Are Breast Implants Linked To Health Issues?
- Former NASCAR star Danica Patrick, 41, underwent breast implant removal surgery last year and has been doing well ever since.
- The “Pretty Intense” podcast host, who had the surgical procedure done after developing breast implant illness, appears to be living life to the fullest as she often takes to social media to share photos and videos of her travels, friendships, family, dogs, podcast work, playing golf, and working out.
- Breast implant illness (BII) is a condition with symptoms that include fatigue, joint pain, memory and concentration problems, and more.
- Doctors have detected a possible link between breast implants and cancer; specifically between implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a cancer of the immune system.
- If you do find yourself in a situation where an evaluation of your implants is needed, you will undergo a physical exam and imaging studies “to evaluate the implant shell integrity, determine if there is fluid around the implant and visualize the implant capsule,” according to SurvivorNet experts.
Patrick, host to the “Pretty Intense” podcast who had the surgical procedure done after developing breast implant illness, appears to be living life to the fullest as she often takes to social media to share photos and videos of her travels, friendships, family, dogs, podcast work, playing golf, and working out.
Read MoreView this post on Instagram
“I asked for this month off many months ago. No particular reason, other than it’s smart to have some down time. The break is over. So, before I head to Hawaii with some friends, I got a 3rd round of EBOO. And this is how it went!”
Her “formula to success” includes lifting three times a week with recovery time, doing low impact cardio, eating protein, building muscle, eating healthier carbs like oatmeal and sweet potatoes, cold plunges, therapy sessions, drinking less alcohol and spending more time outside.
“For the first time in years, my body is giving me really positive feedback. F–k, it’s been a long road. But truly, the lesson is, less is more,” she concluded.
In a followup post, showing a group of people huddling together on a coach, Patrick wrote, “Celebrating life while still alive…. is really living life. ”
View this post on Instagram
In a more recent video, showing Patrick doing a handstand on a yoga mat, the Wisconsin-native, wrote, “The only reliable way to change your reality is to change your perception. Happiness is not outside of you, it’s the way you see things.”
Patrick has also shared fun memories on Instagram of a Taylor Swift concert she recently attended, as well as the Burning Man Festival and a trip to Italy.
More on Breast Implants
- Breast Implants & Cancer: One Doctor Asks How Much Silicone Has to Leak Before The FDA Does Something?
- Breast Implants That May Cause Cancer– The FDA’s Meeting About Safety Concerns
- All Breast Implants Should Come With Detailed Safety Warnings, Urges FDA — What The Experts Say About the Risks
- More Cases Of Skin Cancer in People With Breast Implants: Do You Need to Get Yours Removed?
- Breast Reconstruction: Implants vs. Your Own Tissue
Back in July, on episode 15 of Flo Living’s Hormone Health Series, Patrick revealed that she’s been focusing on her health over the last two years, and has been able to raise her testosterone levels, and has better estrogen and progesterone levels in her body.
“In this conversation, Danica shares about her own hormonal journey, and becoming educated on the importance of cultivating greater balance in her life, particularly throughout her athletic career, coming off birth control, and navigating a profound process of healing after getting her breast implants removed,” the episode’s description reads.
“From tackling thyroid issues, gut dysbiosis and more, Danica dives deep into the practices that have worked for her.”
View this post on Instagram
Danica Patrick’s Breast Implant Journey
Most people who choose to get breast implants for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes do quite well after the procedure. But sadly others, like Patrick will have a different experience by developing breast implant illness. Thankfully, having her breasts implants removed has led Patrick down a path to recovery and newfound confidence.
Patrick first decided to get breast implants back in November 2014 in order to attain “an ideal body.”
Speaking to PEOPLE last year about her experience, she said in retrospect, “I think the idea of perfection in of itself is a really dangerous goal.”
Just a few years after her implants were placed, Patrick began experiencing fatigue, weight gain and hair loss.
Doctors ultimately came to the conclusion that she had breast implant illness, or BII, a diagnosis that led Patrick to undergo breast implant removal in March 2022.
“My surgery was at two-thirty in the afternoon, so home by five-ish,” Patrick said of the ‘insanely easy’ surgery. “After that, I mean, I took a pain pill when I went to bed, and I think I took one in the morning and that was it for pain pills other than two more Tylenol.”
Since removal, Patrick has been a slow-moving recovery path.
“I think my body is again, still healing,” Patrick told PEOPLE in October 2022. “It’a been about six months since the implants have been removed. It’s about your lifestyle and mind and just really giving the body a chance to recover.”
Despite being used to moving fast, she has since made a point to slow down and give her body the rest it needs.
