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Breast Implant Illness

Breast Implant Illness (BII) is a non-defined term given by patients to a variety of symptoms that are being experienced in a situation where they have a breast implant in place. Some of the symptoms stated by patients that they are experiencing includes fatigue, foggy memory, headaches, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, infections, swollen lymph nodes and glands, rashes, irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), to name a few. These rare reported symptoms have been listed in the ASPS Breast Enlargement brochure for many years under Risks of Breast Enlargement even though to date it has been hard to scientifically prove any direct link.

These symptoms are noted to be caused also by a large number of other illnesses that are well documented and can also occur in women that do not have implants.  Whilst it is important to keep an open mind, various studies have failed to show a link relating these symptoms directly to breast implants. This was extensively researched in the 1990’s and plastic surgeons continue to research and explore whether any scientific evidence can be found. Plastic surgeons acknowledge that patients experience various symptoms.  The important thing we need to continue trying to elucidate is whether there truly is a causative link rather than a situation where the two things are simply occurring in the same person at the same time. Some patients experiencing these symptoms have had their implants removed and some appear to have been helped by removal of implants. However, there are also numerous patients that have had implants removed and continue to have ongoing symptoms suggesting the implants were not playing a role.

Patients have every right to undergo breast implant removal should they wish, however, it is important to consider the pros and cons prior to proceeding. Our patients best interests are always foremost in our minds. We are always here to help.

It is important if a patient is experiencing any symptoms or has any concerns regarding their implants or general health that they seek medical advice.  All patients, with implants or not, should also perform self-examination of their breasts on a monthly basis as well as at their checkups with their GP.