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What Is Breast Implant Illness?

A doctor is holding a breast implant.

Many of our patients who are considering breast implants, or who have already undergone their breast augmentation procedure have concerns about an emerging, but not well-understood condition: breast implant illness, also known as breast implant disease, autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome caused by adjuvants (ASIA), and silicone implant illness.

In this guide, we answer a few of the most frequently asked questions our patients have approached us with. We discuss what breast implant illness is, some possible causes, common symptoms, and actions you can take when you are affected by this condition.

What Is Breast Implant Illness?

Breast implant illness, while not an official medical diagnosis, is a condition that can affect a small number of patients who have received breast implants. Breast implant illness describes a broad range of symptoms that may occur in these patients at any time after their breast augmentation surgery, regardless of when they received their implants or what type of implants they chose.

Causes and Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

There is not a lot of information as to what causes breast implant illness, though it may result from an autoimmune reaction to the implants that causes inflammation. Several new studies are attempting to characterize exactly what causes this illness.

Breast implant illness is rare, with less than 2% of patients reporting it, but more than 100 different symptoms have been associated with this condition. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • GI issues
  • Brain fog
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight changes
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rashes or skin issues

There is an overlap between the symptoms of breast implant illness and other medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, menopause, fibromyalgia, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, so it is important to rule these out.

If you notice the development of any of these issues, or you notice them getting worse over time, you should speak to your healthcare provider.

Since the cause of breast implant illness is unknown, there is no clear solution on how to cure it, but many patients have resolved it by having their breast implants replaced or removed.

Breast Implant Replacement and Removal Surgeries

Breast implants are not designed to last a lifetime. The longer patients have them, especially if they are past the 15-year mark, the greater chance they will develop complications. It is essential to replace your breast implants every 15 years or as indicated by your plastic surgeon.

Removing your breast implants may lead to some sagging skin, as there will be a loss of volume. This can mitigated through Breast lift at the same time.  This can enhance your breasts’ appearance and make your transition less drastic.

For More Questions About Breast Implant Illness, Turn To Us

If you are considering breast implants and want to learn more about your individual chances of developing breast implant illness, or if you think you have breast implant illness and are planning to replace or remove your breast implants, speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon at KM Plastic Surgery.

We will take care to listen to your concerns and help you find the right solution for your symptoms. If you looking for more information about the breast implant illness condition because you are considering obtaining breast implants, contact us today. A qualified breast surgeon would be delighted to address your questions and concerns.