I have an autoimmune disease. Am I more likely to get breast implant illness?

The symptom of breast implant illness are already symptoms that I deal with from my disease. How common is breast implant illness? Am I more likely to get it?

Doctor Answers 3

Autoimmune Disease


I would recommend that you discuss your concerns with your Rheumatologuist and then your chosen Plastic Surgeon. Extensive studies have not found a causative link between breast implants and autoimmune disease, however your ability to heal and recovery process may be different.

All the best

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Breast augmentation and autoimmune disease

In the early 1990s, there was a false scare about a connection between silicone implants and autoimmune disease.  At the time, there was not enough data to know if this connection was real.  We now know, based on massive medical studies, that silicone implants do not cause autoimmune disease.

On the other hand, patients with pre-existing autoimmune disease can potentially be at higher risk for complications after surgery.  As a result, I have my patients with autoimmune disease see their primary care doctor or rheumatologist for pre-operative medical clearance.  I have the same clearance policy for any significant health issue- autoimmune or not- in order to minimize risks for my patients.  In amost all cases my patients are cleared for surgery, but sometimes additional medical management may be necessary to achieve the lowest risk for problems after surgery.

Robert Cohen, MD
Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Breast augmentation and auto-immune illness

Thank you for asking about your breast augmentation.

  • Based on very, very large studies in the 1990s, there is no connection between breast implants and auto-immune disease.
  • Breast implant biofilms however can cause chest pain, tightness and other problems.
  • If you are considering implants, have your rheumatologist examine you and do baseline lab tests.
  • That way if you have symptoms after your implants, you can know if it is the autoimmune disease or if it is more likely caused by a biofilm on the implants.
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 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.