Could Your Unexplained Symptoms Be Caused by Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

June 15, 2022 – Dr. Barr

Could Your Unexplained Symptoms Be Caused by Breast Implant Illness (BII)? West Palm Beach, FL

While the medical community is still researching how breast implants may cause adverse side effects, thousands of women around the world have reported unexplained inflammatory symptoms which they feel are related to their implants. Professional medical opinions vary regarding whether Breast Implant Illness (BII) is indeed an illness. The FDA is still investigating the mechanisms, risk factors, and prevalence of breast implant illness. However, Breast implant-associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been directly linked to textured implants.

Dr. Fredric Barr of Palm Beach Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery decided to stop performing breast implants in 2018.

Some professionals use the term  Breast Implant Illness (BII).  Studies have shown that the side effects tend to go away after removing the implants with a total capsulectomy.

What Are Patients Referring to When Mentioning Breast Implant Illness?

Patients have reported unexplained autoimmune diseases that affect the entire body. Many complaints include hair loss, itching and body rashes, unexplained weight gain, inflammation throughout the body, UTIs, digestion issues, headaches, severe lethargy, memory problems, ringing in the ears, and extreme food sensitivities. Many patients have been prescribed anti-depressants, lupus medication, and anti-anxiety pills.

Breast Implant Illness refers to systemic symptoms that women who have received silicone gel breast implants have experienced. After their breast augmentation surgeries, some women felt whole-body side effects that doctors couldn’t explain. These symptoms differed from the typical side effects of plastic surgery, including pain, scarring, and infection.

Researchers are investigating Breast Implant Illness symptoms despite initial skepticism by some plastic surgeons and medical scientists. For example,  researchers Kaplan and Rohrich (2021) provided a history and review of research to date in Gland Surgery, denying that adequate “concrete or evidence-based studies or peer-reviewed data” existed to support the existence of BII.

Also, in 2021,  a study by Magno-Padron et al. published in a plastic surgery journal found that an overwhelming percentage of women with implants in a support group reported symptoms of Breast Implant Illness. Moreover, a  recent 2022 study by Cohen Tervaert et al. published in the Expert Review of Clinical Immunology affirmed “a clear pathogenic relationship” between silicone breast implants and BII/ASIA.

Due to the risks brought to light by such reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and some plastic surgeons, including Dr. Fredric Barr of Palm Beach Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, have stopped performing breast implant surgeries. These doctors believe it’s essential to consider the risks and listen to the voices of the affected women.

Women with implants who experience the symptoms should visit their doctor to determine if their symptoms could be related to the implant or another underlying condition. You should carefully consider and thoroughly discuss explant surgery with total capsulectomy with your doctor because this is undiagnosed by the medical society. The cosmetic result is often not what the patient had anticipated.

Other Known Risks of Breast Implants, Include Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

BIA-ALCL is a type of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It typically starts in the scar tissue surrounding the breast implant and spreads from there. Doctors treat BIA-ALCL by removing the implant and the scar tissue, also known as the capsule, by performing a total capsulectomy. Symptoms can appear years after the implant surgery and may include:

  •   A mass near the breast implant
  •   Breast pain
  •   Swelling, fluid

Patients are encouraged to have yearly mammograms and/or ultrasounds and MRIs on their breasts.

Should I Get My Breast Implants Removed?

Substantial medical research on BII is still lacking, but some women have found that symptoms subside with the removal of the implants. Plastic surgeons like Dr. Barr offer complete removal of breast implants and the surrounding scar tissue. This procedure is called a Total Capsulectomy, often called  En Bloc.

If you’re unsure what to do, consult a trusted plastic surgeon like Dr. Barr, who will listen to your concerns about your body and help you make an informed decision.

Find Support for BII

If you’re experiencing symptoms of BII, know that you’re not alone. Many other women have gone through the same thing, and you can find support from them in groups like the Breast Explant Solution Group on Facebook, founded by Dr. Barr. These women know how it feels and can share their experiences to help you decide what’s best for your situation. You’ll find many women experiencing the same side effects, so you can rest assured that what you’re going through is real.

Consult With Dr. Barr at Palm Beach Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery

Dr. Fredric M. Barr, M.D., F.A.C.S. of Palm Beach Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, believes that a surgeon’s job is to listen to their patients’ wishes and help them make well-informed decisions by educating them about their options. Breast explantation surgery could significantly improve your quality of life if you suffer side effects because of BII. Symptoms like brain fog, joint pain, fatigue, and headaches could disappear once the implants are gone. For more information on BII and breast implant removal surgery, call us at 561-833-4122 to schedule your consultation with Patient Counselor Carla Pisani.

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