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Breast Implant Illness (BII): Real Syndrome or a Social Media Phenomenon? A Narrative Review of the Literature

Abstract

Breast implant illness (BII) is a condition characterized by elusive diagnostic criteria and self-reported diverse disabling and distressing physical and psychological symptoms. With currently significant increase in public awareness, BII is perhaps becoming the most controversial subject in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery, generating heated debates between those who do not believe such a condition exists and those who demand its acceptance as a recognized diagnosis. Silicone incompatibility has been associated with “autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants” (ASIA syndrome) or Shoenfeld's syndrome. It is still unclear, however, whether BII symptoms would have occurred if no implants had been placed in the first place. The purpose of this literature review is to analyze critically the current state of scientific evidence related to this condition. Though the psychosomatic theory is most likely, the mechanism of BII symptoms is probably multifactorial. At present, BII being an underlying connective tissue disorder cannot be confirmed; moreover, whether improved aesthetic outcome and patient’s overall satisfaction with the profile of their reconstructed or augmented breasts translate into decreased self-reported BII symptoms is still not well elucidated.

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Correspondence to Saif Emsieh.

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Atiyeh, B., Emsieh, S. Breast Implant Illness (BII): Real Syndrome or a Social Media Phenomenon? A Narrative Review of the Literature. Aesth Plast Surg 46, 43–57 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-021-02428-8

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Keywords

  • Breast implant illness
  • ASIA syndrome
  • Shoenfeld's syndrome
  • Silicone implant incompatibility syndrome