What is Breast Implant Illness?
Having plump, contoured breasts is desirable for pretty much every woman on earth. And getting breast implants is a safe and effective way to finally achieve your highest levels of confidence imaginable.
However, any surgical procedure comes with potential risks, and one that’s associated with breast implants is Breast Implant Illness (BII).
Breast implant illness refers to a wide range of symptoms that can develop after undergoing augmentation of the breast. Some doctors might refer to it as autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA). But breast implant illness is a bit easier to remember.
BII isn’t recognized as an official medical diagnosis. It’s a cluster of symptoms that don’t necessarily fall into a specific category. With that said, the Food and Drug Administration is currently devoting more effort into trying to understand it.
BII can occur with any type of breast implant, though it’s rare and not fully understood. With that said, let’s discuss the symptoms, risk factors, treatments, and preventative measures you can take to make sure your breast implant goes without a hitch.
Also Read: What is a Boob Job?
What are the Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?
Feeling uncomfortable, sore, or noticing redness around the area of your implant is a normal part of the healing process. But if you notice any of the following symptoms, it might be a sign that something is wrong:
Joint discomfort and muscle tension.
Problems concentrating or brain fog.
Mental health issues.
Dry mouth or dry eyes.
Some people develop symptoms immediately after the procedure, while some people might feel them years down the line. Most of the symptoms of BII are associated with autoimmune disorders, rheumatic disorder, or connective tissue disease, including:
In addition to autoimmune disease, connective tissue disease, or rheumatic disorders, an associated condition is breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is a treatable cancer of the immune system that develops within the implant’s scar tissue. This occurs in textured implants more commonly than in smooth implants, although it is quite rare.
What Causes Breast Implant Illness?
It’s not fully understood why some women experience BII after breast augmentation surgery, but it’s believed that women with family history of autoimmune disorders, allergies, or irritable bowel syndrome are more predisposed to developing it.
A leading theory suggests that BII occurs when a person is predisposed to having an immune reaction to the materials that are used to construct the breast implant. This leads to inflammation that can cause symptoms like rashes or muscle pain.
It’s also possible that small amounts of silicone, for example, can bleed through the implant and into the surrounding tissue. This substance can enter the bloodstream and spread to other areas of the body.
How to Treat Breast Implant Illness
One of the most effective ways to treat a BII is to remove the breast implant completely through a procedure called “en bloc capsulectomy.” This approach theoretically helps prevent silicone, biofilm, or other substances from escaping into the body. Another approach called a “total capsulectomy” removes both the implant and the capsule, just not in one piece.
Some women with a BII opt to have their implant replaced with another one made of a different material, instead of a permanent implant removal (or “explant”). For example, a woman may switch from a silicone implant to a saline implant if a reaction occurred due to the silicone breast implants.
With that said, it’s not normally recommended that a woman who experienced BII get another implant, as they may already be disposed to developing one.
After your implants are removed, it is important to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and limit exposure to stress. Most people see an improvement in their symptoms after removal, but living a healthy lifestyle can help keep symptoms at bay.
Tips to Ensure a Safe Breast Implant Surgery
Breast augmentations are a popular cosmetic surgery, and most people live happy and healthy lives with their newly shaped breasts. According to the FDA, only about 1% of breast implants lead to complications.
You can reduce your risk even further of developing complications by keeping the following things in mind:
Seek a Trusted Plastic Surgeon
Do your research and make sure your plastic surgeon is certified through an accredited institution such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Additionally, check to see if they have a history of conducting breast implant surgeries and ensure that most have been successful.
On top of that, see if your plastic surgeon has a history or knowledge of treating BII should it arise following your procedure. This can give you peace of mind as well as reduce the risk of a serious complication from occurring as a byproduct of your surgery.
Be Honest With Your Doctor
You might want a breast implant very badly, but putting yourself in danger isn’t worth the potential cosmetic benefits. During your consultation, tell your plastic surgeon about family history of autoimmune conditions or allergies.
If your plastic surgeon thinks you might not be a good fit for breast implants, there are still alternatives that might work just as well.
Fat transfer breast augmentation, for example, is a procedure that uses fat from another area of the body and injects it into the area around the breasts. This is a good option for people with a history of autoimmune disorder, as your body is likely to respond better to its own fat rather than a foreign object.
Ensure a Smooth Recovery
After the procedure, properly taking care of your wounds is essential for avoiding potential pain and complications, including BII.
To reduce pain and swelling, it is highly recommended that you wear a recovery bra to compress the breast. This can also help your breast adhere to its new contour.
Additionally, you want to reduce your movements during the first week after the procedure. Get your meal prep, housework, and errands done beforehand so that you can spend more time resting, limiting the potential for your stitches to open or your breasts to become misshapen.
Finally, be sure to clean your dressings often, replacing bloodied bandages with fresh ones as many times as you can. This helps to reduce the risk of an infection developing.
Breast implant illness refers to a wide range of symptoms that might occur as a result of a breast augmentation aesthetic plastic surgery. While it’s largely misunderstood, it’s believed to result from an autoimmune reaction to the materials which compose the breast implant.
Symptoms of BII vary from person to person, though most symptoms have to do with autoimmune reactions like muscle pain and inflammation. Women with a family history of autoimmune disorders or allergies tend to be at a greater risk.
Treating BII is usually done by removing the implant. Some women may get a replacement implant with a different material, though it is not normally recommended.
To avoid developing a BII, you should be honest with your doctor about family medical history and be sure to actively take care of your wounds following the procedure.
You also should get the procedure done at a trusted cosmetic surgeon’s office. At PH-1 Miami, we use cutting-edge technology to bring you safe and effective procedures that help you achieve your best body. To learn more about the services we offer, click here.