In recent years, increasing numbers of health professionals have been paying attention to women’s reports of adverse health effects associated with breast implants. For this reason, some plastic surgeons have decided to stop performing breast implants. Patients who suspect they may have Breast Implant Illness (BII) report a wide range of symptoms, including thyroid problems, brain fog, unexplained fatigue, hair loss, skin allergies, and autoimmune illnesses.
Alarmingly, one serious side effect related to cosmetic breast augmentation is breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare form of cancer that may develop in women with textured breast implants. BIA-ALCL, which is not the same as breast cancer, is mainly associated with textured implants.
Why Does BII Occur?
Opinions vary as to whether BII is an illness. The mechanisms, risk factors, and prevalence of breast implant illness and BIA-ALCL are still under investigation by the FDA. However, based on feedback from patients, Dr. Fredric Barr of Palm Beach Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery decided to stop performing breast implants in 2019, after 33 years of plastic surgery practice.
Some women experience breast implant encapsulation, i.e., hardening of the scar tissue around the implant. This hardened scar tissue may affect the surrounding nerve endings, leading to severe pain and tingling in the neck, shoulders, hands, and arms.
For many years, patients suffering from what they believe to be breast implant illness have received no acknowledgment of their adverse reactions. Nevertheless, breast implant removal has helped many BII patients improve their health and reclaim their lives.
Symptoms Patients Report for Breast Implant Illness
In many cases, breast implant illness can be challenging to diagnose because the associated symptoms are often non-specific and resemble other health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, or Hashimoto’s disease. BII symptoms may include:
- Menstrual cycle aberrations and early menopause
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Severe, prolonged fatigue
- Rashes, hair loss, and allergies
- Brain fog, impaired memory, and concentration problems
- Muscle weakness or joint pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
BIA-ALCL: Symptoms and Treatment
The onset of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma may occur years after the initial implant procedure. Common symptoms include pain and swelling around the implant site.
Fortunately, with prompt detection and early treatment, BIA-ALCL patients have a good recovery prognosis. Treatment involves complete removal of the silicone implant with surrounding scar tissue (total capsulectomy).
BII Solution: Breast Implant Removal Surgery
Breast explant surgery (removal of implants with total capsulectomy) is an effective solution for most patients suffering from BII symptoms. Due to heightened concerns about the health effects of textured breast implants, Breast Implant Removal Surgeon Dr. Barr performs total capsulectomy.
Why Total Capsulectomy?
Some surgeons argue that taking out the implant alone is enough to help resolve BII symptoms. However, removing just the implant leaves behind the capsule and other associated particles that may contribute to continued implant-associated adverse effects.
What to Expect from a Breast Explant Procedure
During total capsulectomy, Dr. Barr removes the implant and its surrounding capsule through a five-inch incision beneath the breast fold.
Following this step, Dr. Barr employs an antibiotic wash to kill harmful microorganisms, like bacteria and mold, that may attack a woman’s breast tissues as the implant breaks down. Any suspicious tissue findings get sent to a lab to rule out BIA-ALCL.
The entire procedure takes place in an elective surgery outpatient facility and lasts about two hours. After surgery, the patient typically remains under observation for a couple of hours until the medical team determines she is ready to go home.
After Breast Explant Surgery
Understandably, some patients may feel apprehensive regarding their body image after breast explant surgery. Women concerned about possible changes such as breast sagging may consider mastopexy, a procedure of reshaping the breast tissue for an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Another option is a fat transfer from another part of the woman’s body, which can help reshape the breast without any of the medical concerns associated with implants.
Learn About BII and Explant Surgery: Join the Breast Explant Solution Group by Dr. Fredric Barr
If you suspect that your persistent, inexplicable health issues might be related to your breast implants, we invite you to join Dr. Fredric Barr’s Breast Explant Solution Group. In this private Facebook group, you can learn about breast implant illness, get information about breast explant surgery, and connect with other BII warriors.
Palm Beach Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery: Breast Implant Removal Surgeon in West Palm Beach, FL
Do you suspect you have symptoms of Breast Implant Illness? Give us a call today at Palm Beach Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery to schedule your consultation with our Patient Counselor, Carla Pisani, at 561-822-4122.
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This blog provides general information and discusses health, cosmetic procedures, and Breast Implant Illness. The information and other content provided in this blog, or any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Each individual has a unique physiology, characteristics, concerns, and desires. A blog cannot sufficiently address them.
If you or any other person has a cosmetic or medical concern, consult a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.
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