Saline Implant Illness?

I had saline breast implants for 12 years. Last year one deflated. Immedialtey I noticed my arms had blotchy non itchy rash and I was slighty swollen all over. I did not want them replaced but the PS convinced me to. Over the last year the rash and swelling has slowly gotten worse. All tests neg other than RF. Why do most PS deny it could be the implants? They are foriegn objects in my body? I am gettting them removed. NO one can tell me what else it could be. I need more opinions.

Doctor Answers 4

Saline implants and rash

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It is impossible to be sure what is going on.

If you have a positive RF, an autoimmune problem may be involved.

If it were me, I would have the implants removed because - 

You believe there is a connection, you live with your body 24/7 and you know the most about it. Also -

  • I have had several patients with implants and strange situations - chest and arm pain, rashes, swelling - fixed by removing the implants. 
  • Biofilms - single layers of bacteria - can settle on an implant. This may be what happened.
  • Why do other plastic surgeons deny there is an implant connection? I don't know. 
  • Best wishes. 

Saline Implant Illness

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The reason plastic surgeons feel there is no connection between implants and rheumatic and other diseases is that before the gel implants were back on the market for general use, multiple studies were done showing no correlation. 

Than said, I would have no hesitation in removing your implants given your symptoms and the correlation you have made. 

Thanks for your question. I hope your symptoms will resolve. 


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Rash and Breast implants

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Tough situation! Medicaly there is probably nothing going on relating your implants to the rash...but strange things can happen. A rash is sometimes so non specific that it is hard to say what it could be from. Let me recommend that you see a dermatologist, maybe get a skin biopsy. They may help but in my experience they are inconclusive. If you feel the implants are the cause then removing them is a great option. The peace of mind may be worth it for you.

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Saline Breast Implant Removal

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Breast augmentation is an elective procedure. Women do it because it makes them feel good. If you don't want your breast implants any more they can be easily removed. If you are convinced that your breast implants are the problem, get them removed. There is overwhelming evidence in large groups of women that breast implants do not normally cause this type of problem, but so what? This does not seem to reassure you. You are not a large group of women. If you are dwelling on it, they are not helping you.Why keep them? Stress itself makes skin more sensitive and reactive, and it can also make it harder for skin problems to heal.


The biggest problem with having breast implants removed is the appearance. Since you had a deflation, you have some idea what to expect to look like. If removing the implants reduces your stress it may help your rash, but there can be no guarantees since breast implants do not normally cause rashes. If there is a concern that the implants are infected, they can be cultured. If there is something abnormal in the capsule it can be sent for biopsy. Rashes sometimes clear after the stressors are removed, if it does great; however, if it doesn't, you will need to focus on finding the problem.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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