Implant Removal for Breast Implant Illness
Breast implant illness (BII) is a collection of symptoms experienced by some women following breast augmentation or reconstruction with implants. Although there is currently no definitive diagnosis, researchers believe the condition could potentially be linked to autoimmune disorders and certain types of lymphoma.(1) Another probable cause is inflammation as a result of capsular contracture. Capsular contracture causes the body to create a hard “shell” around each implant which can distort their appearance and cause discomfort. Some of the most frequently reported symptoms are chronic fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and brain fog. (2) Additionally, many women with the physical symptoms of BII experience high rates of anxiety and depression, which can cause disruptions in day-to-day activities and lower quality of life.
Although adverse reactions to breast implants are rare, patients who experience symptoms of BII should know their options. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove the implants to mitigate the negative effects.
Dr. Tim Neavin is a leading plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Having worked and trained with several prominent figures in breast and body surgery, he offers tailored breast implant removal surgeries in suspected cases of BII. If your breast implants are causing you harm, seek professional treatment from one of Los Angeles’ premier surgeons. For more information about implant removal, call Artisan of Beauty at (310) 858-8811 or complete a convenient form to contact us with your inquiry.
An estimated 300,000 breast augmentations and 100,000 breast reconstructions occur in the United States every year. (3) After the recovery period, the vast majority of patients will not experience any further discomfort. However, a small percentage of patients will. Symptoms of breast implant illness may occur soon after a procedure for some patients, or many years later. Patient-reported symptoms include the following.
- Severe Fatigue
- Joint Stiffness
- Muscle Aches
- Morning Stiffness
- Brain Fog
- Memory Loss
- Poor Attention Span
- Dry Mouth
- Dry Eyes (4)
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Sleep Disturbance
- Nerve Damage
- Exacerbated Allergy Symptoms
- Recurrent Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Skin Tingling/Numbness
Why Does BII Happen?
Research into BII is ongoing, and although some in the medical field are skeptical about the condition, new studies are published every year that strongly indicate its existence. Symptoms of BII can occur if an implant ruptures, though this is not always the case. Though it cannot be officially diagnosed, the cluster of symptoms associated can be treated accordingly.
Some scientists believe that BII is related to a condition called autoimmune inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA). An adjuvant is a substance that generates or accelerates the body’s immune response. At present, no single cause of BII has been discovered, though theories point to a combination of factors.
- Some patients may have a predisposed immune response to breast implant materials. (5) Capsular contracture, the formation of scar tissue around implants, may also be related to BII. One study showed that capsular contracture was present in 55% of participants with BII symptoms. (6)
- The presence of biofilm, microorganisms that cause infection, may be a factor in BII. Biofilm-related conditions account for an estimated 1.7 million of all hospital infections every year. (7)
What is BIA-ALCL?
Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare cancer of the lymphatic system. It is not breast cancer, but it can occur after breast augmentation. It is also associated with BII. First reported in 1997, the most common symptom is spontaneous fluid collection, though swollen lymph nodes, capsular contracture, and skin rash have been reported. Currently, there are fewer than 1000 known cases worldwide. (8) If you have symptoms of BIA-ALCL, or are concerned about your breast health, seek prompt advice and testing from a medical professional.
Benefits of Implant Removal Surgery
There are many reasons why a person may wish to remove their breast implants. Patients may want the change for purely cosmetic reasons, for comfort if their breasts cause neck and back pain, or for relief from BII-related symptoms. Several studies show that patients with BII symptoms had a significant reduction of symptoms following removal. (6)
Why Remove Your Breast Implants?
- Alleviate BII-associated physical symptoms
- Alleviate BII-associated cognitive symptoms
- Improve BII-associated mental health concerns
- Address tissue changes and discomfort caused by capsular contracture
- Reduce aches and pains due to larger breasts
- Enable more accurate mammogram interpretation
- Support body confidence and renewed self-esteem
Before you undergo breast implant removal, you will meet with Dr. Neavin to discuss your decision. He will ask you to give an account of your medical history, and may require specific information about your original breast augmentation surgery, such as the year you had the procedure, the type of implant that you have, and the technique that was used. If you have symptoms of BII, please give details of any physical discomfort, cognitive deficits, or mental health issues you believe are due to the condition, and tell him how they have affected your daily life. Please also expect to confirm when you first noticed the onset of your symptoms.
