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Do I Have Breast Implant Illness?

If you have undergone breast augmentation surgery and are currently experiencing inexplicable, worrisome symptoms, you may have Breast Implant Illness.

In the past few years, requests for breast implant removal surgery have vastly increased, raising concerns within the cosmetic industry.  Breast Implant Illness (BII) is rarely understood and there is much more research needed to determine its exact causes and effective approaches to treatment or even a cure.  However, it’s assumed women with a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disorders or those with a history of autoimmune dysfunction are likely to develop Breast Implant Illness symptoms following breast augmentation surgery.  It’s also believed having an adverse reaction to silicone-based substances may play a major factor in developing BII, as silicone may “bleed” through its intact shell and into surrounding tissues, becoming problematic.

Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

While the cause(s) of BII remain a medical mystery, lacking definitive clarification from the cosmetic surgery community, women who’ve experienced the disorder all seem to report one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Chronic lethargy/lack of energy
  • Memory loss/inability to focus
  • Breathing issues
  • Insomnia/sleep disturbance
  • Inexplicable skin rashes/irritations
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Hair loss
  • GI tract complications

Symptoms can begin to occur immediately after surgery or can take years to develop. has classified BII symptoms as a result of wide-ranging, adverse reactions that can develop following breast reconstruction or cosmetic enhancement with implants and can occur with ANY type of FDA-approved implant, such as silicone gel-filled, saline-filled, smooth surfaced, textured surface, round, or tear-shaped.  A comprehensive, medical evaluation often reveals a correlation to a history of autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.  It should be noted there is no conclusive evidence that breast implants lead to breast cancer.

Treatment Options for Breast Implant Illness

The option to completely remove the problematic breast implants usually resolves symptoms, allowing the woman to regain her quality of life and resume overall well-being.  And, while this remains the most popular treatment trajectory, there are additional options women may want to consider if they’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms but wish to retain the aesthetic curves and contours their body has become accustomed to.  Dr. Jamie Schwartz of the Beverly Hills Breast Institute provides the following additional options that may be worth exploring if you’re experiencing BII:

  • Implant Removal with Fat Transfer Replacement

Breast augmentation through a fat transfer procedure is picking up steam in cosmetic surgery circles – and for compelling reasons.  A multi-step, surgical procedure, Implant Removal with Fat Transfer Replacement involves removal of the breast implants and replacing the area with fat transferred from another area of the body (back, buttocks, thighs, tummy) through liposuction.  Dr. Schwartz employs a proprietary “closed loop” fat transfer system, where the extracted fat is first “sanitized” for sterility and treated with antibiotics before being inserted into the breast area where it is strategically sculpted, shaped, and contoured.  This revolutionary method of boosting breast volume yields an undeniably natural, aesthetically pleasing result and a safer solution for women experiencing BII.  On average, women who undergo Implant Removal with Fat Transfer Replacement enjoy a satisfying 50-70% of fat retention after six months.

  • Implant Removal and Replacement with New Implants

The least common option in treating BII, this procedure consists of removing a textured-surface implant for a saline-filled implant with a smooth surface.  However, if the patient is still suffering from BII symptoms after the implant switch, it may suggest they’re adverse to breast implants in general and will require complete removal of the implants and surrounding scar tissue to avoid re-occurrence of symptoms.


Currently, there is no clinical, definitive link between autoimmune dysfunction and Breast Implant Illness.  If you have received breast implants and are chronically experiencing one or any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, one of our highly skilled team members here at the Beverly Hills Breast Institute will be more than happy to set up a consultation with Dr. Schwartz to discuss your situation and health history and perform a full medical analysis to determine if your implants are the culprit of your distress.  Once a diagnosis is determined, Dr. Schwartz will present the best options to effectuate the best possible outcome and resolution to your BII.  Please note, most plastic surgeons have reported many of their patients had improved/diminished symptoms after complete removal of their implants.

Contact Our Office

Contact our office for more information about how to treat gynecomastia. Dr. Jaime Schwartz, a board-certified plastic surgeon, will talk to you about your needs and help you achieve your aesthetic goals.