehend this illness, researchers are still studying BII.

Why some people get BII while the rest do not is unknown to experts. Deliberately opting not to receive breast implants is undoubtedly one approach to reduce the risk of BII. Speak with your plastic surgeon if you already had breast implants and exhibit BII symptoms.

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