Are Breast Implants Making You Sick? It’s Time To Know the Truth

Three breast implants.

While many women opt for breast implant surgery as it serves specific aesthetic purposes, the risks are worth considering. (Image: Jan Hrnjak via Dreamstime)

Seeing someone you know has undergone breast implant surgery is not uncommon. While many women opt for this enhancement procedure as it serves specific aesthetic purposes, the risks are worth considering. Of late, more health experts and surgeons are opening up about the potential risks of the procedure.

Women undergo breast implants for several reasons, and it would be wrong to think all of them want to look voluptuous. While that can be the case with models or actors, many married and single women also opt for the surgery. Some choose the procedure after undergoing surgical breast removal for cancer. 

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Still, many women who underwent surgery eventually removed the implants, saying the risks were not worth it. Thus, it is essential to know the implications of a breast implant procedure before opting for the procedure.

Breast implant risks

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become vocal about potential breast implant risks in the last few years. However, studies carried out on the subject have shown conflicting results. Older studies failed to establish any clear scientific link between breast implants, specific health hazards, and autoimmune disorders.

However, more recent studies indicate there can be links between specific autoimmune diseases and silicone breast implants. These study findings hint that opting for silicone-based breast implants can make you susceptible to ailments like scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s syndrome. In addition, the FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said that using such implants can enhance the risk of developing a rare type of cancer called BIA-ALCL.

It is essential to know the implications of a breast implant procedure before opting for the procedure.
It is essential to know the implications of a breast implant procedure before opting for the procedure. (Image: Viacheslav Iacobchuk via Dreamstime)

Scientists are not entirely sure what exactly leads to the onset of BIA-ALCL. However, they believe that this cancer occurs more in women who opt for textured implants. No matter what type of implant is selected, it is essential that you know how to evade infections. 

Any surgery that inserts an artificial substance inside the human body has a potential infection risk, and a breast implant is no exception. You should be aware of health complications that a breast implant procedure can trigger, including:

  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • skin necrosis
  • change in breast shape
  • blood clots
  • implant deflation and rupture
  • breast discomfort

What are some of the signs of breast implant illness?

BIA-ALCL affects the skin area near the implant, but it may also spread to other body parts in some cases. The primary signs are:

  • Continued swelling near the breast implant long after incision healing.
  • Fluid accumulation near the implant.
  • Capsular contracture resulting in lump formation beneath the skin layer.

Breast implants can also lead to the formation of autoimmune symptoms in some women. These symptoms are:

  • cognitive impairment
  • unexplained respiratory difficulties
  • fatigue
  • dry mouth
  • poor memory
  • insomnia
  • arthralgias, myalgias
  • silicone leakage throughout the body leading to chronic inflammatory conditions
Breast implants can also lead to the formation of autoimmune symptoms in some women.
Breast implants can also lead to the formation of autoimmune symptoms in some women. (Image: Eleftherios Damianidis via Dreamstime)

How to diagnose BIA-ALCL?

Diagnosing BIA-ALCL is essential, say health experts. It is a kind of T-cell lymphoma, and these cancers can grow fast. Half of all detected instances of BIA-ALCL are found after seven years of implant insertion. Diagnosis can be challenging. The doctor may recommend various tests to diagnose and treat BIA-ALCL. These include:

  • various blood tests
  • ultrasound tests
  • biopsy
  • imaging testing
  • PET-CT scan

What are the treatment options?

If BIA-ALCL is detected early, doctors recommend surgical removal of the implants. For cancer progressing to the advanced stages, aggressive treatment is often recommended, including chemotherapy. Implant removal can also lead to a reduction of an autoimmune response in most victims. Still, women diagnosed with BIA-ALCL have on average high survival rates. 

Should you avoid breast implants altogether?

This can be a tricky question to answer. There are examples of women leading healthy lives with breast implants for decades, and there are examples of women developing health issues within a few years or even months after getting implants. The risk factor is enhanced with silicone implants for autoimmune diseases.

Picking the right surgeon for the procedure is essential, and you also need to monitor the implant and your overall health metrics after the procedure. Any visible sign of infection should be immediately reported to your doctor. 

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