Breast Implant Illness or breast implant disease is a term that doctors use to refer to a wide range of symptoms that can develop after undergoing reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation with breast implants. According to a report by the Breast Cancer Organization, some people have signs immediately, while others develop them months or years after having undergone the intervention.
Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D. and president of the National Center for Health Research, notes that Breast Implant Illness will eventually be recognized beyond a condition as a medical condition. This is because it is not yet recognized as an official medical diagnosis and its understanding has not been studied at the level of a single condition. Because of this, plastic surgeons individually apply various approaches to treating this condition. Many times, when carrying out the breast implant extraction process, health improves and discomforts disappear; however, this does not happen in all cases.
A small study of 100 patients, conducted by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, showed that 89% of women undergoing implant removal and capsulectomy experienced improvement in some of their symptoms within 3 months of surgery. Meanwhile, another test carried out in the Netherlands pointed out, 69% of women with implants and autoimmune symptoms improved their condition after removal.
This condition can develop with any type of breast implant, no matter what material it is made of; silicone gel or saline filling. As well as the smooth or textured surface and the round or drop shape, this condition impacts each person in different ways. However, the most common symptoms that women often mistake for other conditions are joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, and sleep disturbances. Also, rashes and skin problems, hair loss, the appearance of anxiety attacks that you did not have before, dry mouth and eyes, among others.
Notably, many of the symptoms are also associated with connective tissue and autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma. The women most likely to develop this condition are those who have the above diseases in their family medical history.
There are theories, which accuse the material of being the cause of Breast Implant Illness in women. However, currently, the idea that silicone in medical devices can affect the immune system is not widely accepted in medicine. The FDA announced since March 2019 its initiative to carry out an investigation to evaluate the safety of medical device materials.