As breast implant removal becomes increasingly common, one plastic surgeon who acknowledges the illness is “very real” wants patients to be prepared for the procedure’s aftermath.
Patients’ symptoms may not resolve upon implant removal, and the pre-explant breast aesthetic may be impossible to return to, the doctor says.
Recent patients regret removal
Dr. Rady Rahban, a board-certified Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and host of one of the industry’s top podcasts, said Wednesday that he has had a number of recent patients who believed their breast implants to be the source of their physical problems.
But after removing their implants, these patients said their symptoms did not resolve, and they opted to get implants again.
The surgeon says he would caution patients considering implant removal to first cross off the more common causes of ailments, with thyroid and hormonal conditions, and vitamin deficiencies being specifically mentioned.
The doctor says that every era of plastic surgery has had its trends, and that the removal of breast implants is becoming a popular and common procedure, due to an entity known as BII, or breast implant illness.
Though not currently diagnosable, the patient’s reaction to a foreign breast implant is less than ideal for their body—as can happen with a prosthetic knee, pacemaker, or a heart valve, he says.
A person’s body can become consumed with trying to protect itself from the implant, leading to a host of symptoms including brain fog, memory loss, achy joints, pain, fatigue—“all of which are general and constitutional, meaning it’s not like ‘I’ve gone blind.’”
“A lot of the women being swept into this current may not have BII. I’ve had many patients coming to me recently, asking for their implants out. And I would still say while some of them feel better as a result of their implants being removed, a lot of them don’t.”Dr. Rady Rahban, April 26, 2023
Post-explant breast aesthetic
A patient’s natural breast tissue volume has a lot to do with the procedure’s aesthetic outcome.
And the doctor recognizes that for some patients, aesthetics are secondary.
Women with implants and a lot of their own natural breast tissue—and most don’t, which is why they opted for breast augmentation to start with—should be able to walk away with “decent looking” breasts, but many never return to their pre-augmentation image, the doctor said.
Women who started out with less natural breast tissue volume and have had implants for multiple years, “should be prepared for a less-than-ideal cosmetic result.”
“Any surgeon telling you otherwise is lying to you.”
“I caution you, because I have had several patients remove their implants…. Their symptoms were not as a result of their breast implants. Their aesthetic outcome was not good at all. And now they want their implants back, and it will never look the way that it did when I took [them] out.”Dr. Rady Rahban, April 26, 2023
Surgeons jumping on the BII bandwagon
The doctor also points out that some surgeons have made a career out of breast implant removal and explant surgeries.
In some cases, “It’s like a reinvention” of who they were as a surgeon, he said. “They were like dying plastic surgeons, and all the sudden the BII train came by, and they’ve now made it their specialty to remove breast implants and [do] capsulectomies.
“And listen, all the power to you,” he says.
The patient empowerment pendulum
There is no test, method, or way to tell prior to breast augmentation whether one will be affected by breast implant illness.
Rahban believes that will be here within 10-15 years.
According to many patient stories, most women experience years of misery and malaise before ever suspecting their breast implants may be causing it.
Among just the public figures who have openly shared that years- to decade-long ordeal are:
- Melissa Lima
- Danica Patrick
- Clare Crawley
- Crystal Hefner
- Rhylee Gerber
- Tamra Judge
Each of the women above have also shared that it was concerned friends and fans who suggested they look into their breast implants to begin with.
And they thank them profusely for doing so.
So it’s a tough road, one Rahban calls a treacherous path, where a middle ground is often hard to find.
Rahban’s concerns appear to be aimed at keeping that pendulum from swinging too far in the other direction, and he wants patients to be empowered either way.