What is Breast Implant Illness? A leading treatment expert explains.

Dr Nima (Nima Naghshineh MD MSc FACS) is a leading Board-Certified expert in breast implants based out of Los Angeles, CA who has years of experience in both aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery. His busy practice has seen consistent growth in aesthetic breast procedures such as augmentations and lifts, as well as an increase in reconstruction for breast cancer patients. Likewise, he has also seen an increase in patients concerned about Breast Implant Illness. He sits down with us to answer some important questions about this and other conditions.

What is Breast Implant Illness?

BII, or Breast Implant Illness, is not a well-defined disease and therefore there are currently no specific tests for it. A more accurate description would be that breast implant illness is a condition that encompasses a wide variety of symptoms reported by women with breast implants. These symptoms can range from brain fog to muscle and joint pain or skin rash. (symptoms of BII).

What is the cause and how do I diagnose Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

There are several theories regarding the cause of BII, but most are centered around inflammation (causes of BII). Many believe that the inflammation may be caused by bacteria or some other factor in the capsule surrounding the implant. I often recommend a series of tests to rule out other conditions such as lupus or BIA-ALCL (breast implant associated – anaplastic large cell lymphoma) (diagnosing BII).

What is the treatment for breast implant illness?

Removing the implant may be insufficient. If the concern is inflammation centered around the capsule (the scar shell around the implant) then the treatment must include its removal. That is why I recommend not just explantation (removal of the implant), but Total En-Bloc Capsulectomy, which means the complete removal of the capsule in one piece (if possible).

I’m worried about what my breasts are going to look like after the implants are removed.

What can be done to restore breasts after explantation?

The number one goal in explantation is removal of the implant and the capsule surrounding it, however, many patients recognize that removing the implants will lead to a deflated and droopy appearance to the breasts. The solution is to restore the volume of the breasts and address any sagginess at the same time (feel good and look good). How do I address volume loss for my patients without using another implant? The key is using the patient’s own fat. Fat transfer is a safe and natural way to restore volume. You can also bring back perkiness to the shape of the breasts with a breast lift. There are many forms of breast lift, and whether you will need one and which kind will depend on the patient.

Finally, what would you recommend to women seeking treatment and explantation for Breast Implant Illness?

I would say, ‘Find a surgeon who has shown dedication to understanding BII, has experience in breast surgery and reconstruction, and who will listen to your concerns. It is important to have a supportive surgeon and staff to help you along in the journey.’

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