In recent years, as the popularity of cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation have skyrocketed, questions about the safety and risks of developing complications due to the implantation of breast implants have become more prevalent than ever. Among the most commonly discussed complications are Breast Implant Illness and BIA-ALCL.
This immune response to breast implants is primarily associated with textured breast implants in which a significant amount of fluid collects around the implant in the scar capsule. It is a diagnosable condition that can be identified and demonstrated with lab tests and fluid collection. This is different than Breast Implant Illness, which is more broad and less well-defined.
Rather than a single diagnosable condition, Breast Implant Illness (BII) is a collection of symptoms people experience after a few months or years after having breast implant surgery. Common symptoms reported include chronic fatigue, “brain fog” (inability to focus, concentrate, or think clearly and being forgetful), rashes, joint and/or muscle aches, thinning hair, hearing problems, and gastrointestinal issues. To date, there are no identifiable patterns to these reported issues, making the correlation with breast implants a subjective conclusion rather than a known diagnosis.
BII is known as a “diagnosis of exclusion” when testing and examination rule out many other known diseases, such as thyroid problems, Lupus, Lyme Disease, and other conditions. So while it is a medical diagnosis, it does not follow the typical pattern when you think of a diagnosed condition.
While Dr. Lee acknowledges the reality of BII and will explain its risk factors during a consultation, it’s important to weigh both the risks and the benefits of breast augmentation for many people. People experience changes in their body due to life events such as aging and pregnancy that can negatively affect the way they see their bodies. For these and other aesthetic reasons, the benefits of enhancing a person’s self-worth are often worth the risks, especially for those Dr. Lee has identified may not be as at high a risk for BII due to his discovery of a simple test that can identify a key risk factor.
Dr. Lee’s working theory is that subsets of the patients who get breast implants are genetically predisposed to develop BII. There is a certain detoxification process that your body performs billions a times a second that can lead to body-wide symptoms like those mentioned with BII. Some people carry defects to this process that make them more likely to have a weakened detoxification ability, meaning that after a surgery like breast augmentation, their body begins building up toxicities that affect their nervous system (brain fog), metabolism, (fatigue), and other body systems.
Fortunately, there is a simple cheek-swab genetic test that evaluates a major component of this process to help potential patients understand their risks. Dr. Lee also provides counseling for preparing to remove breast implants for those experiencing symptoms of BII. Diet and lifestyle changes, as well as immune support, has been helpful for many people to prepare for yet another surgery as well as helping the recovery process.
Dr. Brian Lee of Aspire Plastic Surgery has been placing breast implants in patients since 1990, making him among the most experienced breast implant surgeons you can find in Northern Indiana. During a consultation with him, he’ll counsel you on the risks and benefits of breast implants to help you make the most well-informed decision for your unique circumstances. Learn more about breast augmentation and the safety standards we put in place to make it as smooth and safe a procedure as possible by calling our office or contacting us online today.