Getting breast implants can transform your life. But in recent years, there has been a growing concern among breast implant patients that breast implants may occasionally lead to certain illnesses and a recent crop of scientific studies suggests a possible link between breast implants and autoimmune diseases.

As breast implants undergo rigorous and continuing safety assessments, and as the science in the area of BII is still in its infancy, patients should be assessed individually, and when other potential causes have been ruled out by one’s primary care physician, breast implant removal may indeed be in order. If a patient is interested in this procedure, we support their decision entirely and will perform a breast implant removal surgery as indicated by their personal medical conditions, weighing the risks and benefits associated with the operation on a per-case basis.

Breast Implant Illness (BII) is a collective term used to denote a range of potential conditions and symptoms emerging usually some years after reconstruction or cosmetic surgeries involving breast implants. In a few cases, breast implants have also been linked to a rare form of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). For asymptomatic breast implant patients, the FDA does not recommend breast implant removal, but for those experiencing the signs and symptoms associated with breast implant illness in Baton Rouge, an en bloc surgery may be beneficial.

What causes breast implant illness?

Breast implant illness is a relatively new phenomenon, one that the scientific community has only recently become aware of it. Experts don’t quite understand the exact causes of BII, but textured breast implants tend to lead to a greater incidence of BII than smooth implants. This may be because textured implants have a larger surface area for potential bacterial infections, which can trigger a host of problems.

Regardless of the type of breast implant used, it’s crucial to avoid infections. All surgeries include a minor risk of infections, including breast implant surgeries. To minimize the risk of infections during operations, patients should only ever undergo a breast lift or get breast implants from a board-certified plastic surgeon who diligently remains abreast of all developments and newly emerging science. Beyond the possibility of infection, the area isn’t well-understood yet, and scientists are still researching the exact causes of BII.


What are the symptoms of breast implant illness?

Breast implant illness affects each individual differently. However, some of the most common symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, headaches, anxiety, rashes, respiratory illness, chronic fatigue, muscle pain, memory problems, insomnia, dry mouth and dry eyes, depression, and hair loss. Each of these symptoms may also indicate other underlying conditions, so ruling those out is often the first step before opting for breast implant removal.

Breast implant illness might also lead to autoimmune disorders, including:

  • Lupus, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your body’s tissues.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disorder that affects your joints, causing chronic joint pain.
  • Scleroderma, an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks its own healthy tissues, mistaking them for foreign infections.
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune condition that affects your salivary and lacrimal glands.

One of the more dangerous and well-researched breast implant complications is a form of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). In 2011, the FDA identified a possible link between textured breast implants and this rare cancer. An implant that fewer than 5% of breast implant patients had received was identified as being involved in a number of cases and was subsequently recalled from the market. 


What is en bloc surgery?

Our Baton Rouge en bloc surgery is the most effective method of breast implant removal. During the procedure, the doctor cuts around the breast implants without disrupting the capsule of scar tissue it is now housed in. As such, the entire breast implant and capsule are removed as a single block to prevent contaminating the body with the implant’s contents. “En bloc” means “as a whole.”


Dr. J. Anthony Stephens: En Bloc Capsulectomy Specialist

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned signs or symptoms of breast implant illness, please contact Dr. Stephens, an exceptional double board-certified plastic surgeon, well versed in en bloc capsulectomy surgery, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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