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Breast Implant Associated Illness and Textured Silicone Implants – Dr Kalus

In our recent case report, I commented on the association between textured silicone implants and Breast Implant Illness (BII). The human body reacts to every implanted device, whether a cardiac pacemaker or a breast implant, by forming a “capsule” around the foreign body. This capsule is made of collagen (scar tissue) and every capsule is different. My observation, from over several years of experience, has been that women with textured implants show unique inflammatory changes in the capsules around breast implants, noting that this inflammation is what likely results in the symptoms of Breast Implant Illness.

The association between inflammation and feeling unwell is nothing new. Conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Inflammatory Arthritis in which patients are generally unwell with a broad range of symptoms are widely acknowledged and recognised.

Only recently have our suspicions of Breast Implant Illness been confirmed in an article published in a journal by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (PRS).

In this article, the authors refer to Breast Implant Illness as “a term popularised by social media to describe systemic symptoms that patients ascribe  to their breast implants”.  Many surgeons continue to deny the existence of this condition, so the authors looked at capsules removed as part of breast explant procedures, as well as the outcomes of patients who underwent these procedures due to symptoms of BII. Their conclusion was that “capsular inflammation is significantly associated with silicone and textured implants”.

The authors went on to state that implant removal with capsulectomy can be safely performed in patients suffering from BII with a low complication rate and high patient satisfaction. This has certainly been our experience at Avenue Plastic Surgery where we have treated many hundreds of women for Breast Implant Associated Illness. Almost all of our patients have reported a significant improvement in their symptoms following removal of their textured silicone implants, and those who have not noticed an improvement were those with pre-existing illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis which will, of course, continue to produce symptoms.

Some other findings reported by this article indicated that the degree of Breast Implant Illness did not always correlate with the degree of capsular contracture [can we put “inflammation” for the everyday non-medical person?].  Prior to removal of these implants, many women were diagnosed with conditions including Arthritis, Raynaud’s syndrome, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, 

Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. To this list we would add skin rashes, body odour and insomnia. But following removal, many of the symptoms associated with other illnesses abated. 

So the news is that Breast Implant Associated Illness is a real medical condition, caused by textured silicone implants, and it is curable by explant surgery.

Click here to learn more about Breast Implant Illness.