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What is Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

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Having full, proportional breasts can improve a woman’s appearance and self-esteem. Performed using saline or silicone breast implants, breast augmentation is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the U.S. While augmentation is generally considered a safe and effective procedure, it does have its risks of potential complications, as with any surgical procedure. 

While researching the possibility of breast augmentation, you may have heard of an occurrence called Breast Implant Illness (BII). BII refers to women who have undergone breast augmentation who present with certain symptoms and believe they are related to the implants. At Phillip Dauwe, M.D. Plastic Surgery, we hope to educate patients about the causes and symptoms of BII, as well as how to move forward with treatment. 

Dr. Phillip Dauwe and his staff in Dallas, TX, understand that BII is an issue that affects many women. If you are considering getting an augmentation and would like to learn more about this condition, we encourage you to read the information below and schedule a private appointment with Dr. Dauwe. 

Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

Some women who receive breast augmentation develop symptoms they believe are connected to their implants. These symptoms include (but are not limited to) fatigue, headaches, depression, sleep disturbance, anxiety, brain fog, chest pain, hair loss, chronic pain, rash, chills, photosensitivity, body odor, neurologic issues, and hormonal issues. These symptoms have been reported regardless of whether the implants are saline or silicone, textured or smooth. 

As it stands today, Breast Implant Illness is not an official medical diagnosis, and there are currently no diagnostic tests for BII. This is partly due to the fact that BII encompasses a very wide range of sometimes vague symptoms. The increase in patients reporting issues seems to be related to the sharing of information online and on social media. For example, there are Facebook groups with tens of thousands of members sharing their experiences online. While social media is not a cause of BII, it can account for the increase in patients who are self-reporting. 

This does not mean that the symptoms patients experience are not real. A patient’s concerns should never be ignored by a physician, whether they can be attributed to BII or not. At Phillip Dauwe, M.D. Plastic Surgery in Dallas, TX, we have honest and direct conversations with women about what they are feeling and how to move forward after a thorough evaluation. 

What is the risk of developing BII? 

In 1999, The Institute of Medicine Committee on the Safety of Silicone conducted a full review of BII and concluded there was no clear link between implants and any systemic illness. There have been many studies performed on the safety of breast implants, including their link to specific disorders. These studies have shown few or no links between implants and diseases. 

Since there is no way to test for BII and many of the symptoms described are nonspecific, there is no known risk for developing Breast Implant Illness. During your consultation at Phillip Dauwe, M.D. Plastic Surgery, we will review the risks associated with cosmetic surgery, including Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is caused by the accumulation of fluids around the breast. While BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer, it is a very rare cancer of the immune system. When caught early, BIA-ALCL is readily curable. Our staff can address any of your concerns and questions about BII, BIA-ALCL, and other issues. 

How BII is treated

As with any medical health concern, the first step is to schedule a consultation to assess the issue. When you arrive for your appointment, Dr. Dauwe suggests keeping an open mind and focusing on the symptoms rather than breast implants as we go through the diagnostic process together. If we are unable to determine the cause of the symptoms and you believe the best course of action is breast implant removal, we are more than happy to accommodate your request. 

Many women opt to have their implants removed after concerns about Breast Implant Illness. Patients should know that while some women do notice an improvement after removal, others may not. If symptoms continue after implant removal, Dr. Dauwe and his staff will help you take the next steps in seeking further treatment. 

Phillip Dauwe, M.D. Plastic Surgery

Breast augmentation is a wonderful tool for giving women a fuller, more enhanced silhouette. With the help of breast implants, we can correct breast shape and size, resulting in a natural outcome. Dallas, TX, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Phillip Dauwe has performed countless cosmetic surgeries every year, with many patients feeling more beautiful and confident than ever. If you are concerned about or have issues with your breast implants, reach out to Dr. Dauwe today and schedule a private appointment. 

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.