The Reality of Breast Implant Illness: How Dangerous is it?

Once considered the epitome of beauty and self-enhancement by many, breast implants have faced intense scrutiny over the past few years. What started out as anecdotal evidence and ‘internet whispers’ has now culminated in a significant body of research and an acknowledgement by health organizations that breast implant illness (BII) is an issue to be reckoned with. But what is BII, and how dangerous is it, really? Let’s dive deep into the topic and separate fact from fear mongering.

Defining Breast Implant Illness

Breast Implant Illness is a term used by women who have breast implants and report a wide range of symptoms they feel are directly connected to their implants. The symptoms may vary from person to person and can include things like fatigue, chest pain, hair loss, headaches, chills, sensitivity to sunlight, joint and muscle pain, chronic pain, brain fog, anxiety, and depression. The list is extensive, and what makes the illness challenging is the fact that no single symptom is exclusive to breast implant illness; they often mimic symptoms from autoimmune disorders, making it difficult for patients and healthcare providers to diagnose accurately.

In the realm of BII, there are no definitive tests to confirm its presence. This complicates matters as many conditions are diagnosed through a process of ruling out other possible causes. Despite the anecdotal evidence and a growing number of case reports, not all healthcare professionals acknowledge BII as a legitimate medical condition. This ambiguity can be incredibly stressful for those women who feel that their implants are linked to their declining health.

The Grey Area of Diagnosis

The lack of a clear diagnostic criterion is a key issue in understanding and addressing BII. Many patients report that their symptoms improved or completely disappeared after the removal of their implants, a procedure often referred to as ‘explant surgery.’ While the removal of implants does not always mean a cure for the reported symptoms, it has led to a significant number of woman sharing their experiences and attributing their regain in health to explantation.

However, the lack of a specific diagnostic marker for BII raises questions. Are these improvements due to a placebo effect or some other change in the patient’s lifestyle after the surgery? It’s crucial to note that while there are legitimate concerns and a growing body of evidence, there are also unproven theories and claims that need rigorous scientific scrutiny.

The Current Medical Stance

The medical community’s stance on BII has evolved over time. For instance, in 2019, the World Health Organization classified certain breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphomas (BIA-ALCL) as a distinct type of lymphoma. This marked a significant step in recognizing that some forms of cancer can be directly linked to breast implants.

In terms of other systemic symptoms, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes that some patients with breast implants report a variety of systemic symptoms such as fatigue, “brain fog,” and joint and muscle pain. Based on a comprehensive review of the available scientific literature, the FDA believes that patients with breast implants may have a small but significant risk of developing BII, yet they have not broadly attributed systemic symptoms to implants due to the lack of robust scientific data.

Moving Forward: What Research is Needed?

To truly understand the dangers of BII, more research is crucial. There needs to be a concerted effort to study individuals with implants and a control group without, tracking their health and specific symptoms over time. Longitudinal studies that follow a large sample of individuals over decades could provide invaluable data.

Furthermore, research into the potential mechanisms behind BII is needed. It is hypothesized that BII could be related to the body’s immune response to the presence of the implants, or even the substances used in the implant themselves. This could be through a potential inflammatory response or through the adaptive immune system, causing a range of symptoms across multiple body systems.

A Call for Better Regulation and Transparency

The current landscape for breast implants needs to be characterized by rigorous regulation, high standards of transparency, and clear communication of risk to individuals considering breast augmentation or reconstruction. As of now, there is a general consensus that more needs to be done to improve patient education and informed consent when it comes to the potential long-term effects of breast implants.

The selection of safer implant materials and the continual assessment of the post-marketing safety of these devices is imperative. The process should include real-time monitoring of adverse effects to ensure that any potential health risk is identified and addressed promptly. Transparency is not only vital in providing patients with up-to-date information on the risks and benefits of breast implants, but also in building public trust in the medical device industry and regulatory systems.

