BREAST IMPLANT ILLNESS (BII)
What is it?
There has been a lot of information and speculation in the regular media and on social media about what’s being called “Breast Implant Illness” While silicone gel and saline implants have been in use and studied extensively for over 50 years, it is extremely difficult to prove that a device doesn’t cause “anything”. Millions of women have had breast augmentation without significant issues, but it makes sense that a certain number of women might not do well with foreign objects in their bodies, especially over decades of life. There is a current effort to try to study this more thoroughly, but so far there are so many different symptoms that can be vague and difficult to confirm with any known lab tests. That many of the symptoms overlap those that are common to many women without implants (fatigue, weight issues, sleep issues, joint issues), makes it even more difficult to isolate a cause.
What can be done?
Regardless, this leaves many women who are concerned or frightened about their implants. Dr. White’s office recognizes this serious issue and we offer implant removal services. We obviously can’t promise a cure, but often removal can help these symptoms. It certainly can help women to at least stop wondering if their implants are contributing to their health problems. While total “en bloc” capsulectomies (removal of the scar tissue around every implant) has not been studied as to its effectiveness or even necessity, Dr. White is happy to do this as long as it can be done safely. Capsules in front of the muscle are usually relatively easy to dissect off of the muscle, while capsules behind the muscle can be very thin and densely adherent to the underlying ribs. It can be likened to removing wallpaper. Capsules behind the muscle can also extend well into the armpit, where extremely important nerves, blood vessels and lymphatics are located. Dr. White will discuss with you your concerns and goals in your implant removal surgery. If the patient has saline implants with a transparent filmy capsules, you might elect to leave the capsule after discussing the risks and benefits, as we know from going back into breasts with deflated saline implants that the capsule shrinks way down on its own and is gradually resorbed. With an older ruptured gel implant, the capsule likely contains gel and is more important to remove. Again, this is something Dr. White will discuss with you after looking at your particular situation and desires.
Click HERE to learn more about breast implant removal/exchange.