Fun Fact! Before I came home to be a full-time mom and advocate for women considering breast implants, I was a Clinical Research Coordinator in an FDA-certified clinical research facility.
In other words, drug companies hired me to conduct human clinical trials of their new medications to report side effects back to the FDA.
So when it comes to nerdy things like "FDA Advisements" and "Clinical Research Highlights," I tend to geek out a bit.
This is also why I can't help but shake my head at fear-based articles like this one from the Huffington Post. At the end of the day, sites like this are only spreading half truths and discrediting themselves by publishing content like this. Huff, please take a lesson from Medical News Today.
Let's Talk About the FDA and Breast Implants
The entire point of FDA involvement is to point back to the clinical studies and provide data that's in perspective to everyday life. That being said, the FDA recently updated an article on their website called, "FDA Advises Women With Breast Implants."
The official statement from the FDA was, "After an intensive review of known cases of a rare form of (nonaggressive) cancer in breast implant recipients, women with breast implants may have a very small, but increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or (BIA-)ALCL."
Now before you get all freaked out, let's consider a few very important things...
First, the RAND research which drove the FDA investigation stated that, "Given that some 5 to 10 million women receive breast implants worldwide annually and that the researchers have identified only 83 total cases, BIA-ALCL remains exceedingly rare."
Next, extrapolating the FDA's data (which is a common practice in all clinical research) the chances of a woman with breast implants getting BIA-ALCL is about two out of every three million six-hundred thousand. In percentages, that's: 0.0000005%
For me, the only way to understand numbers like these is to put them in perspective.
Using facts provided by III.org (Insurance Information Institute), that means you are more likely to die from:
Driving a car for 3 miles
Walking up or down a flight of stairs
Flying on an airplane
Climbing a ladder
Going for a 2 mile jog
Smoking 1 cigarette a month
Getting struck by lightening
Other Illness Potentially Related to Breast Implants
I would be remiss to not address the subject of "breast implant illness," and it's a very simple (scientific, not emotional) formula: toxins in versus toxins out. Here's what I mean by that...
Basic immunotherapy teaches that 100% of us have disease and cancerous cells in our bodies, but we don't have a disease or "have cancer" until our bodies aren't able to fight the disease or abnormal cells faster than they are reproducing. To use an analogy, imagine that you are in a boat that has a leak. As long as you can bail the water out faster than it's coming in, you don't have an illness or cancer.
The problem in many parts of the world (especially America), is that we are exposed to countless toxins every single day—some voluntarily and some involuntarily. For example, just imagine all of the toxins found in:
Shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, and other hair products
Anything that gets sprayed for cleaning purposes
Pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in our food
Pretty much everything that gets put on your skin
Radiation from cellphones, computers, airport body scanners
Fluoridated water and 99% of all beverages
The list goes on and on and on. Can you imagine how many more toxins our bodies are having to bail out today that didn't even exist just 100 years ago? Avoiding toxins has to be a lifelong commitment, and yet it's nearly impossible to function in today's society without getting overexposed.
So what does that have to do with breast implants?
Breast implants are like everything else... they are made with chemicals that could add toxicity to our bodies (specifically, the shell on saline breast implants and 100% of silicone breast implants).
Every woman should understand that, just like she should understand the potential risks of EVERY product she puts on or in her body. Do some women have a more negative reaction to the potential toxins in breast implants? Of course! But the tremendous majority of women don't.
I often get blasted in the rudest way from women who are trying to educate the world on breast implant illness. But it never fails that I'll look on their Facebook or Instagram, and they don't have a problem at all polluting their bodies with any other of the endless types of toxins—both internal and external.
They're fighting the wrong fight, in my opinion.
They would help WAY more women if their message was, "Everything around you has the potential to be toxic. If you choose to get breast implants, be sure the introduction of a new potential toxin is accompanied by ramping up your intentionality of living as toxic-free of a life as you are able." Instead, they are like the Republican who scolds the Democrat for being corrupt and misleading.
This is exactly why I offer all-natural recovery and breast-implant lifestyle products, and I don't consider it one bit of a contradiction. For me, the risk of introducing potential toxins to my body was worth the reward, because I am extraordinarily intentional about giving my body everything it needs to "bail the water." In the event that becomes untrue, I'll take further steps, even removing them if necessary. Simple as that.
My Advice to Women worried about breast implant illness
It's ok to be concerned about complications from breast implants—in fact, I think it's wise to weigh the risks against the rewards!
But please, keep life in perspective. If you are more afraid of breast implants than you are of anything in the list above, your perspective could need an adjustment.
I often see fear tactics being used to try and keep women from considering breast implants. And in most cases, the person creating the fear ends up being a pot calling the kettle black.
Thoughts from Dr. Jeremy PyleThis is an evolving topic and our understanding is changing. Breast Implant Illness is a catch-all term used by people who don't like breast implants. That can include women who have them as well as men and women who don't.
This article talks mostly about the most important potential side effect, called ALCL.
The risks are not well understood but, as of this writing, not one case has ever been associated with smooth implants. Also, there appears to be a much, much higher risk with one type of implant from one manufacturer in the US.
It's worth checking back on every year or so, but if you have implants and you aren't sure if this applies to you, a quick phone call to your surgeon should give you all the info that you need.
Also, if you are considering a discount surgeon, it's worth noting that usefullness of information down the road, return visits if needed and so on are often much less with discount surgery. It's a subtle thing that would be easy to overlook.