June 28, 2022

Are My Breast Implants Making Me Sick?

What is BII?

Although scientists are still studying breast implant illness (BII) and its causes, it is popularly referred to by women as complications they are experiencing following breast augmentation surgery. Science has not determined a definitive cause of BII, but many believe it is the immune system’s response to the addition of synthetic implants. 

With the theory that BII is caused by the addition of synthetic implants, many believe the symptoms are the body’s way of trying to combat the foreign object. Although theories float around about its causes, breast implant illness, at this time, is simply an umbrella term that covers a number of common, concerning reactions to the addition of implants.

What are the symptoms associated with BII?

There are numerous physical and mental symptoms that are known to be associated with BII.

Physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • IBS
  • Hair loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Swollen glands
  • Respiratory issues
  • Frequent skin rashes
  • Recurring infections
  • Persistent joint and muscle pain

Mental symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Brain fog or memory loss

What can relieve BII symptoms?

Breast implant removal is not a guaranteed cure for BII symptoms because BII has not yet been scientifically proven to be a real infection. However, many women feel an instant reduction of the pain and severity of their BII symptoms following the procedure. Having performed over 500 breast implant removal procedures, Dr. Whitfield has watched many women walk out of his office feeling relieved after breast implant removal. 

Dr. Whitfield makes sure all of his patients are up-to-date on the latest information surrounding the science of BII before working with them to determine if removal is the best path for symptom relief.

Can volume in the breasts be regained following breast implant removal?

Following breast implant removal surgery, there is typically a large void left by the removed implants. Many patients inquire about options for regaining some sort of volume in the breasts after their implants are removed. 

Fat transfers are a natural method for replacing volume in the breasts. After Dr. Whitfield carefully removes the implant and casing, he uses targeted liposuction to remove donor fat from another part of the body such as the hips, thighs, or abdomen. He then purifies the fat and uses it to replace some of the volume lost from the implant removal. Your body accepts the fat from this method more willingly than synthetic implants because it comes from your own body. On average, patients retain about 80 percent of the fat added to their breasts through fat transfers.


What to do if you have BII symptoms

If you suspect you may have breast implant illness, you want to choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience performing breast implant removal surgery and stays informed on the current state of BII studies. Dr. Whitfield always puts his patients’ concerns first and will help guide you to the best treatment options for your situation.

To learn more about BII, tune into episode 5 of Dr. Whitfield’s podcast:

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