The Role of the Plastic Surgeon and Patient

The plastic surgeon plays a critical role in the conversation surrounding BII. They are often the front line of defense in identifying potential concerns. Surgeons should be proactive in discussing the potential risks of breast implants and in monitoring patient health after implantation, advocating for and participating in clinical studies, and reporting adverse events.

Patients, on the other hand, must be their own advocates. They should thoroughly research and understand the potential risks of breast implants. It is essential for women considering breast augmentation or reconstruction to have a candid conversation with their surgeon, ask about all possible side effects, and for post-operative monitoring. If a patient believes she is suffering from BII, she should seek medical help and consider if implant removal is right for her after a thorough consultation with her healthcare provider.

Conclusion: The Road Ahead

The danger of breast implant illness lies not only in the uncertainty of its diagnosis and treatment but in the profound impact it has on the lives of those who suffer from it. Whether BII is rare or more common than previously thought is less important than acknowledging and addressing the suffering of those who live with the condition. The road ahead for BII research and understanding is long, and it will require concerted efforts from patients, healthcare providers, and regulators.

As science continues to delve into the reality of BII, a compassionate and transparent response is paramount. If we are to learn anything from the history of medical devices, it is that patient stories matter, and a collaborative approach between patients and the medical community is necessary for progress. The danger of dismissing reports of BII is that we risk invalidating patient experiences and potentially failing to recognize a systemic issue with profound public health implications.

Ultimately, the correct diagnosis and understanding of BII will require more than just laboratory investigations; it will necessitate open dialogue, shared experiences, and a patient-centric approach to medical care. Only then can we hope to determine not only the prevalence and true dangers of BII but how best to safeguard the health and well-being of individuals considering or living with breast implants.


Understanding more about Breast Implant Illness and its causes

In recent years, an increasing number of women have been sharing their experiences with a health condition that has stirred controversy and raised concerns within the medical community – Breast Implant Illness (BII). This elusive and often misunderstood condition has left many searching for answers and questioning the safety of breast implants.

Breast Implant Illness refers to a range of symptoms that some women with breast implants report experiencing. These symptoms can vary widely and may include fatigue, joint pain, cognitive issues, and autoimmune-like symptoms. The challenge in identifying BII lies in the fact that these symptoms are often nonspecific and can be attributed to various other health conditions, making diagnosis elusive.

The controversy surrounding BII has led to increased awareness and a growing movement of women advocating for their health. Many of these women have chosen to share their stories on social media platforms, creating a supportive community where individuals can find solace and information. However, the lack of scientific consensus on the existence and causation of BII has left the medical community grappling with how to address and validate these concerns.

Research on breast implant safety has intensified, with some studies suggesting a possible association between implants and certain health issues. Some speculate that the body’s immune response to the foreign material in implants may trigger inflammation and autoimmune responses, leading to the reported symptoms. However, the scientific community emphasizes the need for more rigorous and comprehensive studies to establish a clear link.

As women continue to navigate the complexities of breast implant choices, it is crucial for them to be well-informed and consult with healthcare professionals. Open communication between patients and their doctors is key to understanding the potential risks and benefits associated with breast implants. Regular health check-ups and monitoring can help in early detection of any issues and ensure timely intervention if necessary.

In conclusion, Breast Implant Illness is a term that has emerged from the collective experiences of women who report a range of symptoms after undergoing breast augmentation. While the scientific community works to unravel the mysteries surrounding Breast implant illness, it is essential for women considering or currently with breast implants to stay informed, engage in open conversations with their healthcare providers, and prioritise their overall health and well-being. The journey to understanding Breast Implant Illness is ongoing, and collaborative efforts are needed to bridge the gap between patient experiences and scientific validation.

Implant Health gives patients access to personalised breast implant health screenings, with only the very best surgeons, and radiologists to ensure the highest standards of excellence.

Currently, the service is available at OneWelbeck Medical Centre in London. The scans start at £450 and are open to anybody who has breast implants.


