What Is Breast Implant Illness?

Have you ever heard of breast implant illness? If not, you may wonder what it is or how you’d know if you had it. Breast implant illness, or BII, is somewhat new. It is the term that describes a variety of unpleasant symptoms that develop as a result of breast implants, though the exact causes are unknown.


doctor holding a breast implant

Despite the fact that many doctors are yet to recognize this as a medical condition, many women with breast implants have reported various symptoms linked to the implants over the years. There is no doubt that these symptoms are real, and experts are trying to learn more about them. Here is what doctors currently know about breast implant illness and safety.

What Is BII?

This is a group of signs and symptoms that arise after receiving breast implants. Anyone with breast implants might develop BII, and the symptoms can be mild or very incapacitating.

BII has no known cause, but doctors believe it may be linked to autoimmune or inflammatory illnesses. Moreover, the patients show symptoms regardless of whether their implants contain silicone or saline solutions, and the symptoms can arise immediately after the implant surgery or years later. For some people, the symptoms resolve after implant removal, though they remain for others.

Signs of BII

The symptoms vary from one individual to the next. Some of the signs that women with BII experience include the following.

  • Unexplained exhaustion or fatigue

  • Constant pain around the breast implants long after surgery

  • Fluid pools around your implants

  • Muscle or joint pain

  • Muscle weakness or myopathy

  • Headaches

  • Dry eyes and dry mouth

  • Gastrointestinal issues

  • Brain fog

  • Depression

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Memory loss

  • Hair loss

  • Anxiety

  • Skin issues such as rashes

  • Weight changes

  • Trouble sleeping

If you observe any of these symptoms, inform your doctor. When your doctor suspects BII, they will run several tests to rule out any other roots of the symptoms.

Should You Be Worried About BII?

BII is a rare illness, and most people do not get sick from breast implants. The risk of getting BII is low, and it is not a fatal illness. The current risk of getting BII ranges from 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 86,000 based on the type of implant and the manufacturer.

How Is BII Treated?

If your doctor diagnoses you with BII, they will most likely suggest removing the implant and scar tissue around it. When BII is detected early, implant removal is usually enough to stop it from progressing. However, if BII symptoms have spread to the surrounding tissue, your doctor may suggest a more aggressive treatment.

Your doctor will address BII symptoms on a case-by-case basis. For instance, they may prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection in mild cases. In severe cases, you may require surgery to remove the implants responsible for the illness.

Can You Prevent BII?

To reduce your risk of getting BII, carefully observe your breasts after implant surgery. Also, remember to adhere to your surgeon's aftercare guidelines and follow-up appointments. Call us immediately if you detect any breast or health changes or signs of infection.

For more information on breast implant illness, contact Aesthetic Surgical Associates at our office in Metairie, Louisiana (serving New Orleans Area) at 504-226-8200 today.