Breast Implant Illness

Breast implant illness (BII) is a recognized medical condition affecting many women worldwide. The condition occurs in patients who have received silicone breast implants, which is a large portion of the population — more than one million silicone breast implant (SBI) procedures have been performed globally. [1] However, breast implantation is considered safe when performed by a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Michael Zarrabi of Zarrabi Plastic Surgery in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, CA. Furthermore, the new generation of silicone implants is dramatically improved and was created with patient safety in mind.

Breast augmentation can turn your life around and create new confidence. Most patients enjoy their breasts for years without issue, but it is vital to be aware of the potential risks associated with breast implant illness and how to recognize whether you may have the condition. Dr. Zarrabi wants his patients to be well cared for and aware of the risks associated with surgery. If you would like to consult with Dr. Zarrabi for breast augmentation, or you think you may have breast implant illness, call (310) 584-9990 to schedule a consultation or fill out our contact form.

Why Does Breast Implant Illness Occur?

BII occurs when the body’s immune system cannot handle the presence of foreign objects, like a silicone shell and silicone gel implants. It also happens when the implant itself has ruptured or developed a leak, which can happen more easily with older-generation implants.

In 1992, the FDA recalled silicone implants after studies showed a higher illness rate in women who had them; this led to more research and the development of safer implants. In 2006, the FDA cleared silicone implants for breast reconstruction after cancer or injury, aesthetic augmentation, and gender-affirming surgery. [2] 

However, many women are still experiencing symptoms from older implants. Furthermore, even with the newest and safest implants, there is always a chance that your body will react to them.

The New Generation of Implants

After the FDA recall, new silicone implants were developed with patient safety in mind. The new generation of silicone implants has a shell made from medical-grade silicone and is filled with the latest silicone gel technology.

The latest silicone gel technology is designed to be less harmful to the body and reduce the risk of leakage. The new generation of silicone implants is filled with a thicker, more cohesive silicone gel and has a smaller chance of being distributed throughout the body in case of a leak or rupture.

Sientra Implants

Dr. Zarrabi only uses Sientra high-strength gel implants. Research has shown that Sientra’s implants are some of the safest in the world – the Sientra silicone implants have been clinically proven to rarely contract or rupture. [3] 90% of patients who had primary breast augmentation said their implants look natural and feel soft 8 years after the surgery. [4]

With Dr. Zarrabi’s guidance, you can pick from a range of Sientra implant textures, sizes, projections, and fullness levels to create your dream bustline while setting your mind at ease against breast implant illness.

Call (310) 584-9990 to schedule your consultation.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness?

Breast implant illness is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of symptoms experienced by women with breast implants, such as [1]

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Arthralgias (joint pain)
  • Myalgias (muscle aches & pain)
  • Pyrexia (fever)
  • Sicca (dry eyes and mouth)
  • Cognitive dysfunction

These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can sometimes mimic other illnesses or diseases. 

People with breast implant illness may get sick often. They may also get allergies and autoimmune diseases. [1] This happens because their immune system is always working to fight off the foreign material in their body, leading to chronic inflammation.

Keep in mind that BII differs from the rare cancerous growths that could develop in the scar tissue and fluid near a breast implant, such as breast implant-associated large cell lymphoma, various other types of lymphomas, and squamous cell carcinoma. [5]

Saline Implants and BII

It is important to note that BII does not just affect women with silicone breast implants; it can also occur in women with saline implants. [5] 

Saline implants consist of a silicone shell filled with sterile salt water and are often used when a woman does not need as much augmentation or wants to avoid a visible scar since saline implants can be implanted through a smaller incision hidden in the underarm. However, saline implants have a higher chance of rippling and may feel harder than silicone implants. 

How is Breast Implant Illness Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of breast implant illness is often difficult as the symptoms are non-specific and may appear similar to other illnesses or diseases. It is important to note that there is no universal test to diagnose BII.

The best way to determine if you have breast implant illness is to closely monitor your symptoms and share them with Dr. Zarrabi. He may then recommend an MRI or ultrasound to check for any signs of ruptures, leaks, or damage to the implant. He may also suggest you remove your breast implants to determine if the symptoms improve.

If you think you have BII, contact Dr. Zarrabi today to get the help you need. He will work with you to determine a treatment plan that is best for your unique needs and concerns.