The Truth About the Health Risks of Breast Implants

Breast implants are a popular aesthetic procedure that has become increasingly common over the past few years. Women choose to have them for a variety of reasons such as to increase breast size, correct asymmetry, or reconstruct post-cancer. However, with the prevalence of breast implants has come concerns regarding their impact on overall health. So, can breast implants harm your health? In this blog post, we will explore the topic in-depth to help you make a more informed decision about your body.

First, let’s address the most significant health concern surrounding breast implants which is breast implant illness (BII). BII is a collection of symptoms that some women experience after having breast implants. These symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, and more. While there is no definitive proof that breast implants cause BII, many women have reported relief after removing their implants. It’s important to note that not all women with implants experience these symptoms, and not all symptoms are necessarily caused by the implants.

Another common concern is that breast implants can increase your risk of autoimmune disease. Again, while there is no conclusive proof that breast implants directly cause autoimmune disease, several studies have found a correlation between the two. One study found that women with breast implants had a higher incidence of a type of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis. Another study found that women with implants were more likely to develop Sjögren’s syndrome, a disease in which white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands.

When it comes to breast cancer, many women worry that implants could potentially hide breast lumps or make it more difficult to detect cancerous cells. However, studies show that breast implants do not affect mammography accuracy. In fact, mammography provides more detailed images and can be performed more quickly in women with breast implants.

It’s also worth considering the material used in breast implants. The two most common types of implants are silicone and saline. Silicone implants are made of a silicone outer shell filled with silicone gel, while saline implants are filled with sterile saltwater. Several studies have been conducted on the safety of silicone implants and have found no evidence that they are associated with serious health risks. However, ruptures can occur, which can cause complications including infection, scarring, and breast pain.

In conclusion, while there may be some potential health risks associated with breast implants, it’s essential to note that the majority of women with breast implants do not experience any negative side effects. It’s crucial to speak with an experienced and qualified surgeon and perform proper research before undergoing any surgical procedure. Ultimately, the decision to get breast implants is a personal one, and every woman should do what feels right for her body. If you do decide to get implants, it’s important to maintain regular breast implant health checks to ensure the implants are healthy and functioning correctly.


My Breast Implants Shape Have Changed – Why?

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries among women in the world. It is a procedure that increases the size and shape of breasts using implants. However, in some cases, women who have undergone breast augmentation complain that the shape of their breasts has changed over time, and this leaves them wondering what went wrong. If you’re in the same boat, don’t panic; this article will help you understand why breast implant shape changes and what you can do about it.

Capsular Contracture

Capsular Contracture is one of the most common reasons why breast implants can change in shape over time. This occurs when the tissue around the implant hardens, causing the breast to look rigid and distorted. This condition is likely to happen within the first few years after surgery, and you may notice symptoms such as pain, inflammation, and discomfort. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult your surgeon immediately for treatment.

Implant Displacement

Implant displacement is another reason why breast implants can change in shape. This can happen when all or part of the implant moves from its original position, causing the breast to look uneven and unnatural. This condition can be caused by several factors, including excessive physical activity, weight gain, or hormonal changes. To avoid implant displacement, avoid activities that strain your chest muscles, and consult your surgeon if you notice any changes in breast shape.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also cause breast implant shape changes. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can make your breasts fuller, causing the skin to stretch, which may affect the shape of your breast implants. Breastfeeding also causes hormonal changes that can make your breasts bigger or smaller, causing your implants to look different. To minimize the effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding on your breast implants’ shape, discuss your options with your surgeon.


Aging affects the body in many ways, including breast shape. As you age, your skin loses elasticity, causing your breasts to sag and affect the appearance of your implants. This condition is called “Ptosis,” and it can happen regardless of whether you have breast implants or not. If you notice that your implants’ shape has changed due to aging, talk to your surgeon about your options.

