A friend of mine has been suffering with varying debilitating symptoms for years, nothing she attempted to do would alleviate them. She’s only in her mid-thirties and she lost her menstrual cycle after her first child, and was diagnosed with “early” stages of menopause. She also suffered from anxiety, depression, blood shot eyes, and very dry skin.
For years she searched for an answer until one day by chance she came across a Instagram page discussing Breast implant illness(BII), an illness not recognized by the FDA.
Breast implant illness (BII) is a term that some women and Physicians use to refer to a wide range of symptoms that can develop after undergoing reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation with breast implants. It’s also periodically referred to as autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants. Breast implant illness can occur with any type of breast implant, including silicone gel-filled, saline-filled, smooth surface, textured surface, round, or teardrop-shaped.
After discovering this my friend found stories are all over the Internet of women experiencing mysterious symptoms such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, chest pain, chills, rashes, and hair loss. They all suspected one cause — their breast implants. Many of these women, determined to rid themselves of these debilitating symptoms, are opting to remove their implants in hopes of curing their problems.
My friend had breast implants but she never thought that they could be the source of all her illnesses. But when my friend read how all these women were suffering from the same symptoms and ailments she was suffering from, she then put the pieces of the puzzle together and realized that all of her ailments and symptoms started soon after getting her breast implants 17 years ago.
Coincidentally, the FDA in the fall of 2020 published this report “ Medical Device Reports for Systemic Symptoms in Women with Breast Implants “.
I have outlined some of the information and BII symptoms reported within the FDA article.
FDA conducted a query of the MDR database for all reports posted between January 1, 2008 and October 31, 2019 referring to a saline- or silicone-filled breast prosthesis whose event narrative included one or more of the terms listed in Appendix A, or one of the following terms or phrases:
Table 1. Most Common Systemic Signs or Symptoms
|Symptom||Percentage of MDRs (N=3,577)|
Appendix A. Search terms relevant to systemic symptoms referred to as BII
|acid reflux||easy bruising||inflammation||premature aging|
|anxiety||frequent urination||joint pain||rheumatoid arthritis|
|autoimmune||gastritis||leaky gut||shortness of breath|
|connective tissue||GERD||memory loss||sleep|
|cough||GI issues||menopause||slow healing|
|dehydration||hair loss||metallic taste||slow muscle recovery|
|difficulty swallowing||headaches||multiple sclerosis||thyroid|
|dry eyes||heart palpitations||muscle pain||toxic|
|dry hair||heart rate||night sweats||toxic shock|
|dry skin||hormone||numbness||urinary tract|
|ear ringing||IBS||panic attack||weight|
According to the website Breastimplantillness.com
Silicone has the ability to modulate immune, endocrinological, and neurotransmitter functions. It is an adjuvant that internally acts as a strong irritant of the immune system where it can cause inflammation, production of antibodies, and other immune responses. Intact implants have semi-permeable shells that leak gel bleed of silicone and heavy metals, and may also include chemicals from shell degradation. Silicone can migrate outside the capsules and into local axillary lymph nodes where it can then spread via the lymphatic system throughout the body and accumulate in various tissues.
Silicone Breast Implant Ingredients :
- Methyl Ethyl Ketone (neurotoxin)
- Cyclohexanone (neurotoxin)
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Denatured Alcohol
- Acetone (neurotoxin)
- Polyvinyl Chloride (neurotoxin)
- Toluene (neurotoxin/carcinogen)
- Dichloromethane (carcinogen)
- Ethyl Acetate (neurotoxin)
- Sodium Fluoride
- Lead-based solder
- Talcum Powder
- Oakite (cleaning solvent)
- Methyl 2-cyanoacryltes
- Ethylene Oxide (carcinogen)
- Xylene (neurotoxin)
- Stearic Acid
- Zinc Oxide
- Naptha (rubber solvent)
- Phenol (neurotoxin)
- Benzene (carcinogen/neurotoxin)
- Lacquer Thinner
- Epoxy Resin
- Epoxy Hardener 10 and 11
- Printing Ink
- Metal Cleaning Acid
- Color Pigments as release agents
- Heavy metals such as aluminum, tin, lead, and platinum
Currently, there are no commonly used diagnostic tests or diagnostic criteria specifically for BII, with the cosmetic surgery lobby, there probably never will be.
Plastic surgeons who’ve treated many patients with BII say that it’s common for those who seek treatment to have multiple symptoms that are interfering with their ability to function. Many of these women have gone to a number of other doctors before realizing that their symptoms may be connected to their implants.
From what I have read many plastic surgeons with experience treating BII recommend that the best treatment most likely to improve symptoms over the long term is removing the implants and the surrounding scar tissue capsules and not replacing the implants with new ones. I also read that it’s important to ask your surgeon to remove the scar tissue capsules because that is a key part of the treatment.
Some plastic surgeons recommended a procedure referred to as an “en bloc capsulectomy”, a procedure that removes the implant and capsule in one piece. This can theoretically help prevent silicone, biofilm (colonies of bacteria that stick to each other and the implant), or other substances that are within the capsule from escaping into the body. Fully removing the scar tissue capsules also may lower the risk that fluid will collect in that area after the surgery ( known as a seroma). Others may recommend a “total” capsulectomy, which involves removing both the implant and the capsule, just not in one piece.
Some women who’ve had BII symptoms opt to replace their implants with new ones of a different type — for example, switching from a textured silicone gel-filled implant to a smooth saline-filled implant. This approach may improve BII symptoms but may carry a greater risk that symptoms will return again over time.
The FDA finally published in 2020 that breast implants with should include ‘black-box’ warning labels about potential hazards ‘FDA Issues Final Guidance for Certain Labeling Recommendations for Breast Implants‘.
I found this website “Breast Implant Illness” to be a great resource for women who suspect they have BII. Here is also a very interesting BBC article about a popular Model who experienced BBI ‘My breast implants made me feel like I was dying‘.
There is also a Breast implant illness Facebook group with over a 100k members. My friend also referred me to this website Healing Breast Implant Illness of trusted surgeons to help with the illness. Instagram also has a page called Breast implant safety alliance.
My friend is scheduled to have her implants removed, and I will update her status in a new article on BII after she does. She also advises for women to talk to their family members and friends to make them aware of the illness because doctors won’t help much.
See my Youtube video:
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