After he has collected this health information, he will conduct a physical breast examination and note the presence or absence of capsular contracture. Once he has discussed your goals, he will draw up a plan for your implant removal, and give you some details regarding preparing for surgery, the basic details of the procedure, and the expected recovery process.
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Preparing for Breast Implant Removal
Following your personal consultation with Dr. Neavin, we will give you written details to prepare. The preparation process is very similar to a standard breast augmentation procedure. We may ask you to do the following.
- Give us a list of your current medications.
- Stop taking certain medications that thin the blood (e.g. aspirin, other NSAID pain relievers).
- Stop smoking or using nicotine products completely.
- Pick up prescription medications to aid your recovery.
- Arrange between 1-2 weeks off work for recovery.
- Arrange for a trusted adult to transport you to and from our office.
- Refrain from eating or drinking after midnight the day before your surgery.
Dr. Neavin maps incision points with surgical markings. After we have administered anesthesia, he will use the markings to make new incisions. In many cases, the prior entry points from your original breast augmentation can be reopened, limiting any additional scarring. He will then manipulate the breast tissue to remove both implants. In cases of capsular contracture, the capsule around each implant will also be excised (known as a capsulectomy) Once the remaining tissue has been contoured he will ensure the appearance of each breast is symmetrical, then suture the area shut. The treated area is then wrapped in a compression bandage to keep the chest secure and to aid healing.Often, implants can be removed painlessly under local anesthesia with the patient awake.
What to Expect After Implant Removal
Patients can expect swelling, bruising and discomfort in the chest area following implant removal. This can be mitigated with rest at home, and pain medication prescribed by Dr. Neavin. These symptoms will dissipate over time. In many cases of capsular contracture, inflammation is present at the site of excision, which appears to support the BII immune response theory. In other cases, research records the presence of bacterial infections such as staphylococcus and candida. Studies show excellent results in people with BII following implant removal and report minimal complications and high patient satisfaction rates. (9)
Cost of Breast Implant Removal in Beverly Hills, CA
Every implant removal treatment plan is individualized, so the cost of your procedure may vary. We map out a clear timeline for surgery and work with you to ensure efficient scheduling, support during recovery, and effective results. Dr. Neavin will provide specific details after your initial consultation. Qualified patients may be interested in financing options. To book your personal consultation at Artisan of Beauty, please fill out a form, or call (310) 858-8811, and find relief from BII symptoms.
For more information about breast procedures and other treatments available at our Beverly Hills location, read Dr. Neavin’s blog.
- Habib, P. M., Serena, T., & Derosa, A. (2022). Breast Implant Illness: A Case Series. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.23680
- Spit, K. A., Scharff, M., de Blok, C. J., Niessen, F. B., Bachour, Y., & Nanayakkara, P. W. (2022). Patient-reported systemic symptoms in women with silicone breast implants: a descriptive cohort study. BMJ Open, 12(6), e057159. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057159
- Kaplan, J., & Rohrich, R. (2021). Breast implant illness: a topic in review. Gland Surgery, 10(1), 430–443. https://doi.org/10.21037/gs-20-231
- Cohen Tervaert, J., Mohazab, N., Redmond, D., van Eeden, C., & Osman, M. (2021). Breast implant illness: scientific evidence of its existence. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology. https://doi.org/10.1080/1744666x.2022.2010546
- What Is Breast Implant Illness? (2020, October 29). Breastcancer.org. https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/reconstruction/types/implants/special-report/breast-implant-illness#:~:text=A%20leading%20theory%2C%20according%20to
- Wee, C. E., Younis, J., Isbester, K., Smith, A., Wangler, B., Sarode, A. L., Patil, N., Grunzweig, K., Boas, S., Harvey, D. J., Kumar, A. R., & Feng, L.-J. (2020). Understanding Breast Implant Illness, Before and After Explantation. Annals of Plastic Surgery, 85(S1), S82–S86. https://doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0000000000002446
- Swanson, E. (2020). Breast Implant Illness, Biofilm, and the Role of Capsulectomy. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 8(7), e2999. https://doi.org/10.1097/GOX.0000000000002999n
- DePaola, N. E. K., & Coggins, H. (2019). Breast Implant–Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: What We Know. Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology, 10(1), 54–61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6605706/
- Katsnelson, J. Y., Spaniol, J. R., Buinewicz, J. C., Ramsey, F. V., & Buinewicz, B. R. (2021). Outcomes of Implant Removal and Capsulectomy for Breast Implant Illness in 248 Patients. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 9(9), e3813. https://doi.org/10.1097/GOX.0000000000003813