Breast Implant Material

The type of implant material can also affect the shape of your breast implants. For example, saline implants are more likely to show ripples and wrinkles than silicone implants. Similarly, textured implants are more likely to cause capsular contracture than smooth implants. If you notice any changes in breast shape due to implant material, consult your surgeon for advice.

Breast implants are a significant cosmetic procedure that can increase your confidence and improve your appearance. However, breast implant shape changes are common, and there are several reasons why they can occur. The most important thing is to communicate with your surgeon if you notice any changes in your breast implant’s shape. Together, you can discuss the best course of action to help restore your confidence and enhance your appearance.


How to Identify and treat Breast Implant Illness

Breast augmentation is among the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the world, with millions of women undergoing the procedure each year. While implants can enhance breasts’ appearance and boost your self-confidence, it’s only natural to wonder if they could cause any health issues down the line. The truth is that breast implant illness (BII) can occur in some patients, leading to a wide range of symptoms that can persist for years. In this article, we will discuss how to tell if you have breast implant illness and how to address it.

What is Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

BII is a term that describes a collection of symptoms that can occur in women who have breast implants. These include autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, skin rash, and hair loss, among others. The exact cause of BII is unknown, but it’s thought to be due to the body’s reaction to foreign materials in the implants.

How to recognize the signs of Breast Implant Illness

Breast implant illness symptoms may vary from person to person, but here are a few common signs that you may have BII:

  • Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Brain fog or memory problems
  • Hair loss and skin rashes
  • Digestive problems
  • Susceptibility to infections
  • Anxiety and depression

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor.

How to test for Breast Implant Illness

At present, there is no specific test for BII, which can make it difficult to diagnose. However, several diagnostic tests can help rule out other medical conditions. Your doctor may recommend a thorough physical exam, blood tests, and imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.

How to treat BII

If you’re diagnosed with BII, the first step is to remove your breast implants. This may lead to a significant improvement in symptoms for some women. After surgery, your doctor may recommend additional treatments to address your remaining symptoms. These could include medication for pain relief, a healthy diet and exercise, stress management techniques, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture or massage.

How to prevent BII

The best way to avoid complications from breast implants is to make an informed decision before getting them. It starts by asking a lot of questions of your surgeon and researching different types of breast implants and their potential side effects. Additionally, take care of your body, keep a healthy lifestyle, and undergo regular checkups.

Breast implant illness might be scary, but it’s crucial to understand that it’s a rare condition. It’s also essential to know its signs and symptoms to catch it early and take necessary precautions. If you’re experiencing any of the BII symptoms, visit our clinic immediately. At the end of the day, being informed and proactive can help you make the best decision for your health and well-being.

How dangerous is a breast implant rupture?

Breast augmentation can play an essential role in enhancing a woman’s confidence and self-esteem. It is currently one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world. However, as with any invasive surgery, breast implant surgery carries some risks. One of these risks is breast implant rupture. Although this is rare, it is essential to understand and recognize the symptoms of ruptured implants and know-how to take appropriate action. In this blog post, we will examine the dangers of breast implant rupture and the safety measures you can take to minimize the risks.

What is Breast Implant Rupture?

Breast implant rupture is where the outer shell of the implant breaks or tears. This can occur in two ways: intracapsular rupture, where the implant ruptures within the scar tissue around the implant, or extracapsular rupture, where the implant breaks entirely and leaks into the surrounding tissue.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Implant Rupture?

The symptoms of breast implant rupture are different depending on the type of rupture. Intracapsular rupture may show no visible signs of rupture, whereas extracapsular rupture may result in pain, swelling, lumps, and asymmetry. Other symptoms may include a change in breast size or shape, redness, or changes in nipple sensation.

What Causes Breast Implant Rupture?

Breast implant rupture can occur due to a variety of causes, such as damage during surgery, faulty implants, aging of the implant, or trauma to the breast. Over time, the risk of rupture increases, and it is recommended that women have regular checkups to monitor the condition of their implants.

