What Are The Health Risks Linked to Breast Implants.

I was inquiring about implants and really wanted to get them. However like most sensible people you will do your homework before jumping in head first. I have discovered alot of horror stories about womans health failing due to the breast enhancement. Alot of women showed extreme symptoms, such as hair loss, memory loss, lupus like symptoms, extreme fatigue, extreme joint pain, immune failure. Can you give me some insight as to why this happening and if there is a safe breast implant product?

Doctor Answers 6

Risks of Saline and Silicone Breast Implants

They are both problematic for different reasons. Saline implants and silicone gel implants in general cause certain local problems in the chest. If you have an implant that is placed under the muscle, the muscle, such as the pectoralis major, has to be cut. When you cut the pectoralis major muscle, you do make that muscle weaker, so other muscles have to compensate so that could lead to potential pain in the chest wall, in the shoulder and in the back. And look at where the implant sits. The implant sits on the intercostal muscle, ribs, pectoralis minor muscle and serratus anterior muscle. Now that muscle goes all the way around your back to insert onto your scalpula. That puts a lot of stress on the scalpula because with the weight of the implant the scalpula is perhaps drawn more laterally. That puts stress on the trapezious, on the rhomboids, levator scapulae. These are all reasons why many patients who had implants under the muscle have neck pain and back pain and it all puts it under stress. These are common problems that both types of implants share. Now, the saline implant can be a problem because the shell over time deteriorates and actually the shell can shed whether it is texture surface, which will shed sooner, or smooth shell saline implants, they will shed at a later time. When it sheds, it will invite more immune inflammatory cells such as the giant cells to come and react to it. Silicone implants can bleed. The oil particles in the silicone can come through the shell. Now, even though they have cohesive gel, the cohesive gel still breaks down in our body over time. And certainly if you have a rupture, from a silicone gel it is more problematic because it is usually silent. So you don’t know when it will rupture, or when it does rupture. Certainly if you had trauma you would know that it could rupture at the time of the trauma. The trauma becomes much more of a causative factor for rupture as the implant ages because as the implant ages, the shell becomes weaker and more vulnerable to rupture. Certainly both of them, physiologically or pathophysiologically, create a problem in the body because they create inflammation and when you have inflammation many inflammatory mediators are released and they could create symptoms in every organ system. So there are problems that both share and problems that are different depending upon the type of implants.


Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Health Risks of Breast Implants

This is a great question that still causes confusion among patients. The silicone gel implant scare from the 1990's resulted in much misinformation and confusion for patients and doctors. The truth is that breast implants, just like any other medical device, can have problems. But, the symptoms you describe are not shown scientifically to be caused by breast implants.

For an objective and patient friendly summary on the safety of breast implants, go to the FDA website: Search Google for: FDA Update on the Safety of Silicone Gel-Filled Breast Implants (2011) - Executive Summary)

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Silicone implants and health

When silcone implants were removed from general use in the early 90's, there were thoughts that they may induce different disorders like you describe.  Over the past almost 20 years there were vigorous studies performed prospectively that did not show any association of implants with these disorders. Silicone implants were one of if not the most intensively studies product in the history of the FDA.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Silicone breast implants are safe

Extensive scientific studies have found that the diseases that were blamed on implants occur at exactly the same rate in women without implants. In 1998 The National Institue of Medicine, in response to a congressional mandate, comprehensively studied the issue and concluded that "studies of silicones and other substances known to be in breast implants does not provide a basis for health concerns." The FDA cleared silicone implants for return to the market several years later and studies have continued to confirm that silicone implants are safe.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Breast implant health risks

The silicone breast implant is the most extensively studied medical device on the market.  Years of study and statistical analysis were performed by several groups , including the FDA that showed there are no health risks to silicone implants.  There are pros and cons to using silicone implants but there is no known connection with the diseases and symptoms you have noted.  You should only do the procedure if you are comfortable with your choice.  I don't think anyone can tell you why this happens to some women, whether they have implants or not.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Safety of breast implants

There are certainly a plethora of websites that advocate for and against breast implants.  Numerous sites relay testimonials from women who allegedly had their lives ruined.  Unfortunately, these sites are misleading and create unnecessary amounts of anxiety.  Although there are risks associated with breast implants, none of the systemic illnesses you mentioned above have been shown to be related to the placement of breast implants.  Both silicone gel and saline filled implants have been extensively researched in thousands of patients, and we actually have pretty good information about the associated risks.  Complications tend to be localized to the breasts, and typically minor in severity compared to other surgical procedures.  The FDA website has a ton of information about the safety of implants.  Your best resource for safety information will likely be a local board certified plastic surgeon.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.