Breast Implant Illness: Woman claims implants made her sick

Published: May. 22, 2018 at 10:42 AM CDT
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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery option.

Despite the popularity of the procedure, some women are now speaking out about symptoms they believe are related to their implants. One of those women is Angela Seiffer.

Seiffer is 49 years old and decided to get breast implants in her early 20s. She says she began having symptoms with an unexplained cause in 2016.

"The first thing I started having was tendinitis and joint pain, which led to chronic, chronic fatigue and brain fog," explained Seiffer.

She went through MRIs, ultrasounds, and two surgeries on her elbow for the joint pain. However, her symptoms did not go away.

One day, Seiffer was scrolling through Facebook and noticed a post from a friend about breast implant illness. This led her to a Facebook group called Breast Implant Illness Florida Support Group with around 1,300 members.

"It's not everybody that has implants is going to be sick, but I'm not alone," Seiffer said.

That's when she decided to do more research. She then traveled nearly seven hours away to see Dr. Marguerite Barnett.

Dr. Barnett does a lot of implant removals, known as explant surgery.

Seiffer had her implants removed six months ago and has seen a dramatic improvement in her symptoms.

"I think most plastic surgeons feel that the scientific evidence have not proven any association between these symptoms and implants, but there's an awful lot of women who feel better once they remove the implants. So, I think we have to listen to the patients," explained Dr. Barnett.

Dr. Barnett says these patients often experience fatigue, achiness, rashes, irritable bowel, brain fog, and irritable bladder.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says on its website, "Reviews of scientific research by independent groups such as the Institute of Medicine have found no link between breast implants and autoimmune or other systemic diseases."

According to Dr. Barnett, "Not everyone gets ill. If they did, we wouldn't be having the argument if the illness exists."

While there are still unknowns related to breast implant illness and controversy over whether or not it actually exists, most surgeons do agree that implants are not designed to stay in forever. Implants should be swapped out after so many years. That exact time is up for debate as well.