Safety Measures

The best safety measure for preventing breast implant rupture is to choose certified, high-quality implants, and have them inserted by a board-certified and experienced surgeon. Regular checkups are necessary to detect any changes in the implant or signs of rupture. Additionally, avoiding physical activities that may damage the implant, regular mammograms, and breast ultrasounds can help detect any potential issues early.

Breast implant rupture is a rare occurrence, but it is crucial to know the symptoms and take appropriate measures to minimize risks. Choosing high-quality implants and an experienced surgeon is key. Regular checkups and monitoring of your implants can help catch any issues early, reducing the risk of complications. If you suspect a rupture, see your surgeon immediately. With the right precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of breast augmentation safely and confidently.

Worried about your breast implants?

If you’re worried about your implants, we can help.

The benefits of breast implant checks include the early detection of implant-related problems and the ability to monitor how your breast and implant change over time.

Can saline implants cause breast implant illness (BII)

Breast implant illness (BII) has eluded official medical status with no direct explanation as to why some women experience symptoms. That being said, reports of women being afflicted by these symptoms continue to occur with more research being undertaken to discover the connection.

Are saline implants linked to BII?

Although breast implant illness has eluded official medical status, both saline-filled and silicone-filled implants have led to reports of BII. Some experts suggest that the silicone gel breast implant may be the cause of a person’s inflammation or autoimmune reaction.

Breast implant illness symptoms

Symptoms of breast implant illness are varied and have a significant impact on a person’s daily activities. Some cases have seen severe symptoms that have left woman bed-bound and can drastically impact an individual’s quality of life.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue/ tiredness
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Dermatological issues like rashes
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Some cases of autoimmune disorders

Reported symptoms vary greatly from people experiencing side effects immediately after surgery or years later.

Do I have breast implant illness?

If you’re experiencing any of the listed symptoms or have noticed a change in your physical or mental health, then we can help. We offer a range of diagnostic services with a range of affordable plans to help you discover the cause of your symptoms.

Worried about your breast implants?

If you’re worried about your implants, we can help.

The benefits of breast implant checks include the early detection of implant-related problems and the ability to monitor how your breast and implant change over time.

Using an ultrasound to check my implants

 Using an ultrasound procedure to scan your breast implants is a great way to keep you informed about your health. Here, we’ll look at exactly what an ultrasound is used to check for, and how regularly you should book in scans after your breast augmentation procedure.

Using ultrasound to check breast implants

 Ultrasound is a highly accurate tool that our radiologists specialise in. We’ve chosen to focus on this method of scanning as it provides immediate results and methods can be adapted to investigate potential problems in more detail. 

What an ultrasound can check for

Using an ultrasound scan, sometimes called a sonogram, uses high-frequency sound waves to generate an image of the inside of your breast. This procedure is used to check for signs of:

The sooner you know

What’s more, the ultrasound scan procedure is quick and effective, and can help you detect a potential issue. The sooner we can find an issue, the sooner we can assist you to remedy it. Ultrasound is also an excellent way to identify capsular contracture which can lead to complications with your implant, let you know if your implants need replacing, and more.

How often should I get an ultrasound for my breast implants?

The FDA recommends that you have your silicone breast implants checked using an ultrasound scan five years after your operation, and every two years thereafter. This is because at any time a silent rupture may occur, leading to leakage and unwanted change in shape of your breast implants. Other symptoms of a leakage can include increased size, swelling, firmness, and pain. Sometimes a breast implant rupture can remain symptomless, so be sure to keep up to date with your health.

We offer a variety of scans including ultrasounds, 3D Mammogram, clinical photographic archiving, and IH immune profiles. All these are backed by surgical assessments from experienced industry professionals. You can be sure you’re in safe hands with Implant Health’s founders consisting of some of the UK’s leading plastic surgeons.

