College of DuPage Nursing Student Guiselle Franco shared that with the increasing amount of plastic surgery popularity, breast augmentation is a sought4-after procedure. However, no one is talking about the long-term effects and implications it may have on the body. What started as a myth is now becoming more known, as thousands of women claim they have suffered from chronic disorders, yet are much healthier post-breast implant removal. What was once considered a fairly complication-free procedure may now be associated with infection or chronic illness. To further educate women of the complications associated with breast implants, one must recognize the signs and symptoms, treatment options, and now to prevent these complications.
Signs and Symptoms
Breast Implant Illness or BII is a term used for symptoms that may develop from either silicone or saline-filled implants, although women with silicone implants are eight times more likely to suffer from acute symptoms of BII than those with saline-filled implants (Coroneos et al., 2018). The symptoms vary and may begin at any time following the implant insertion, and are consistent with an autoimmune response in which the body rejects the foreign tissue (What Is Breast Implant Illness? 2020). This creates a cascade of psychological and physical changes in the body with symptoms of joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, difficulty breathing, rash, dry skin, dry mouth, headache, hair loss, and gastrointestinal problems. Psychologic changes include memory and concentration difficulty, depression, and anxiety (What Is Breast Implant Illness? 2020). BII is not considered an autoimmune disorder, however, because, following the foreign tissue removal, the symptoms usually subside.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is no medical diagnosis for BII. Current research is ongoing and the only known symptom resolution is from a total capsulectomy (explanation/removal surgery). Symptoms may improve following replacement of silicone for saline implants and patients are advised to consult with their plastic surgeon regarding treatment options for BII (Coroneos et al., 2018).
It is advised to consult with a primary care physician or plastic surgeon to discuss the risks associated with BII before breast augmentation surgery. If BII were to develop, it is important to recognize these signs and symptoms and then to understand treatment options. This is highly individualized; everyone responds differently to breast implants, and current research is investigating the cause of BII.
Breast implant surgery is a popular cosmetic procedure that is approved by the FDA although the recent concern of BII for women undergoing breast augmentation as well as nurses, physicians, and surgeons is concerning. Current research is investigating prevention and treatment to not only increase awareness regarding the possible dangers of this procedure but to determine the most effective treatment options but to educate women regarding the best treatment options for BII.
“Systemic Symptoms in Women with Breast Implants.” Edited by FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/breast-implants/medical-device-reports-systemic-symptoms-women-breast-implants.
“What Is Breast Implant Illness?” Breastcancer.org, 29 Oct. 2020, https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/types/implants/special-report/breast-implant-illness.