Can Breast Implants Make You Sick?

 Can Breast Implants Make You Sick?

You read the stories over and over on the internet: women who are convinced that their breast implants would make them sick. The symptoms mentioned are diffuse and range from hair loss and depression to shaking forests and skin rashes. Medicine and research are currently still puzzled, and scientific studies have not yet proven a connection between implants and the symptoms. So what is it about Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

What is Breast Implant Illness?

Breast Implant Illness is a term that affected women and health professionals alike use to describe a wide range of diffuse symptoms that some patients may experience after breast implants have been placed. Reports of the complaints can neither be traced back to a specific manufacturer nor to a particular type of implant. They also include implants filled with silicone and also those based on saline solution. The surface structure of the plastic inserts also does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the symptoms: the symptoms occur with implants with both smooth and rough surfaces

For this reason, and due to the fact that researchers do not currently have enough data to confirm breast implant disease as such, breast implant disease is currently not considered an officially existing disease. There is no classification using the WHO ICD-10 code (used to classify and classify diseases and drugs). 2

How common is breast implant disease?

Due to the lack of classification of the complaints, it is currently not possible to name a specific number of sick people. Nevertheless, there seem to be a number of women who suffer from BII symptoms after breast augmentation. In recent years, especially in the USA, more and more people with BII symptoms have turned to doctors and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). In addition, thousands of women join online communities to exchange information about breast implant diseases and thus create more awareness of the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of breast implant disease?

Women who suffer from BII complain of numerous diffuse, disjointed complaints that occur with varying degrees of intensity.

The following symptoms are possible:

Hair loss




sleep disorders

chronic pain

pronounced fatigue


hormonal complaints

neurological disorders

a headache

Chest pain


"Brain Fog" (forgetfulness and poor concentration)

Anxiety 3.4

Since Breast Implant Illness is not a confirmed disease, there are currently no symptoms that are officially assigned to the symptoms, rather the ailments mentioned come from individual reports by those affected. What makes things more difficult: Many of the symptoms can be caused by numerous other conditions or diseases. These include, for example, menopause as well as autoimmune and thyroid diseases.

Treatment of BII

A doctor smiles into the camera. There is no specific treatment plan for Breast Implant Illness due to the non-existent classification - so the only thing left is the diagnosis of exclusion. Women with symptoms that can probably be traced back to the breast implants have to be prepared for several doctor's appointments. Those affected should always consult the treating surgeon first. He will check whether everything is in order with the implants from a physical point of view. Complications are quite possible and should not be underestimated, especially with low-quality specimens: for example, they can leak, become strangely deformed or slip.

If there is no such complication, a visit to the family doctor or, if necessary, a specialist follows. In turn, he or she may do a variety of tests (such as blood and ultrasounds) to see if there are common diseases, such as autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, or if the woman is going through menopause.

If the general practitioner or specialist cannot determine the physical cause of the condition, there is still the option of removing the implant. This step and above all the way it should be discussed should be well discussed: Potential risks in connection with the removal must be clarified, and it is also important to find out whether the doctor is aware of the current status of implant safety and the latest scientific findings Is ongoing. There is also the option of inserting a new implant after the removal or rebuilding the breast with autologous fat.

Some women who suspect they have breast implant disease opt for the so-called en bloc capsulectomy. Here not only the implant is removed, but also the surrounding tissue. This was gradually formed by the body after the implant was inserted. Patients should discuss in detail with their doctor whether the removal of the tissue capsule is actually necessary, as the procedure is very invasive and therefore risky and there is no valid evidence that the removal of the additional tissue is in women with breast implant disease actually helps.

How does breast implant disease arise?

Similar to diagnosis and treatment, it is currently hardly possible to make valid statements about the cause of breast implant disease. However, there are speculations as to which circumstances may be causing the complaints.

These include:

The organism reacts to the foreign body with inflammation.

The body reacts negatively to the surgical measures and chosen approaches.

The woman reacts negatively to the components used in the implant, such as the silicone. 7

Excursus: complications with breast implants

Breast augmentation - regardless of the material and method - is a medical procedure that, like any other, can lead to complications and later side effects. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least 1 percent of breast implant patients are at risk of adverse results or complications.8 These complications may mean that the breast implants have to be removed.

The following complications can occur, for example:

Capsular contracture

In capsular contracture, the tissue around the implant hardens in the breast, causing it to contract painfully. There are four degrees of contracture (Baker degrees):

Grade 1: The breast is soft and looks normal.

Grade 2: The chest is a little firmer than usual, but looks natural.

Grade 3: The chest is firm and looks abnormal.

Grade 4: The chest is hard and looks deformed.

Grades 3 and 4 are in need of treatment in the case of shelves. Surgeons may need to remove the implants.

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