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Are Breast Implants Safe?

Posted June 02, 2022 in Breast Augmentation, Breast Implants

4 Minute Read:

Breast augmentation surgery is a cosmetic procedure in which breast implants (either saline implants or silicone implants) are used to improve the size, volume, and shape of women’s breasts to give them a fuller, more voluminous appearance. 

With nearly 200,000 procedures performed in 2020 alone, breast augmentation is one of the most desired plastic surgery operations for women, and when you see the dramatic and stunning improvements that women can achieve (both physically and psychologically), there’s no wonder why so many women undergo this surgery. 

Plastic surgeon and patient holding breast implants

While breast implants are some of the most tested and trusted health devices (with some of the highest safety levels of any other device), many women worry about how safe their implants really are. 

Like any plastic surgery procedure, breast augmentation and breast implants carry risks of complications. This has become apparent with recent reports, both on the news and on social media, that some patients have suffered from breast implant illness (BII) and breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) after their augmentation surgery. 

Below, you’ll find information on these complications, including ways of detecting symptoms and how to correct any issues you may experience with your implants.

What Is BII and BIA-ALCL?

Breast implant illness is an autoimmune disorder that affects a very select number of women with breast implants. These women have an immune reaction to some of the materials used to make the implants. While there is no way of knowing if a woman will experience BII before her implants are placed, there are symptoms to look for to help your plastic surgeon diagnose your issue after the augmentation surgery. 

Some symptoms of BII include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Skin rash
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Insomnia

Conversely, breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma is a rare condition that some women experience after their breast augmentation surgery. 

BIA-ALCL is a type of lymphoma (which is a cancer of the immune system) that can develop in the scar tissue and fluid that surround the breast implant(s). 

In very rare cases, this cancer can spread throughout the body. As with any cancer in your body, BIA-ALCL can be very dangerous if not dealt with quickly. 

The two most common symptoms of BIA-ALCL are:

  • Persistent and/or increased swelling in the breast after augmentation
  • Persistent and/or increased pain in the breast after augmentation

It is important to remember that BIA-ALCL is NOT breast cancer.

Doctor holding a stack of breast implants

How Can I Correct Breast Implant Issues?

The most important thing to remember is that you need to contact Dr. Gallas if you experience anything out of the ordinary (physically or mentally) after your augmentation surgery. 

As long as these complications are found early on, they can be corrected. 

At a follow-up appointment, Dr. Gallas will assess your implants to determine if there is any complication that needs to be addressed.

To correct either BII or BIA-ALCL, Dr. Gallas will perform one of two surgical corrections: breast implant removal surgery or breast implant revision surgery

While both of these surgical procedures include removing the breast implant and cleaning out the surrounding area, the difference comes down to whether new implants are placed. With breast implant removal without replacement, the implants are taken out of your body, and your incisions are closed. 

With this procedure, you will continue to have the same breast aesthetic that you had before your augmentation. However, with breast implant revision with replacement, a new and different implant (possibly saline instead of silicone, or vice versa) will be placed in your breasts so that you can have continued augmentation to your breasts (but without the complications of the initial implants). 

After Dr. Gallas evaluates your condition and determines if you have BII or BIA-ALCL, he will notify you of your options as well as discuss any questions you may have.

So, Should I Be Worried About Breast Implants?

While BII and BIA-ALCL are both serious conditions for women who have had breast augmentation surgery, it is important to stress the fact that these are both very rare conditions

As long as you are attentive to your body’s signals (which means being aware of symptoms for each of these complications) and you contact Dr. Gallas if anything troubles you about your implants, then there is no cause for concern. 

Just like the risk of an accident doesn’t dissuade you from getting in your car and driving to the supermarket, these complications (which can be corrected, as discussed above) should not keep you from achieving the appearance you so desperately desire.

Do You Have Any Questions?

If you are concerned about your breast implants or have any questions about breast augmentation or any of the other procedures offered at Gallas Plastic Surgery and Vein Center, schedule your consultation with Dr. Gallas in Katy, Texas, by calling 281-646-1114 or filling out our online form here.

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Katy, TX 77450

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