Why should you care about breast implant illness?

Breast implant illness is likely something you know very little if anything about. The discovery of long term health concerns tied to having had breast implants is fairly new to medical professionals and details are still not 100% clear on what exactly causes it to happen. As a result, it is not currently recognised as a medical condition and can be difficult to confirm. The symptoms have such a wide range and can be fatal having been believed to have claimed the lives of at least 33 people worldwide. If there hadn’t already been reasons to hesitate before such an invasive and risky cosmetic surgery, there no doubt will be now. 

Breast implant surgery itself is far from new, the procedure has been on the market for decades. No longer the crude and expensive surgery we imagine it would have been when first invented, the procedure is now one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries across the globe. While the ideal body goes in and out of fashion, there is more often than not an attraction to a voluptuous chest in the mix. It is therefore no wonder that when the option for a relatively undetectable surgery became readily available so many women sought to enhance what nature had given them. True, that back in the cultural age in which we first saw the procedure gain traction there was much tighter and strict standards to which women were held. As a result, it is not unlikely that in many circles there would have been a great deal of frowning upon a young woman’s decision to increase her sex appeal. The surgery was much better suited and accepted for rich housewives and of course celebrities on the big screen. 

Breast surgery has become even more popular in recent times as more people look to reduce the size of their breasts rather than enhance them. This is due to both health and cosmetic reasons. Breast reduction surgeries are now looking to be the safer of the two as we are currently unaware of any issues with the removal of breast tissue in the manner we have come to discover the dangers in adding silicone. While there is still inconclusive evidence as to whether breast implant illness indeed exists, it is believed to potentially be due to a reaction to a foreign object in the body if not specifically the silicone itself. The symptoms range from the simplest of headaches or flu symptoms right through to the more serious such as chest pain and neurological disturbances including depression and anxiety. As so many of these symptoms are typical of so many different illnesses, it is not surprising that medical professionals aren’t often willing to make the diagnosis – that is assuming they know (or believe) the illness exists. 

For many of the individuals who are suffering or have loved ones who are suffering from this phenomenon, the idea that the medical community is continuing to attempt to disprove its existence is very disappointing. It is of course widely accepted that there must be conclusive evidence of an illness existing before it is then recognised and endeavours to prevent or cure the issues can begin. However, many of the victims likely feel as though the dismissal of their experiences is extremely invalidating. While there is not currently the scientific standard of proof, it is hard to suggest that it is coincidence that such a large number of cases in which the implant is removed resulted in full recovery from symptoms. 

Going forward it is likely we will see and hear more of breast implant explant before and after photos than before. That being said it is unlikely that the potential risks will reduce the number of people who chose to have a breast enhancement. At present, all kinds of cosmetic procedures of varying invasiveness and permanence are very popular in the medical world. The ages at which people, in particular women, are beginning to partake in procedures such as Botox, is alarmingly low. This decision is seen as a preventative measure to some opposed to a ‘treatment’ for aging. The popularity of procedures such as lip enhancement are also rising across all ages, and we are seeing the acceptance, and even idolization, of a noticably enhanced or ‘fake’ look. This market demand is so high that we are seeing prices being brought down further and further. We can only hope that the threat of breast implant illness will drive some people to go with natural breast implants that do not involve silicone.

With demand so high for surgical cosmetic procedures, it is no wonder that those of us in the developed world have found a way to save some pennies and make a holiday of the whole experience. The so called ‘Medical Tourism’ continues to be on the rise as people are choosing to outsource their cosmetic enhancements to countries that have lower costs for medical products and services. Thankfully the imagery of dingy hospitals, unsanitised health equipment rental and non-existent bariatric equipment is all a myth, and many of these providers have equal if not higher standards as they are trying to entice wealthy westerners to use their services. However, the risks of having these surgeries done overseas can still be higher in cases where the individual does not follow medical recommendations due to the desire to make the most of their holiday opportunity.  

You may not be an individual with breast implants, you may not be someone who endorses the procedure at all. You may feel that the simple and obvious answer to the discovery of breast implant illness is simply to have them removed or not get them in the first place. Putting all those if buts and maybes aside, we live in a world that is riddled or blessed (depending on your view point) with so many choices for our bodies, and whether or not this fact is something we support, we should all care about the wellbeing of those who chose to exercise these options. Hopefully in the near future we will have more answers about this increasingly prevalent condition and that with those answers will come suitable solutions.