What can define Breast Implant Illness (BII)? BII is a term that describes a variety of illnesses. Illnesses associated with breast implants. Also, women who have breast implants, self-identify as having illnesses occurring due to breast implants. There is a link between breast implants and systemic disease. Although many studies overlook the issue; it still persists and is now labeled as ‘’breast implant illness’’. The upsurge in the number of patients with BII has been rising. Mainly communicated via social media.
The immune system is stimulated by an adjuvant (nonspecific stimulating agent), which acts by increasing the response of either the cellular or the humoral immune systems in the presence of an antigen. Examples of such adjuvants include oil emulsification (paraffin oil, processed petroleum jelly), minerals (silicon dioxide, beryllium, Aluminum, calcium compounds), or derived from bacteria (staphylococcus, Nocardia, Salmonella, and Mycobacterium). Basically, the autoimmune connective tissue disorder arises from an injection of paraffin, processed petroleum products, and silicon-containing injections.
Symptoms of Breast Implant Illnesses
- Chest pain
- Hair loss
- Chronic pain
- Body odor
- Brain fog
- Sleep disturbances
- Neurological issues
- Hormonal issues
The number of women and teenagers that are having breast implants is drastically increasing. Most breast implants are for reconstruction or augmentation. Currently, statistics stand at 400,000 women and teenagers. 75% of them undertaking breast augmentation and 25% breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
The risks of breast implants
The decision to have a breast implant is personal and a person has to weigh in between the benefits of having a breast implant and the possible risks associated with the implant. Although there are conflicting reports about breast implant safety, concerns are high over the 2011 FDA report that announced that breast implants can cause a rare type of lymphoma called Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (ALCL). Possible risks include
- Risks of anesthesia
- Blood clots within the tissues
- Bacterial infections
- Changes in breast sensations
- Faulty surgery
- Ruptured implant
- Accumulation of fluids
- People who should not have Breast Implantation
How to test for breast implant illnesses
After the surgical insertion of breast implants, ALCL may develop. ACLC is a T-cell lymphoma a type of cancer that forms in the T-cells. T-cell is a type of immune system white blood cell. The cancer is fast-growing according to the American Cancer Society. However, the outlook of cancer diagnosis depends on the stage of cancer and how aggressive it is. Most cases of ALCL are reported within 7 to 8 years after inserting a breast implant. Generally, the symptoms of ALCL are non-specific thereby complicating and delaying the diagnosis. When a doctor suspects ALCL, a couple of tests are done to rule out any other causes or symptoms.
Such tests include:
Ultrasound: Fluid is collected around the breast implant if the cancerous T-cell is present in the sample, it is a tip-off indication of ALCL
Physical observation: Thick scarring apparent around the implant
Biopsy: A biopsy is carried out if an abnormal breast mass is found. The doctors extract the tissue sample and tests for lymphoma
Blood tests: For autoimmune diseases, a couple of blood tests are done alongside a thorough history and physical examination.
Doctors should be on the lookout for any clinical signs and symptoms that occur in each individual. If necessary, imaging tests can be done depending on the type and location of the inflammatory symptoms.
How to treat breast implant illnesses
ALCL is aggressive and can spread fast. Doctors can perform surgical removal of tissues surrounding one or both breasts and extract implants if a patient is diagnosed with ALCL. For stage 1 cancer, surgical removal of the implant is enough to stop the progression of the disease. For stage 2, implant removal and chemotherapy may be applied. Other symptoms associated with breast implant illnesses are treated on a symptom-by-symptom foundation. For example, using antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or removing the implant that is causing the infection or removing the implant to provide relief of systemic symptoms
Detox and the journey to recovery
It takes time to heal after implant extraction. Quite some time for the breasts to fluff back out and for the muscles that hold them back to build back, but in the end, it will promote good health. It will be the end of numbness and the sensation returns after some months. Detox takes longer to have effect
Breast implants are linked to autoimmune and connective tissue illnesses. Despite the controversies, the fact is that implants tend to have an increase in symptoms. Also an increase in diagnosis in women with breast implants compared to those without. For women and teenagers to make informed decisions; FDA to make and implement policies, proper research must be conducted. Conducted by unbiased teams. There is a need for more study and information on the relationship between breast implants and cancer, autoimmune or connective tissue diseases, and rheumatic conditions.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). What are the risks of breast augmentation?Retrieved from http://www.plasticsurgery.org
Cirino, E. (2019). Can breast implants make you sick?Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com
Zuckerman, D., & Srinivasan, V. (n.d.). Breast implant illnesses: What’s the evidence?Retrieved from http://www.center4research.org