Worldwide, we have seen a rise in women requesting to have their breast implants removed due to a number of symptoms of a systemic nature which they feel are attributed to their breast implants. Known as Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA), “Silicone Incompatibility Syndrome (SIS), or more commonly, Breast Implant Illness (BII). Breast implant illness (BII) can refer to a wide range of symptoms that some women with breast implants report experiencing. There are over 100 symptoms that have been noted over the years. The FDA has added a box warning stating, “Patients receiving breast implants have reported a variety of systemic symptoms such as joint pain, muscle aches, confusion, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, and others. Individual patient risk for the development of these symptoms has not been well established. Some patients report complete resolution of symptoms when the implants are removed without replacement.”
There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about the existence and prevalence of BII, with some experts suggesting that the symptoms may be associated with other health conditions or psychological factors and, therefore, not related to the implants. Ongoing research will hopefully give more clarity in the future.
The exact cause of BII symptoms is not fully understood, but it is believed to be connected to the body’s immune response to the foreign object (implant), and some research suggests a potential association between these symptoms and the silicone or other materials in the implants. These symptoms have been observed with all varieties of implants (silicone, saline, smooth, textured) and every manufacturer.
For women that have breast implants and are experiencing any symptoms that concern them, we highly recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider to see if they can determine the cause of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan if necessary. Many women have responded well to medical treatments or detoxification/nutritional modifications to resolve their symptoms and thus avoided breast implant removal surgery.