Worried about your breast implants?

If you’re worried about your implants, we can help.

The benefits of breast implant checks include the early detection of implant-related problems and the ability to monitor how your breast and implant change over time.

Illnesses and diseases associated with breast implants

Many women opt for breast augmentation surgeries for various reasons. It could be to improve self-confidence, regain breast volume after weight loss, or help balance breast size. There is no denying that breast implants have come a long way since the first silicone implant was created in the 1960s. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that should be considered before undertaking the procedure. One of the most pressing concerns among women considering breast implants is the possible illnesses and diseases that may arise from them. In this blog post, we’ll delve into that topic and provide some insight into what you need to know.

Breast implants have been known to cause a variety of illnesses and diseases. Some of the most common ones include capsular contracture, implant rupture, and implant displacement. Capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue that forms around a breast implant becomes thick and tight. This can result in the breast feeling hard, look distorted, and even feel painful. Rupture happens when the implant ruptures or tears, leaking silicone or saline into the surrounding tissue. This can cause a host of health problems and requires immediate attention. Finally, implant displacement occurs when the breast implants move from their original position and can cause asymmetry and discomfort.

Breast implants are not without their share of potential dangers. Studies have shown that implants may increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases like scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. These diseases cause the immune system to attack healthy cells in the body, resulting in symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, and swelling. More research is still necessary, but it is essential to understand this potential risk before undergoing the procedure.

Another health complication that may arise from breast implants is BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). This rare kind of cancer occurs within the tissue capsule surrounding the implant and can cause fluids to build up around the implant. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and lumps around the breast implant. If detected early, it can be treated by removing the breast implant and capsule entirely.

Having breast implants comes with a certain level of risk. While the majority of women experience no adverse reactions or complications, it is crucial to weigh the potential benefits against the drawbacks. It is also essential to ensure that you choose a reputable and experienced surgeon who will guide you through the procedure and follow up on your aftercare. Remember, if you experience any unusual changes, such as swelling, pain, or discomfort, see a medical professional immediately. Do your research, and understand the facts before making a decision that may impact your overall health.

Worried about your breast implants?

If you’re worried about your implants, we can help.

The benefits of breast implant checks include the early detection of implant-related problems and the ability to monitor how your breast and implant change over time.

Why do Breast Implants Hurt?

If you have recently undergone breast augmentation or are considering it, you may be wondering how much pain is normal and what you can expect during the healing period.

However, several other reasons may cause your breast implants to hurt including complications. Now, when it comes to complications associated with breast procedures, they are considered rare but if you suspect there is something wrong, we advise you to contact a professional for an examination. 

What does the Healing Process Look like?

Naturally, during your procedure, your surgeon will need to create an incision and stretch the existing breast tissue to place your implant. 

This may result in some post-operative pain, swelling, and tenderness which is completely natural and part of the healing process. Any pain can be controlled using anti-inflammatory medication and should begin to improve within a few weeks of surgery. 

What complications cause pain?

Now, whilst the risk of complication is low certain conditions may cause breast implant pain. 

Capsular contracture

 Capsular contracture occurs when the body’s immune system responds to the presence of a foreign object, such as a breast implant, by forming scar tissue around it. 

In some cases, this scar tissue can become thick and constrict, causing pain and discomfort.

Implant rupture or leakage 

If a breast implant ruptures, it can cause pain and discomfort. This can happen due to trauma, aging of the implant, or a defect in the implant.

Implant displacement

Sometimes, breast implants can shift or move out of place, causing pain and discomfort.

Breast Implant Infection 

Breast implant infections are rare but can occur. If an infection develops, it can cause pain, swelling, redness, and other symptoms.

If you are experiencing persistent pain or discomfort with your breast implants, you must speak with your plastic surgeon. They can perform a physical examination, imaging tests, or other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment.

For more information on breast pain, or to book a breast health screening contact Implant Health.