Breast Implant Illness

Breast implants can help you look pretty but it can give you an illness that can lead to cancer. Know more about this condition here.

Breast implants can help you look pretty but it can give you an illness that can lead to cancer. Know more about this condition here.

Getting a breast implant is no longer new in the society. There are a lot of people who do this, especially celebrities. One of the possible reasons to do this is because there are females who prefer to have bigger breasts. But did you know that there can be times that instead of helping someone have a better physical appearance, there are times that breast implants can lead to a disorder? Find out more about breast implant illness here.

What Can Breast Implant Do To You?

There have been instances wherein those who just got a breast implant suffer from disorders including the following:

Sj√∂gren’s Syndrome

This is a condition that greatly affects your lacrimal and salivary glands. When there is a problem with these glands, your body will have difficulty in creating moisture. When it gets worse, it might lead to lymphoma which is a cancer related to your immune system.


This is a disorder wherein there is an inflammation all over your body as well as breakdown of your cells. It can have an impact in different parts of your body and could be life-threatening when not treated immediately.


It is also called systemic sclerosis in which the immune system is the one attacking your body. The system thinks that your healthy tissues are harmful and thus decides to destroy these. If you disregard this disorder, it may lead to other complications including heart failure, kidney failure, and cancer.

Another condition that you can have from breast implants is sclerosis. Take note that not all breast implants can result in the abovementioned diseases. There are cases that you can have breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) instead.

What is BIA-ALCL?

Among all the complications related to breast implant illness, BIA-ALCL has the highest risk. It is a T-cell lymphoma that occurs when there is a complication during the breast implant. A T-cell is a type of immune system cell. When this cell is infected, it will, unfortunately, lead to cancer.

It has its own stages, depending on how the cell is damaged or infected. Out of 10 implants failures, 7 or 8 of these end up having BIA-ALCL. It can be that the surgery made a mistake during the insertion and so on.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?

There are a lot of signs that can be related to breast implant illness. Here are some of those:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Change in color or shape
  • Discharge

If you think that you have BIA-ALCL instead, you can watch out for these possible symptoms:

  • You will find fluid collection in the area where the implant was made.
  • There is a continuous pain or swelling in the area even after months or years have passed.
  • You will have a capsular contracture. It is a lump or a thick scar that you can find in the area where the implant was done.

Take note that these signs are not normal for those who have undergone a breast implant. Once you see any of these symptoms, immediately head to your doctor or surgeon.

What are the causes of breast implant illness?

Infection is the number cause of breast implant disorder. The infection occurs when the environment is not clean or in rare cases, a bacteria enters your body during the operation. But there are other causes of this ailment. Below are some of the possible ones:

  • Bleeding
  • Skin necrosis
  • Bruising
  • Blood clots
  • Implant deflation and rupture
  • Calcium deposits
  • Slowed wound healing
  • Scar tissue buildup
  • Breast discomfort
  • Change in breast sensation, shape, or volume
  • Thinning of your breast skin and tissue
  • Further surgery
  • Nipple discharge
  • Asymmetry
  • Bottoming out or dropping of the implant

How is the illness diagnosed

Once the symptoms appear and you went to your doctor, he or she may suggest various tests to see if you really do have the condition. Some of these are:

  • A thick scarring that will be done around your implant.
  • A test that involves your tissue to see if you have lymphoma.
  • An ultrasound to check the fluid that is found in your breast implant. If the T cell count is high, then there is a possibility for you to have BIA-ALCL.

How is this condition treated?

Once the doctor diagnoses you with the condition, he or she will immediately suggest a way you can do to treat it. If you have BIA-ALCL, the doctor might recommend removing the implants. It can be one or both, depending on the severity of the condition. This is made for those with mild cases.

But if your case is already in level 2 then the treatment will be different. The doctor will still remove the implant but with the addition of chemotherapy to prevent or even better, stop the spreading of cancer in your body.

Other times, the doctor may require you to take antibiotics. But whatever level of ailment you have, the doctor will remove the implants. It is important to note that the treatment works on a case-to-case basis. So it is best that you seek for the approval of your doctor first or have yourself checked before undergoing any kind of treatment.

How to prevent having breast implant illness?

Of course, one of the basic ways to prevent having this condition is by not having a breast implant at all. But if you are one of those who strongly want to improve your appearance, then make sure that you will have the surgery in a trusted hospital. Do not settle for cheap surgeries that have a high risk of getting you an infection.

It is also good that you monitor your breasts after the said procedure. Make sure that you follow all the instructions given by your doctor to reduce the risk of complications. If you feel or see anything weird or unlikely happening in your breasts, immediately go to your doctor.

Lastly, know the consequences before having a breast implant. The illness related to this can give you cancer that can actually lead to death.

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