Unpacking The Possible Risks Of Breast Implants

Mar 24, 2021
11:00 P.M.
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Thousands of women believed their breast implants made them sick, so many of them are opting for something called “explants”.


Breast implant illness (BII) is a condition that hasn’t been recognized by the medical community yet, but it’s a term used by doctors and patients to refer to a myriad of health symptoms linked to breast implants. Some symptoms can appear at any time after implant surgery — it could be a few months or years after. They can be:

  • chronic fatigue
  • headaches
  • hair loss
  • memory and concentration problems
  • sleeping problems
  • breathing problems

And so on. Because of the rising concerns with BII, some doctors are offering their patients explant surgeries — a surgery to remove breast implants.

Photo by philippe spitalier on Unsplash

Photo by philippe spitalier on Unsplash


Business Insider followed the story of three women who decided to remove their silicone implants after suspecting their ailments could have something to do with their implants. Let’s see Debbie Andrews' story.

“Debbie Andrews said she spent more than two decades suffering from rashes, inflammation, and chest pains. She was diagnosed with a multitude of autoimmune conditions including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.”

Photo by philippe spitalier on Unsplash

Photo by philippe spitalier on Unsplash

“She got her implants removed in July 2019. We [Business Insider team] met her about six months later when all of her symptoms had gone away.”


“Andrews is one of the thousands of women who believe they had breast implant illness. Like Tracie Mohler [one of the other women interviewed], she learned about it through a support group on Facebook, where members share their experiences and support each other through their explant journeys.”


Many women have found support through social media, such as Facebook groups, and learned about BII through YouTube channels.

On her YouTube channel, Karissa Pukas shares her personal and painful journey with her breast implants. She also exposes some information that the doctors don’t pass regarding possible body reactions and collateral effects the implants may have in our bodies.

Karissa goes even further and talks about societal pressures on women to look pretty at all costs — and the highest cost can be our health.


In the book “Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women,” the author and professor Renee Engeln argues that today’s obsession with beauty is getting people sick — what she calls the “beauty sick.”

As Pacific Standard mag puts, “Beauty sickness is when you are so worried about how you look that it’s taking your time, your attention, and your emotional resources away from things that you would rather be spending those resources on.”


We’re all unique and beautiful in our own ways. Our body is our temple and it’s been given to us to be taken care of and loved just the way it is. It doesn’t matter how it looks like.

Seeing so many cases of women who tried to fit into societal beauty standards but along the way lost their mental and physical health begs the question: is the cost of beauty worth it?

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