What is breast implant illness?
Breast implant illness (BII) is a condition that has come to the attention of patients and specialists in recent years, and there are still uncertainties regarding the cause and diagnosis of this condition. What is known, is that women are recognising mysterious symptoms after a breast implant procedure. These symptoms can occur soon after a breast implant or months to years later. Any type of implant could cause the condition. Specialists don’t fully understand the condition but are investigating to know more.
Prognosis of the illness/condition
It is understood that the symptoms women experience from BII will not improve while the implants stay inside the body. Many patients have reported that their symptoms disappeared after the removal of implants (explant surgery). However, this is not a guarantee as some continue to experience symptoms after removal.
Symptoms of breast implant illness
Sufferers have reported a broad range of symptoms. The number and combination of symptoms differ between individuals. They can appear soon after surgery or months to years later.
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions like thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases and the menopause. Therefore, the possibility of a diagnosis of BII is made more difficult by the overlapping symptoms of other potential causes.
Medical tests to diagnose BII
As of 2020, there is still no official diagnosis for breast implant illness. A specialist will be able to suggest that BII is the cause based on when symptoms began, but there is currently no diagnostic test that can verify the condition.
Keeping a log of your signs and symptoms, along with their frequency and when they began, could help your specialist suggest if your breast implants or another condition is the cause.
Causes of BII
Not being able to give a confirmed diagnosis also means that the direct cause is still unknown. There are theories, however, that are still to be proven. Medical specialists have considered that the body’s immune response to having a foreign object inside it could be the cause, or a reaction to a specific material like silicone.
Can breast implant illness be prevented?
Breast implant illness has occurred in healthy individuals with no prior illness, meaning that there is no condition that can indicate who is likely to develop symptoms of BII. The only way to fully prevent the risk of developing BII is to avoid implants. However, it’s important to remember that very few recipients of implants develop adverse reactions.
Treatments for breast plant illness
In a lot of cases, removing the breast implants and the capsule of scar tissue that forms around the implant has resolved the symptoms. After the explant, a patient may decide to insert new implants or decide against the risks BII occurring again. In any case, it’s imperative to make sure you are attended by a registered surgeon with specialist knowledge in explant surgery.
Which type of specialist treats breast implant illness?
A breast surgeon. Particularly one with specialist knowledge and expertise in implant removal.