Illness from breast implants was one of the early worries experienced by many patients who became sick after their silicone prostheses ruptured or leaked. Second generation silicone implants sold during the 1970’s were particularly prone to rupture and silicone migration throughout the body. The potential for serious sickness or disease caused the FDA to ban silicone implants for general use in 1992, until extensive health risk studies could be completed. Reintroduced in 2006, the vindicated silicone breast implant was cleared of all associations to a variety of health risks.
However, silicone breast prosthetics remain controversial medical devices to this day.
Links to Illness from Breast Implants
During the witchhunt years of the 1980’s, silicone breast implants were linked to a wide range of potentially severe health concerns. The most common of these associated negative health conditions included:
- Various types of cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- Connective tissue disease
- Rheumatic disease
- Raynaud ‘s phenomenon
- Ménière’s disease
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
Lawyers saw a terrific litigation opportunity and created a feeding frenzy of poorly designed cases, often using less than reputable research to support many claims.
It is true that many women, who had silicone implants, did become sick. However, decisive links to their illness being caused by the implants were rarely established.
It is unfortunate that these women suffered so, but it turns out that an identical percentage of women without breast implants suffered the exact same types of pain syndromes being used to justify lawsuits against implant manufacturers.
Are Your Breast Implants Making You Sick?
Women who had obvious ruptures and leaking implants should not be blamed for thinking that their illness might have resulted from the silicone material. Evidence shows that silicone migration throughout the body might not be proven to cause any health concerns, but it is still a condition which should be surgically treated.
The removal of damaged implants made public the scar tissue and implant capsules rarely seen outside of the operating room. These images created feelings of horror and distrust for the implants, as well as the idea that implants must be in some way harmful to a woman’s health.
Meanwhile, lawyers spent a tremendous amount of time trying to prove illness in lawsuits directed at implant companies and even specific cosmetic surgeons.
No one was denying that women were sick. However, it seems that these lawyers would not acknowledge the mere possibility that someone without breast implants might also be identically sick. In essence, they would never accept the potential for a coincidental coexistence of breast implants and illness.
It is sad, but this is the nature of plaintiff lawyers and our over burdened and plaintiff-friendly legal system.
FDA Decision Regarding Illness from Breast Implants
The FDA painstakingly researched silicone breast implant safety for 14 years, before allowing manufacturers to once again market the devices to the general population in the US. During this time, numerous independent and governmental agencies from around the world also completed their own research studies to determine the safety of silicone implants placed inside the human body.
All the major implant manufacturers cooperated with these studies and provided samples of a variety of implants styles and materials.
In the end, every major study concluded identical results. Silicone is safe. Silicone is not deemed to be responsible for any particular or general health condition, illness or disorder. Silicone is non-bioreactive.
Breast Implant Sickness
Please do not be offended by anything written in this article. We are merely reporting the facts as they exist today, based on accepted research. No one is blaming any woman who fears that she was made sick by her implants. There were considerable societal nocebo factors which surely convinced many women that their illness was the direct result of their breast implants. There were also a large number of women actually made ill by the psychosomatic influence of this same nocebo effect.
Most of these women were concluded to be truly sick, but the fact that they had undergone breast augmentation was considered coincidental. A very small amount of women might have been hyper-sensitive to the the implant itself or some other substance used during the surgical process.
Nothing absolves the implant companies that produced sub-par implants which were prone to rupture. Nothing absolves the government, the implant manufacturers and the surgeons, who did a less than adequate job of educating early augmentation patients about some of the less positive aspects of their procedures.
Nothing changes the simple truth that most women who underwent early breast enlargement surgery did not even consider the possibility that their implants might ever leak, rupture or become a problem. Nothing absolves the same entities from not creating a better education campaign in the early days of augmentation procedures, including detailed examples of potential implant related complications, such as capsular contracture.
If all these problems were addressed properly from the beginning, there never would have been the mass hysteria about implant safety once so many women had already put themselves in considerable perceived risk.
The bottom line is simple. Today’s silicone implants are deemed to be safe. They are a valuable part of the cosmetic and plastic surgery industries and have been vindicated across the board as completely harmless prosthetic devices.
Remember that every issue has 2 sides. Patient groups make lots of claims. Manufacturers and government agencies make lots of claims. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.