What You Should Know About Breast Implant Illness

health wellness Mar 17, 2023

Physical appearance can be closely linked to a person’s sense of identity, self-esteem, and confidence. The choice to undergo a breast augmentation has been one of the leading surgical options geared toward restoring a woman’s sense of beauty and self-worth.

The surgical removal of breast implants, also known as “explant surgery,” is growing in popularity because hundreds of thousands of women who opted for implants in past years are now suffering from “Breast Implant Illness.”

In this blog, I’m sharing everything you need to know about breast implant illness (BII), what you can do if you believe you could be suffering from BII, and 3 simple ways to boost your confidence and connect with your innate beauty.  



Risks Of Breast Augmentation

In January, I was a guest on the WFLA News Channel 8 show, Bloom. I was interviewed about my experience helping women regain their health after suffering from BII. You can watch the full interview below.

A few years ago, I uncovered a startling connection between a few clients I was seeing. Several women were struggling with chronic symptoms with no clear cause. It was only after the topic of implants came up in a conversation with one of the clients that I began to unravel the mystery that they all had breast implants.

Looking back, these are some of the commonalities I noticed.

Complaints of… 

  • Heavy metals that would not go away
  • Fungus
  • Candida
  • Gut imbalances
  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Food sensitivities
  • One patient felt her throat was closing up 

How could plastic surgery cause such varied, systemic issues? 

Introducing artificial or synthetic substances into the human body can be extremely harmful. Your immune system registers implants as foreign objects and potential dangers in the body and sets off a chain of reactions throughout the body to try to combat the perceived threat.

Breast augmentation has been linked to several forms of cancer, such as Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (or ACLA) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). (1) Because new data showed that most cases of BIA-ALCL and deaths due to BIA-ALCL are linked with textured breast implants manufactured by Allergan, the FDA requested a global recall of Allergan Biocell textured implants and tissue expanders in July 2019. (2)

For others with implants, the hormonal and immune response alone can be life-changing. 

As the research catches up with the testimonials of hundreds of thousands of women, the results show that BII is most commonly described as a constellation of symptoms that can develop after undergoing reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation with breast implants.

The most common symptoms of BII include:

  • Swelling and tenderness of breast tissue
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Hair loss
  • Gastrointestinal problems (3) 

Could anyone with breast implants experience BII?

Everyone is different but many women seem to have a predisposition to experiencing BII. Some doctors explain BII as the immune system‘s reaction to the silicone polymers dispersed from the implant into the body. (3) This reaction can occur at any time following the surgery - even years later. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the average time to onset was five years with a range of 0 to 42.5 years, and the average age citing these symptoms was 42.3 years old. (4)



3 Important Facts About BII

1. You cannot test for BII - BII is not a coded disease. Physicians will likely order tests to rule out other diseases or conditions before diagnosing a patient with BII. (5) Hypothyroidism, menopause, and fibromyalgia can cause symptoms similar to BII. Therefore, it is essential to rule out other causes unrelated to breast implants. Diagnosis begins with a conversation with an experienced physician about what symptoms are triggered and to what degree they interfere with the quality of life. (6)

2. The best treatment option is to remove the implant and the capsule - Most plastic surgeons will recommend removing the breast implant or “explant surgery” to relieve the symptoms. (7) Others might recommend an “en bloc capsulectomy,” which removes the implant and capsule in one piece. This procedure aims to prevent silicone, biofilm, and other substances within the capsule from escaping into the body. Removing the scar tissue capsules also lowers the risk that fluid will collect in that area after the surgery. (3)

3. BII isn’t directly linked to breast cancer but explants can help with cancer detection - BII is not the same as cancer that develops in the scar tissue and fluid surrounding a breast implant. Studies do not currently link implants with increasing the chances of getting cancer. (2) However, it is possible for implants to make accurate mammograms more difficult. Having implants removed can make it easier for you to get the testing needed to detect breast cancer early.


What To Do If You Believe You’re Suffering From BII

There is hope for those suffering from BII. If you have had a breast augmentation and believe you are one of the thousands who exhibit BII symptoms, there are steps you can take to recover.  

Where to begin: 

1. Talk to your doctor. Your doctor needs to be aware of the symptoms you’re experiencing and you need to inform them of your implants (many times, doctors are unaware of plastic surgery unless it’s on your chart or you point it out). If you decide to get explant surgery, consult with experienced plastic surgeons and choose a provider that feels right to you. 

2. Listen to real women tell their stories. For three powerful recovery stories, watch my interviews below with Dr. Uhuru Smith, Christine, and Daniela. These amazing women are my clients and friends and hearing their unique stories will give you inspiring insights that can motivate you to start your own healing journey.

3. Surround yourself with a community of support. Online communities like “Breast Implant Illness and Healing By Nicole” exist so women suffering from BII don’t feel alone. These groups are also extremely helpful for finding resources and having important conversations about BII.

If you have not had breast augmentation but are considering undergoing this invasive surgery, please take some time and ask yourself why you are making this choice and if it is worth the risk. I understand the reasoning for wanting implants can be varied. However, I want to share some of the many ways you can connect with your innate beauty without changing your physical appearance. 



3 Simple Ways To Connect With Your Innate Beauty 

Connecting with and appreciating your innate beauty is so important. Here are 3 things you can do that will instantly boost your confidence:

1. Fuel Your Body - Nourishing your body with healthy food and strengthening your body with regular exercise can decrease stress and boost your confidence. Doing so will promote healing, decrease the inflammation in the body, improve your mental health, and give you a new appreciation for the miracle that is your body!

2. Practice Self Care - Often, you may be so busy that you don’t give your body the love and attention it needs. Feeling burnt out and disconnected from your body takes a major toll on your mental health and confidence. Make a weekly appointment with yourself for a bath or spa treatment. Adapt a loving skincare routine and send love to every inch of your body. Care for your soul on a daily basis with quality rest and meditation. Start with the Wholistic Love and Light Meditation below!

3. Enjoy Intentional Adornment - It can do wonders for your self-confidence to make your daily outfit choice a ritual of intention. Choose colors, materials, and accessories that bring you joy. It may be time for a closet cleanout and a shopping trip to bring more joy to your daily routine! Look at yourself in the mirror and state a positive affirmation like, “I am beautiful inside and out!”

You are a living, breathing work of art. True beauty is reflected outward, but it begins within the heart. Lasting beauty comes from roots watered deep in a firm foundation of unconditional self-love. Bestow conscious thoughts and acts of love upon yourself and trust others to love you just as you are. If it seems someone is placing conditions on loving you, you may want to reconsider having them in your life!

It is so important to do deep reflection and find peace within yourself and with your appearance. And if you need someone to help you reach that peace, I’m here for you. 

Make sure you are subscribed to the Wholistic Living podcast to tune in to the latest interviews and discover more illuminating health and wellness wisdom!

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1. Moriarty, C., & MacMillan, C. (2022, September 22). Do breast implants raise your risk of getting cancer? Yale Medicine. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from

2. Second cancers: Developing a new cancer after breast cancer. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2023, from

3. What is Breast Implant Illness (BII)? - symptoms & treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2023, from

4. Center for Devices and Radiological Health. (n.d.). Systemic symptoms in women with breast implants. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from

5. Breast Implant Illness (BII): What it is, symptoms & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2023, from

6. Breast implant illness: Diagnosing and treating its many complex symptoms: Plastic surgery: Women's Health: UT Southwestern Medical Center. Plastic Surgery | Women's Health | UT Southwestern Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2023, from

7. Breast implant removal. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2023, from


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