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Why Breast Implants Can Make You Ill

Sunday, January 5, 2020

There has been much discussion recently on social media about BIAI (Breast Implant Associated Illness).  Although we know that many woman with silicone gel breast implants feel unwell and although it is known that almost 90% of these women feel much better once their implants are removed, there has as yet been no explanation of the mechanism whereby silicone gel breast implants can cause ill health.  Could it simply be that these implants cause an inflammatory response and an immune reaction and that these features in themselves are sufficient to make the person ill?

When one examines the pathology report of the capsules that surround silicone gel implants, one often finds that the capsules have numerous inflammatory and immune cells such as plasma cells and lymphocytes.  So microscopic examination of the capsules confirms that a chronic inflammation is occurring around the breast implants.

In order to understand the impact of this chronic inflammation, it is necessary to understand the extent, or the surface area, over which this inflammation is occurring.  In burn surgery, we measure the size of a burn as a percentage of the body surface area.  The size of the palm represents 1% body surface area.  So for most women with breast implants the surface area of the implant is equivalent to about 3 palms therefore 3% of body surface area.  For bilateral implants this means that there is an inflammatory response of 6% of the total body surface area.  This is similar to 2/3rds of the surface of an arm, as an arm represents 9% of body surface area.  So imagine that if you had 2/3rd of your arm (from shoulder to hand) constantly inflamed and weeping, this is the equivalent area involved with chronically inflammed tissues around silicone gel breast implants.  It is no wonder that, given this situation, breast implants can make you ill.

If you are concerned about your silicone gel implants you can learn more here

 

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