BII Update; Some Women Report Fatigue, Dullness, SoreJoints or Anxiety
Around the country, some women with breast implants have been describing a variety of symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, anxiety, hair loss, depression, rash, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and weight fluctuation. These have been reported in women with all types of breast implants (mastectomy reconstruction, cosmetic augmentation, all manufacturers, smooth and textured, saline and gel filled). Scientists and the FDA have begun to seriously research these reports. There is a post from the FDA referencing systemic symptoms referenced below.
The adopted name for these reports is Breast Implant Illness (BII) although this is not currently an official medical diagnosis. There is no diagnosis reporting code in reference materials. In 1999 the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Safety of Silicone reviewed the available literature and concluded that there was no clear link between silicone implants and any systemic disease. There have not been consistent laboratory abnormalities to define this condition. There is no specific diagnostic test for BII, although The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation is funding and coordinating research into this area. The lack of an official reporting code makes medical database research more difficult. Research linking individual symptoms and implants to health conditions will take much more time.
Proper diagnosis and accurate tests are important because plastic surgeons want to help patients with symptoms decide if those symptoms are actually caused by their breast implants, and if removal will alleviate their symptoms. The lack of research does not mean that women's symptoms are not real. Patients with symptoms caused by other conditions need proper care for those other conditions as well.
A preliminary study of 100 patients in a single surgeon's practice, who reported BII, showed that 89% of patients who had implant removal and capsulectomy experienced improvement in some of their symptoms. Symptom improvement occurred independent of en bloc or precise capsulectomy. Some studies show early symptom improvement and recurrence within 6-12 months. Long-term improvement is not scientifically proven.
Per the FDA: “While the FDA doesn't have definitive evidence suggesting breast implants are associated with these conditions. We’re looking to gain a fuller understanding of this issue to communicate risk, minimize harm and help in the treatment of affected person." The full statement is referenced below.
Until such studies are completed, we offer help to women with their concerns. In our consultation, we will discuss what is scientifically known, and what is unclear. We will offer options for continued follow-up and re-evaluation, Rheumatology consultation, implant removal, implant replacement, capsulectomy, breast lift, fat graft alternatives, etc. In fact, the type of capsulectomy procedure has received considerable attention in social media; often advising en bloc capsulectomy - one of the details which careful scientific study will eventually help support. This was mentioned in an earlier blog post, May 17, 2020 linked below ("Old Breast Implants"). Schedule a consultation with Dr. Graham if you have more questions. E-mail us through our Contact Page.