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Breast implant illness (BII) is a condition that has garnered attention among patients and specialists in recent years, though uncertainties still exist regarding its cause and diagnosis. What we do know is that some women experience mysterious symptoms following breast implant surgery, whether soon after the procedure or months to years later. Any type of implant could potentially lead to this condition, and while specialists are still investigating, understanding of the condition is evolving.

Prognosis of BII

Women experiencing symptoms of BII often find that these symptoms persist as long as the implants remain in the body. Many patients have reported symptom improvement or resolution following implant removal (explant surgery). However, it’s important to note that this outcome isn’t guaranteed, as some individuals continue to experience symptoms even after removal.

Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

Symptoms of BII can vary widely among individuals and may include:

It’s essential to recognize that these symptoms can overlap with those of other conditions like thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and menopause, making diagnosis challenging.

Diagnosing Breast Implant Illness

As of 2020, there is no official diagnostic test for BII. Diagnosis is often based on the timing of symptom onset and their correlation with breast implant surgery. Keeping a detailed log of symptoms, including when they started and how often they occur, can aid specialists in determining whether breast implants may be contributing to the symptoms.

Causes and Prevention

The exact cause of BII remains unknown, though theories suggest it could be linked to the body’s immune response to foreign objects or reactions to specific implant materials like silicone. While there’s no foolproof way to prevent BII, it’s essential to recognize that adverse reactions to implants are rare.

Treatment for BII

For many individuals, symptom resolution occurs following implant removal and the removal of scar tissue surrounding the implant. After explant surgery, patients may choose to undergo implant replacement or opt against further implantation due to concerns about BII recurrence. It’s crucial to seek treatment from a qualified surgeon with expertise in explant surgery for the best possible outcome
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About me

I am a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon. After years of training in surgical oncology, I have focussed my interest on the treatment of breast disease. In particular, my area of interest is the rapid assessment and management of all breast conditions, with a particular interest in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and an emphasis on breast conservation with an optimal cosmetic outcome.​

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