Beware of ‘breast implant illness,’ experts warn women

Breastfeeding Photo: The Guardian
A mother breastfeeding her baby used to illustrate the story
Photo: The Guardian

Globally, women get breast implants – usually insertion of silicone-gel into the breast – as part of reconstruction after breast cancer or mastectomy. However, insertion of these implants has increasingly become common for cosmetic reasons.

Now, women are warned to be wary of increased side effects associated with the process.

A recent report by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) suggests that women with breast implants risk suffering breast implant illness (BII), a condition linked to chronic pain and extreme fatigue.

The survey revealed that breast implant illness is not an official diagnosis, but some women who believe they have it say they returned to full health after having their implants removed.

Symptoms reported by those who say they have the illness – mainly related to the immune system – are broad, the BBC reported on Tuesday

They include fatigue, chest pain, hair loss, headaches, chills, photosensitivity, chronic pain, brain fog, and sleep disturbance.

But currently, there is little scientific evidence that such issues are linked specifically to the implants.

This prompted surgeons, including from BAAPS, to call for more research.

Knotty Problem

Breast implants have been linked with several conditions, especially cancer.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified a possible association between breast implants and the development of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), a rare blood cancer.

The FDA said it has more than 400 reports about patients who developed ALCL after having a breast implant, including nine who died.

The health agency has been investigating the reports.

Many Nigerian women, especially celebrities, have since joined in undergoing plastic surgeries and breast implants.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 400,000 breast implant procedures took place in 2017, up nearly 40 per cent since 2000.

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