Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Breasts are a beautiful part of a woman’s anatomy prompting many women to go under the knife to enhance them. Yet augmentation may end up creating serious health issues that many women have no idea the cause is literally within them. Since breast augmentation is the most common plastic surgery performed in the US, you undoubtedly know someone with implants so here are some of the risks and related issues that can cause breast implant illness, and what can be done about it.
The shared symptoms of dis-ease in women with breast implants are referred to as Breast Implant Illness or BII. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you do know someone with breast implants. You also probably know women with certain particular health issues. You just both may not know that the two could be related. While not recognized as a real illness according to the AMA or the FDA because of the lack of studies done thus far, miraculously, when women get their implants removed, all or most of their illness symptoms disappear. That immediate healing experience has prompted the hashtag, thehealisreal.
In breast augmentation surgery, implants made of silicone and filled with either silicone or saline are inserted in front of or below the muscle of the chest cavity for the purpose of fuller breasts, improved cup size after breastfeeding, the restoration of natural looking breasts after mastectomy, or any other personal reason. Reconstructive surgeries after cancer comprises 25% of the 400,000 breast augmentation surgeries performed yearly. The modern prosthetic breast was invented in 1961 with the first augmentation mammoplasty performed in 1962. Over the years breast implants have had many incarnations. When breast augmentation first began, doctors were injecting silicone directly into the breast tissue and the repercussion sometimes being death! Then the silicone was put inside a silicone shell but leaks still occurred and were the cause of numerous lawsuits in the 1980’s and 90’s when many women were blaming them for a myriad of health issues. After breast implants showed their imperfections, instead of banning them, the FDA declared that breast implants are not lifetime devices, and breast implantation is not a one-time surgery.
Although a number of independent investigations have indicated that silicone breast implants do not cause breast cancers or any identifiable systemic diseases, in March of 2017, the FDA issued a statement indicating that women with breast implants have a "very low but increased risk" of getting a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). This type of cancer has been associated with 33 deaths so far, and these findings have caused an uptick in breast implant removal surgeries.
Why would breast implants cause illness?
Outside of them being a medical device that the body recognizes as a foreign object and then goes about fighting them for the duration of implantation, breast implants are made of silicone and a number of other ingredients that are considered toxic. This cocktail of chemicals along with silicone cause at the very least inflammation, and as stated before, the increased possibility of cancer. In addition, there is a laundry list of other symptoms that have been repeatedly reported by women with implants.
Possible health issues include but are not limited to:
hair loss, thinning joint pain brain fog digestive issues
fatigue anxiety rashes depression
weight gain inflammation sleep issue recurrent infections
Epstein Barr diagnosis thyroid issues neck pain decreased libido
insomnia melasma night sweats breast cancer
Lupus diagnosis nausea acne dizziness
lymph node swelling thinning skin hives easy bruising
eyes red and/or puffy Lyme disease dry skin headaches
foot pain/neuralgia Sjogrens diagnosis easy bruising shoulder pain
Suicide* racing heart frequent UTI’s fibromyalgia
Hashimoto’s diagnosis breast pain dry eyes shortness of breath
excessive thirst/dehydration breathing difficulties
muscle twitches arthritis diagnosis
post nasal drip throat issues
irregular heart beat autoimmune diagnosis
broken teeth/dental issues yeast infections
Raynaud’s syndrome difficulty concentrating cold body temperature tinnitus (ringing in ears)
numbness in extremities Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis
*The FDA reports that risk of suicide increases after having implants for ten years.
This list is long and so diverse. Alone, one or two symptoms may not get someone’s attention, and it’s easy to pass many off as “getting old”, but it’s not until multiple issues cause multiple years of doctor visits, tests, and scans with no answers that the light bulb goes off and the connection is made. Because this isn’t recognized as an illness yet, the possible root cause of any number of these issues is overlooked, implants aren’t discussed with the specialists, and the symptoms are treated as separate issues. Dr. Eric Wright has stated, “People who dismiss breast implant illness either have not seen these women or do not want to believe what they are saying, he says. These women have no reason to make these symptoms up; they just want relief.” For women who have personally pieced together the connection of their years and years of debilitating health issues with their implants, the decision to explant comes fairly swiftly. Remarkably, in nearly 100% of the tens of thousands of explants, most if not all symptoms heal on their own. With newfound health and wellness the women are proclaiming, 'The Heal is Real!'.
Breast implant removal done correctly is important. An explant procedure called en bloc is used by specially trained plastic surgeons to remove the implant along with the capsule, fully intact. The “capsule” is the scar tissue which forms around every implant. Because leached chemicals, leaked silicone, and even mold can form inside the capsule, that scar tissue helps to protect the body. Removing the implant alone or without the capsule fully intact can possibly cause further health issues or fail to improve existing health issues. It’s important to note that implants can leak or rupture, but BII issues are seen in women with fully intact implants. Of late, more insurance companies are paying claims for explants with proof of related health issues.
If you know of anyone suffering from a number of the issues above, I have a BII Health Coaching program that will help navigate the symptoms, find a surgeon for an en bloc procedure, nutrition and wellness both pre and post explant for the best possible health outcome, located on my website, www.goodhealthvibes.com