“I actually think it’s more wise for me to give myself a good year or two timeline (to see where) I land after a year or two of allowing my body and my mind to really reach a place of health and balance and recovery really from how much time my body spent fighting for me,” Patrick said at the time. “And it did a really, really, really good job. Now it’s time for me to consciously and actively fight back for it with being smart and kind to myself.”
“I’m trying to be sort of careful with my workouts and doing more walking and not so much high intensity. So, lifting and walking really are the bulk of it.”
She was also happy to see her implants go for reasons beyond her breast implant illness.
“The work in loving yourself just like you are and not falling to the idea of perfection,” she said. “I actually like how I look better after… So, there you go.”
Learning About Breast Implants
Danica Patrick is not the only woman who’s had health issues as a result of breast implants. There is a possible link between breast implants and cancer; specifically between implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a cancer of the immune system. Researchers don’t know if the implant filling (i.e. saline or silicone) impacts the development of ALCL.
Breast implant illness (BII) is a condition with symptoms that include fatigue, joint pain, memory and concentration problems, and more, says Breastcancer.org. Experts believe this condition is due to having an autoimmune reaction to the breast implants.
Breastcancer.org notes that BII is a separate condition from the types of cancer, which are rare, that can develop in scar tissue and fluid surrounding a breast implant, including breast implant-associated large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), other forms of lymphoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
According to the FDA, the lists associated with all FDA-approved implants include: ”
- Additional surgeries
- Breast implant associated-anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)
- Systemic symptoms, Breast Implant Illness (BII)
- Scar tissue that squeezes the implant
- Breast pain
- Rupture (tears or holes in the shell) of saline and silicone gel-filled implants
- Deflation of saline-filled implants
- Silent (no symptoms) rupture of silicone gel-filled implants
“The silicone used for breast implants is different than injectable silicone. Injectable silicone is not FDA-approved for breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, or for body contouring,” the FDA explains.
In an earlier interview, SurvivorNet spoke with Dr. Andrea Pusic, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, about the safety of implants. She says, “Many years ago there were concerns about silicone implants, and silicone implants were taken out of the U.S. market.”
Dr. Pusic continues, “Subsequent to that there were a number of very large studies that gave us new information about the performance of silicone implants.
“Subsequent also to that, there’s been further improvements in the silicone implants we are able to offer patients. If that implant does leak, the silicone would rarely go anywhere, and it won’t make you sick.”
She says that implants are generally safe, but that they require surveillance, too.
Doctors Weigh In On Breast Implant Concerns
In an earlier interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Sarah Cate, the lead physician for the Special Surveillance Breast Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and Dr. Jordan Jacobs, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, discussed breast implant concerns for survivors of breast cancer, following the release of FDA safety communication. The FDA received 10 medical device reports (MDRs) about squamous cell carcinoma and 12 reports about various lymphomas connected to breast implants.
Doctors Cate and Jacobs tell SurvivorNet, regarding the FDA safety communication, “personally don’t think there is cause for alarm.”
The doctors believe the data shared by the FDA does not conclusively tie breast cancer to implants. Although, the pair does say, “the fact that the cancers were found in the implant capsules is certainly concerning and requires further investigation.”
Dr. Cate and Dr. Jacobs note how the FDA has required the placement of warnings on breast implant packaging. Additionally, there is newly an implant checklist that patients must sign and review before undergoing implant surgery. The doctors noted how ALCL, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, has been associated with implants for years.
The doctors affirmed that textured implants, those linked to ALCL, are not used at Mount Sinai. The doctors also note that implants require monitoring, and that if there are an adverse conditions spotted after the implants, they should be reported to the FDA.
Dr. Cate and Dr. Jacobs tell SurvivorNet, “Patients who have implants placed for either cosmetic or reconstructive purposes should have yearly follow-ups with their surgeons.”
They add that “there are recommendations from the FDA for routine (every 2-3 years) MRIs to evaluate the integrity of the implant and the surrounding capsule.”
When Should You Be Concerned About Your Implants?
Moreover, there are signs of cancer that Dr. Cate and Dr. Jacobs want people with breast implants to keep an eye out for. If anyone with implants present the following symptoms, they should contact their physician:
- Breast swelling
- A change in the shape of their breasts
If you do find yourself in a situation where an evaluation of your implants is needed, you will undergo a physical exam and imaging studies “to evaluate the implant shell integrity, determine if there is fluid around the implant and visualize the implant capsule.” Most breast radiologists can perform sampling fluid, as well, so that the fluid can be examined to see if there are any abnormal cells present.
“Surgical management includes removal of the implant and the surrounding capsule, which is sent to pathology to rule out atypical cells and/or cancer,” Dr. Cate and Dr. Jacobs added.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff