What Are the Chances of Getting Breast Implant Illness?

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Getting breast implants is a major decision, and so is getting rid of them. At Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL, we have helped many women who are concerned about breast implant illness or who are even suffering from it already. If you have concerns about the safety of your implants, talk to us today.

What Are the Chances of Getting Breast Implant Illness?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know for certain what any single person’s chances are of developing breast implant illness, or BIL. According to the FDA, only since early 2019 has the agency begun seriously attempting to characterize BIL and understand all the risk factors involved. To date, there have been no scientific studies done to find out exactly how many women who have implants will go on to develop BIL.

Currently, thousands of women have reported an issue, but experts are not certain whether this reporting is due to better awareness of the issue or to an actual increase in cases. However, the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation is in the process of developing research into BIL.

What Doctors Say

Doctors on the ground who work with women and implants have identified certain risk factors that make a woman more likely to report issues with BIL. Some women have none of the risk factors listed here, yet they still develop BIL. However, your risk is greater if any of the following are true of you:

  • You have a personal or family history of autoimmune disease
  • You suffer from a chronic condition like fibromyalgia
  • You have multiple allergies
  • You have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome

What Causes BIL?

There are a number of theories about what causes this condition, but as yet no research has firmly nailed down the cause of BIL. One of the leading theories is based on the anecdotal, observed connection between BIL and immune-system related issues. This theory holds that some people simply have an immune reaction to the materials used in the implants.

While implants may have different filler materials, all implants have a silicone shell, meaning that any woman with implants will be exposed to silicone to some degree. If a silicone-filled implant ruptures or leaks, a woman is even more likely to end up with symptoms of BIL. In the medical community, silicone is generally considered a safe material, but there are occasional reports of reaction to silicone in every area of medicine where it is used.

Is There Any Research at All Into BIL?

There is some research into breast implant illness, though none of it is yet definitive. One study, published in 2018, followed nearly 100,000 women with implants and found they were eight times more likely than the general female population to develop an autoimmune disorder known as Sjögren syndrome. They were also six times more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis and seven times more likely to develop scleroderma—two other disorders linked to the immune system.

Another study done by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed that 89% of women complaining of BIL who had their implants removed saw their symptoms improve three months after removal.

So far, research has only turned up links. It has not been able to prove any connection between breast implants and any specific disease or been able to identify how BIL happens. Yet the links are worth considering before getting implants–or even if you already have them–and especially if you or your family suffer from any auto-immune disorders.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?

BIL is a complicated issue that can present in different ways for different women. There is no one diagnostic test or even specific criteria for making a diagnosis, but women suffering from BIL generally have one thing in common: they are suffering from symptoms that make it hard to live life.

Many also have to seek help from several different doctors before anyone finally suggests that their illness could have any connection to their breast implants. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

Breast Changes

Some women will have symptoms clearly related to their breasts, like swelling and tenderness. For some, the tissue around the breasts may become inflamed. It’s especially concerning if you suffer these symptoms in conjunction with a fever or flu-like symptoms. If that happens, be sure to talk with your doctor immediately.


Fatigue is a common complaint in autoimmune disorders and also among women suffering from BIL. Fatigue, however, is also a symptom of many other diseases and disorders—from hormone level changes to depression—so it’s important to talk to a doctor about your concerns.

Weight Gain

For some women, implants are linked to unexplained weight gain. Once the implants are removed, the body’s metabolism tends to speed up, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off.

Anxiety and Depression

There is no strong link between mental health and breast implants, but some women who have had their implants removed report better control over their moods and relief from mild depression and anxiety.

Getting Your Implants Removed

Just as every woman decides for herself whether to get implants, every woman should decide on her own whether to have them removed. If you’re suffering from the symptoms of BIL, it’s a good idea to consider having your implants removed, however, you should also come to talk to us about your options.

There are tests that can be done to rule out other health issues that aren’t related to your implants and which might be causing your symptoms. Of course, many women choose to have their implants removed for other reasons, and even if they aren’t suffering from BIL.


The first step in having your implants removed is to schedule a consultation with us at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery. We will help you evaluate your situation, understand what implant removal will look like for you, and walk you through what you should expect.


Removing implants is a generally fast procedure with few concerns about any complications. We enter the breasts through your original implant scar, meaning you won’t have extra scars after treatment. We also take great care to remove only the implant itself, never your natural tissue, for the best and most natural results.


Recovery and aftercare from implant removal are much the same as what you remember from having the implants put in. You’ll need a little time to recover, you’ll need to get enough rest to allow your body to heal, and you’ll need to avoid putting stress on the muscles of your chest until you’re fully recovered. That said, recovery is typically simple and straightforward.


It usually doesn’t take very long to recover from implant removal, but it’s still important to give your body time. If you allow yourself enough time for recovery, you can expect a shorter recovery period with no issues.

Be sure to schedule time off from work, get help with childcare if needed, and avoid going to the gym or lifting heavy objects during this time. Talk to us about what to expect, and we’ll help you understand your unique time frame for returning to normal activities during your consultation.

What to Expect After Removal

Regained Sensitivity

In the past, having implants put in or removed could result in a loss of sensation to the breasts, but the advanced techniques and equipment we use, combined with our skill and experience, mean we are able to minimize the impact on your natural breast tissue. This means a quick return to normal sensation for most people.

No Scarring

As noted, we will use your original insertion site for entry when we remove your implants, and this results in minimal scarring if any at all.

A Pleasing Shape

It will take a few weeks for your breasts to settle into their new natural shape. After this has happened, you’ll notice your natural breasts look normal, full, and natural.

Am I a Candidate for This Procedure?

If you’re unhappy with your breast implants, for whatever reason, then you should consider having them removed. Most women who are generally in good health are good candidates.

The best way to determine if this is the right step for you is to come to talk with us. We can help you evaluate your implant, consider your options, and ensure you are medically fit for implant removal.

Is BIL the Only Reason to Get Implants Removed?

BIL is certainly a major reason for implant removal, whether you already feel ill or simply want to ensure you never develop BIL at all. However, it’s also common for women to have their implants removed for other reasons.

To Upgrade

If your implants are older, you may want to keep your look while ensuring you have the highest-quality modern implants available. Older implants can also rupture or cause other issues, so having them replaced before that happens can give you peace of mind.

To Make Life Simpler

Some women find their implants getting in the way of life in unexpected ways. Heavy breasts can make exercise difficult, and large breasts can contribute to back pain, especially as you age. If your implants are making any part of life, work, or exercise more difficult, consider having them removed.

To Change Your Look

Aesthetics change, and so do personal preferences. You may have loved your look when your implants were first put in, but that doesn’t mean you have to love that look forever.

Many people seek to have their implants reshaped or removed simply to get a more realistic look, to return to entirely natural breasts, or to feel their personal look is more in line with modern aesthetics. You should have the look you want, and this might include removing or replacing your implants.

To Make Breast Cancer Testing Easier

It is possible for some types of implants to make it more difficult to get a mammogram. Having implants removed can make it easier for you to get the testing you need to catch breast cancer early.

It’s common for women with implants to have them removed if they discover an increased risk of developed breast cancer, such as after a genetic test or if a close relative is diagnosed with cancer.

And while there is no link between implants and breast cancer, some women prefer to remove them just in case. Again, this is a personal decision that you have every right to make.

Talk to Us to Learn More

Whether you’re already suffering symptoms or you want to avoid the possibility of breast implant illness in the future, your first step should be to set up a consultation with us at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in Wellington, FL. We can help you understand all your options so you can have peace of mind about your implants or having them removed. Whatever your concerns, we are ready to help.


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