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Many women find that breast plants improve their life for the better. However, this doesn’t mean that having them in place won’t cause any problems. In recent years, there have been concerns and some evidence that some women may suffer from breast implant illness. This is a term that women and physicians use to refer to a number of symptoms that can develop after having either reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation with breast implants.
This can occur with any type of breast implant including silicone and saline-filled implants. While there are multiple studies ongoing when it comes to breast implants, it’s not well-understood why this occurs in some women.
Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness
Each person who has this condition may have different symptoms. However, the most common ones include the following:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Fatigue- chronic
- Memory problems
- Breathing problems
- Anxiety and depression
- Hair Loss
- Gastrointestinal problems
Most people are not going to experience all of these symptoms but may have several of them. Additionally, the time frame is not consistent. Some women may experience symptoms immediately while others may not develop them until years later.
The symptoms of breast plant illness can be associated with autoimmune or connective tissue disorders. Women who have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or scleroderma may be at a higher risk for experiencing these problems. However, since these disorders are also not often pre-diagnosed, a woman may not be aware of her illness until after having the breast implants placed.
Diagnosing Breast Plant Illness
Since this is a challenging condition to diagnose, there is not currently one common test or criteria specifically. Dr. Ricardo Castrellon who treat patients with breast plant illness says that it’s common for him to see patients to seek treatment when they notice the symptoms affecting their quality of life. In some cases, they may have gone to other physicians before realizing that their implants may be the root cause.
Plastic surgeons try to rule out other potential causes of these symptoms because the symptoms of breast plant illness could be caused by other diseases and conditions. These may involve looking at the results of other tests that the patient has received. They will also look to find out if any symptoms improved when a patient received treatment for other conditions. For example, a patient diagnosed with Lyme disease probably has symptoms related to that disease rather than the implants.
Treating Breast Plant Illness
After ruling out other causes, if Dr. Castrellon determines that the implants are causing your health problems, then the best course of treatment is typically breast plant removal. As a result of symptomatic breast plant illness surgeons will recommend explantation as a cure. They note that the treatment most likely to improve symptoms over the long run is going to be removing the implants as well as any scar tissue that may have developed.
Removing the implant and the scar tissue will help to reduce the risk that any fluid collects in the area after surgery. Some women who choose to have breast implant removal will also opt to replace their implants with new ones of a different type. This approach may improve their symptoms but they also have a higher risk that symptoms will improve over time.
For any woman who is experiencing breast plant illness and wants to have the implants replaced instead of removed completely we recommend discussing the risks and benefits with Dr. Ricardo Castrellon. It’s also important to note that breast plant removal will likely improve symptoms however opting to have them replaced may cause them to reoccur.
What to Expect After Removal
Since breast plant illness is a fairly new recognizable problem, there isn’t much research on outcomes. However, a small study from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found that patients reported an improvement in their symptoms a few months after surgery. In fact, 88% reported an improvement in symptoms which is fairly significant. Their symptoms that were improved included fatigue, pain, anxiety, and joint pain. A study from an international source also found that symptoms improved in women after having their implants removed.
Dr. Castrellon notse that many although likely not all women are going to experience an improvement in breast plant surgery after removal of the implants. Some plastic surgeons also note that it can be helpful to focus on some lifestyle changes after surgery. Working to improve diet quality, get exercise on a regular basis, and decrease stress levels may all play a role in promoting healing and decreasing the inflammation that’s often associated with breast plant illness.
Multiple Studies Ongoing
Although many of the causes and risk factors regarding breast plant illness are not known, surgeons are hopeful that there will be additional information in the new future. Researchers and patient advocacy groups are working closely together to find out more. It’s important to recognize that while the symptoms of the illness may be associated with the presence of them, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the implants are causing the problem. A breast implant registry has been launched to help researchers track implants carefully and improve problems for women today.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you’re in the Miami area and considering having a breast implant explanation, consider contacting Dr. Richardo Castrellon for a consultation. Keep in mind that most women have implants without any significant concerns. Before having this procedure done, it’s best to speak to Dr. Castrellon about any concerns. Review your medical history, especially if you have any risk factors for breast plant illness such as any autoimmune conditions. If you do have any risk factors, then you may want to consider an alternative to implants.
While breast plant illness and removal are not desirable, keeping track of your personal health and wellness through the process are important steps to take. Since this condition can be serious and disruptive, always evaluate your own health before having implants placed. Discuss with Dr. Ricardo Castrellon to determine your own risk factors moving forward. Contact us if you’re having issues and would like to make a consultation.
Frequently Ask Questions
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