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Breast Implant Illness

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Common symptoms associated with BII include chronic pain, fatigue, chills, headaches, rash, anxiety, and depression.

Breast implant illness (BII) is a term used to refer to a variety of symptoms women believe are caused by their breast implants. While breast augmentation is one of the most popular and highly rated cosmetic surgeries performed each year, there is a small percentage of women who report they have developed various symptoms after receiving breast implants. Some believe they are having an autoimmune reaction to the implants, which the body considers a foreign object.

While extensive research has been conducted to evaluate this potential connection, there is no scientific evidence that has proven a direct link between breast implants and BII. More research is needed to learn why some women have this adverse reaction. Despite the lack of proof that BII exists, our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Neil J. Zemmel, takes these symptoms very seriously and will work with patients to help them find a solution. When these unexplained reactions occur, Dr. Zemmel may recommend breast implant removal through a capsulectomy en bloc procedure.

What Are Common Reasons for Breast Implant Removal?

In addition to seeking breast implant removal (or explantation) to reduce possible symptoms of BII, women may choose to undergo the procedure for the following reasons:

What Does Breast Implant Removal En Bloc Involve? 

Whenever possible, Dr. Zemmel prefers to remove breast implants by performing a capsulectomy en bloc, also called a “total capsulectomy.” This technique involves removing the breast implants while they are still inside the surrounding capsule. A capsulectomy en bloc is especially beneficial for patients with a ruptured implant, as the capsule prevents any leaked material from escaping. A breast implant removal en bloc is also recommended for those presenting with BII and BIA-ALCL symptoms.

Dr. Zemmel is highly experienced with performing breast implant removal en bloc. He will go over the details of the procedure with you during the consultation process to help you understand what your surgery will involve. If you have any questions or concerns about implant removal, you are encouraged to ask him at any time, ensuring you are well-informed about your care.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Breast Implant Removal?

The recovery following breast implant removal will be slightly different for each patient, depending on the surgical technique employed and the rate at which their body heals. In general, most patients feel comfortable to resume their normal activities within one week. Drains may be needed when a capsulectomy is performed, helping to remove any excess blood or fluid. If these are placed, they can typically be removed within one to two weeks. Compression garments will be recommended to facilitate healing and minimize post-operative swelling. Strenuous activities should be avoided for approximately six weeks after implant removal. More personalized details of how to prepare for your recovery will be explained to you before your procedure.

What Is BIA-ALCL?

BIA-ALCL should not be confused with breast cancer; rather, it is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that can develop within the capsule around the breast implant.

Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is an extremely rare form of cancer that affects the immune system. Research has shown a possible link between this condition and certain types of breast implants. Most notably, patients with Allergan® textured breast implants and textured expanders were shown to have a higher rate of BIA-ALCL, which led to a worldwide recall of these products in July 2019. Sientra® and MENTOR® continue to manufacture their versions of these implants at this time.

When detected in its earlier stages, BIA-ALCL has a high cure rate. It is typically treated by removing the entire capsule and implant (capsulectomy en bloc). Due to the incredibly low occurrence of BIA-ALCL, the FDA does not recommend removing one’s implants if no symptoms have been experienced. 

How Much Does Breast Implant Removal Cost?

Although the surgical details will differ for each patient, breast implant removal typically costs an average of $2,566, which covers the surgeon’s fee. Factors that will affect your total cost include the expertise of your surgeon, geographic location of the practice, anesthesia fees, and potential medical tests. During your consultation, our team will provide you with a quote for how much you can expect to pay based on your unique surgical plan. If you would like to break the cost of your implant removal into a series of smaller payments, we accept multiple plastic surgery financing options to make your procedure more affordable.