Find the Right Surgeon for Your Breast Augmentation

One way to ensure you decrease your risk of developing breast implant illness after your breast augmentation is by researching and choosing the right board-certified surgeon. Dr. Zarrabi is board certified, experienced in performing breast implant surgeries, and has an impressive track record of successful procedures. He also takes the time to understand each patient’s needs and goals so he can customize a plan that will help them achieve their desired results safely and efficiently. Dr. Zarrabi will work with patients to ensure they are well-informed about the risks and potential complications associated with breast implant surgery.

Treatment of Breast Implant Illness

The treatment of BII depends on the severity of the symptoms. In many cases, simply removing the implants can be enough to alleviate the symptoms and provide relief. In one study, around 60% of the women suffering from BII symptoms who had their implants removed experienced a decline in symptoms. [6] However, in more severe cases, further medical interventions may be necessary. Dr. Zarrabi will work with you to determine a treatment plan to help you live a full life after BII.

Recovery After Breast Implant Illness

Once breast implant illness is treated, the recovery process can vary depending on each patient’s individual symptoms and health. In some cases, a full recovery may take a few days or weeks, but severe cases could take months or even years. 

It is important to weigh the risks and rewards of breast augmentation, but with the new generation of implants and the lowered risk of BII, many women can achieve the look they desire without worrying about their health.

If you think you may have BII, contact Dr. Zarrabi today so he can help you determine the best course of action for your recovery.

Your Breasts After Implant Removal

If you do end up removing your implants for any reason, there is no need to worry. Dr. Zarrabi has extensive experience in performing breast implant removal surgeries, and the Zarrabi Plastic Surgery team is dedicated to helping you achieve the look that best suits your needs and goals.

One option to restore your breast profile after implant removal is to consider fat grafting; this procedure involves removing fat from another area of the body, such as the abdomen and hips, and transferring it to your breasts to help fill in the area and create a natural-looking breast shape.

Are Breast Implants Right For You?

The benefits of augmenting your breasts are:

  • Improved self-confidence
  • Improved body contour
  • Better fitting wardrobe
  • You will feel sexier
  • More confidence in the bedroom

If you are considering breast augmentation, it is important to understand all the potential risks and have a conversation with Dr. Zarrabi about whether or not breast implants are right for you. He will help ensure you make an informed decision and receive the best care possible. Contact us today!

Book a Consultation

Dr. Zarrabi will discuss all of your options with you and help you find the best solution for your individual needs. During your consultation, he will answer any questions you have, discuss the risks and potential complications of breast implant surgery, and provide you with the best care to make an informed decision regarding your health and safety.

We are committed to providing our patients with top-of-the-line care and treatment at Zarrabi Plastic Surgery. Call our Santa Monica and Beverly Hills offices today to book a consultation.

Call (310) 584-9990 to reach our Santa Monica and Beverly Hills offices.


  1. Cohen Tervaert J, Mohazab N, Redmond D, van Eeden C, Osman M. Breast implant illness: scientific evidence of its existence. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology. Published online December 9, 2021. doi:10.1080/1744666x.2022.2010546
  2. Suh LJ, Khan I, Kelley-Patteson C, Mohan G, Hassanein AH, Sinha M. Breast Implant-Associated Immunological Disorders. Holland M, ed. Journal of Immunology Research. 2022;2022:1-13. doi:10.1155/2022/8536149
  3. Haws MJ, Alizadeh K, Kaufman DL. Sientra primary and revision augmentation rupture trending and analysis with magnetic resonance imaging. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2015;35 Suppl 1:S33-42. doi:10.1093/asj/sjv021
  4. Stevens WG, Calobrace MB, Harrington J, Alizadeh K, Zeidler KR, d’Incelli RC. Nine-Year Core Study Data for Sientra’s FDA-Approved Round and Shaped Implants with High-Strength Cohesive Silicone Gel. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2016;36(4):404-416. doi:10.1093/asj/sjw015
  5. What Is Breast Implant Illness?
  6. Miseré RML, van der Hulst RRWJ. Self-Reported Health Complaints In Women Undergoing Explantation of Breast Implants. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Published online November 30, 2020. doi:10.1093/asj/sjaa337
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