Breast augmentation has long been a popular cosmetic procedure, promising an enhanced appearance and an apparent boost in self-esteem. However, it is essential to acknowledge the darker side of breast implants, as they are far from the safe, risk-free choice that they’re advertised to be. Dr. Khan is a specialist in Breast Implant Illness (BII) who takes a strong stand against breast implants. We explore the various side effects and risks of breast implants.
Unwanted scarring from breast implants can be a concern for some individuals undergoing breast augmentation. While plastic surgeons aim to minimize scarring, there are risks associated with poor healing or visible scars:
- Hypertrophic Scars: Some patients may develop raised, thickened scars called hypertrophic scars, which can be itchy and cosmetically displeasing.
- Keloid Scars: Keloids are more severe than hypertrophic scars, extending beyond the initial incision site and becoming more noticeable.
- Poorly-Placed Incisions: Improperly placed incisions can result in visible scars along the breast crease or areola, compromising the aesthetic outcome.
Changes in Breast Sensation
Changes in breast sensation are common after breast implant surgery. Some individuals experience temporary numbness or heightened sensitivity in the breasts, nipples, or surrounding areas. These changes can occur due to surgical trauma, nerve compression, or stretching during the procedure. While sensation often returns to normal over time, some may experience permanent alterations in breast sensation.
Rupture & Leakage
Rupture and leakage can occur due to the potential damage or breach of the implant’s outer shell. Rupture occurs when the implant’s silicone or saline filling escapes from its enclosure. Silicone implant ruptures are often “silent” and may require imaging to detect, while saline implants result in noticeable deflation. Since silicone implant ruptures aren’t immediately visible, the silicone gel may travel to nearby lymph nodes, tissues, or organs, causing inflammation and discomfort. It can also cause an inflammatory response, leading to capsular contracture.
Capsular contracture is a common complication of breast implant surgery, occurring when the scar tissue (capsule) that naturally forms around the implant becomes thickened, tight, and constricting. This can lead to various symptoms, including breast firmness, pain, distortion of breast shape, and discomfort. Surgical intervention may be necessary to alleviate symptoms, which can involve removing the implants and the surrounding capsule.
Potential Symptoms of Capsular Contracture:
- Increased breast firmness or hardness
- Breast pain or discomfort
- Changes in breast shape or appearance
- Breast asymmetry, with one breast appearing higher or distorted
- Tightness or pressure in the chest area
- Discomfort when wearing a bra or lying on the chest
- Visible rippling or wrinkling of the implant
- Reduced breast mobility or flexibility
Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that has been linked to breast implants, primarily textured implants. BIA-ALCL typically presents as a late seroma (fluid accumulation around the implant) or swelling of the breast, occurring years after implant surgery. While it is a rare condition, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks. Treatment typically involves removing the implant and surrounding tissue. Regular follow-up and monitoring are crucial for individuals with breast implants.
Potential Symptoms of BIA-ALCL:
- Swelling or fluid buildup around the breast implant
- Pain or discomfort in the breast
- Asymmetry or changes in breast shape
- Skin rash or redness on the breast
- Lumps or masses in the breast or armpit
- Fatigue or unexplained weight loss
- Fever and night sweats (in advanced cases)
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit or neck
Breast Implant Illness (BII)
Breast Implant Illness (BII) is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms and health issues that some individuals with breast implants experience. These symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain, cognitive difficulties, and autoimmune-like reactions. While there is ongoing debate within the medical community regarding the true causes of BII, patients often report symptom improvement after implant removal. It’s especially hard to pinpoint the exact cause of breast implant illness because its symptoms can be incredibly wide-ranging.
Potential Symptoms of BII:
- Fatigue and chronic tiredness
- Joint and muscle pain
- Brain fog and cognitive difficulties
- Autoimmune-like symptoms, such as rashes and inflammation
- Anxiety and mood swings
- Digestive problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Hair loss or thinning
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Hormonal imbalances
- Sensitivity to certain foods or chemicals
- Unexplained weight fluctuations
- Changes in breast appearance or discomfort
Dr. Khan emphasizes the need for caution when considering breast augmentation. The potential complications and long-term health concerns associated with breast implants far outweigh the fleeting benefits of cosmetic enhancement. Patients should prioritize their health and well-being above all and consider alternatives to breast implants that don’t carry such substantial risks. If you already have breast implants and want to address or avoid the potential symptoms and complications, consult Dr. Khan to explore your explant options.