How do I know I have breast implants illness ? (photos)
Doctor Answers 5
Breast implant illness - autoimmunity - don't take internet info out of context
Thank you for your important question!
You see, we are naturally scared of things we do not know or things we do not understand. It is okay to feel concerned especially because there still isn’t much information on the prevalence of autoimmune disease after breast augmentation surgery. You see, associations have been found in a very small subgroup of patients in multiple old studies, but there is still no conclusive evidence that proves that silicone breast implants cause autoimmune diseases or breast implant illness. Several studies implicate that there is no increased risk to develop autoimmune diseases after silicone breast implant insertion which is why the FDA lifted the ban on these implants in 2006. So, educating ourselves in this field is important so that we do not take things out of context.
Please note that even if there was a theoretical link between implants and autoimmune disease, compared to the number of people who get BBAs each year (over 300,000), very few (less than 1%) actually experience autoimmune disease-related clinical symptoms.
Below, I describe 2 research papers from between 2015-2016 which suggest that silicone implants may be linked with autoimmune disease-related symptoms, but the studies are not long-term clinical trials. I also talk about another article that highlights high risk patients. Based on current evidence from CLINICAL TRIALS, we can say that silicone breast implants are safe, especially with the new current generation implants.
Although breast implant-related autoimmunity is linked with chronic fatigue, that is NOT the only symptom experienced, and it definitely does not occur within few days, but rather after a few years.
1) In the 30 year comparative study by Colaris et al., 100 patients who had autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) due to silicone implants were diagnosed in 2014 in Netherlands and were compared with another set of 100 patients with the same diagnosis between the years 1985-1992 in USA. The study found that most patients at both periods of time (1985 and 2014) had clinical symptoms required to diagnose ASIA: chronic fatigue, arthralgia (joint pain), myalgia (muscle pain), cognitive impairment, pyrexia (fever), and sicca (dry eyes). They also found that 52% of patients in both groups had allergies. In the 2014 group, 34 patients were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. They found that from the 54 patients who underwent removal of their silicone breast implant, 50 % (n = 27) of the patients experienced improvement of complaints after explantation of the implant. The authors found that the median time it took for patients to have clinical symptoms was 4 years. The median time between implant and diagnosis was 13 years. The authors of the study conclude that even though changes were made to silicone implants during the past 50 years, the presence of similar symptoms in the 2014 group links silicone implants to autoimmune diseases.
Colaris, M. J. L., Boer, M. de, Hulst, R. R. van der, & Tervaert, J. W. C. (2016). Two hundreds cases of ASIA syndrome following silicone implants: a comparative study of 30 years and a review of current literature. Immunologic Research, 1–9.
2) In a study by Boer et al., patients with implants who had nonspecific complaints such as joint pain, muscle pain, and fatigue had their implants explanted. This was done to see if explantation of silicone implants will reduce the clinical symptoms so that it can be advised as an effective therapy for these patients. The study found that explantation improved silicone-related complaints in approximately 75% of the patients (469 out of 622). Autoimmune diseases improved in 56% of patients (10 out of 18) only when removal of implants was coupled with immunosuppressive therapy.
Boer, M. de, Colaris, M., Hulst, R. R. W. J. van der, & Tervaert, J. W. C. (2016). Is explantation of silicone breast implants useful in patients with complaints? Immunologic Research, 1–12.
3) In a review by Goren et al., 4 groups of patients were suggested to be at risk or a predisposition of silicone-implant related autoimmune disease and the data was collected from databased on multiple case reports and not a clinical trial. 1st group are those with prior documented autoimmune reaction to an adjuvant such as a vaccination, implant, etc. 2nd group are those with established autoimmune conditions such as Graves disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. 3rd group are those with a history of allergic conditions such eczema, hay fever, pollen and dust allergy, drug allergy and rubber or latex allergy as 75% of patients whom experienced symptoms of autoimmunity to silicone had prior allergies. 4th group are those who are prone to develop autoimmunity due to genetic linkage or prevalence in the family. Several studies have acknowledged increased tendency for development of autoimmune diseases among relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and more. In one case report 3 sisters developed fatigue, arthralgia, myalgia, and sleep disturbances after they underwent silicone implantation and there symptoms alleviated after saline-filled implants.
So research suggests that some patients have a genetic predisposition and that silicone may just be an environmental trigger.
Goren, I., Segal, G., & Shoenfeld, Y. (2015). Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvant (ASIA) evolution after silicone implants. Who is at risk? Clinical Rheumatology, 34(10), 1661–1666.
All these studies are not enough to say that silicone breast implants cause autoimmune disease or breast implant illness. All that the studies show is that certain symptoms which can have multiple causes (i.e, muscle pain, fatigue, joint pain, and dry eyes) seem to get reduced after explantation of the implants in 50% to 75% of these patients. As you can see, neither study specifically linked autoimmune disease with breast implants. This is why we should not take things out of context and start thinking that silicone implants are not safe.
I advise you to share your concerns with a board-certified plastic surgeon, and hopefully they can clear any misunderstanding and misconception.
Hope this helps.
NO SUCH THING AS BREAST IMPLANT ILLNESS
The internet is 99% misinformation. If you go to any reputable site like plasticsurgery.org or surgery.org, you'll see nothing about breast implant illness. Your symptoms may be due to many things, and are probably benign and temporary.
Breast Implant Illness
What you are describing is most likely related to your surgery. After a combined surgery, breast augmentation/lift and tummy tuck it is not uncommon to feel tired and easily fatigued even 4-6 weeks out. It does take some time to recover fully and that is most likely what you are feeling.
It is always best to discuss this with your plastic surgeon as well.
There is no such thing as breast implant illness.
Hope that helps.
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The symptoms you describe could all still be related to surgery. It does take a while for your body to heal itself. Your body is using energy to heal itself, and you will notice more tiredness. You might ask your physician to check your blood clot just to make sure you are not anemic after surgery.