What is Breast Implant Illness (BII)? Symptoms?

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Written by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Nima Naghshineh, MD, FACS on July 8th, 2020.

Breast implant illness or silicone implant illness, often does not refer to a specific disease or problem and has not been formally categorized or defined by the medical community. Therefore, BII is more like an all-encompassing category of issues/symptoms that some women with implants have described.

BII has also been referred to as Silicone implant illness (2019), Human adjuvant disease (1964), silicone-induced human adjuvant disease, autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (2011), and silicone implant incompatibility syndrome (2013)1.

These are symptoms that have been reported by women with BII (Breast Implant Illness):1

Central nervous

Brain fog, memory loss, vertigo, headaches, migraines, tinnitus


Muscle/joint pain, sore and aching joints, numbness/tingling in upper and lower limbs, fibromyalgia, neuralgia/burning pain, discoloration of hands/feet, slow muscle recovery after activity


Autoimmune disease – Raynauds, Hashimotos, RA, sclerodermal, SLE, Sjogrens, MCTD, MS, recurrent infections, toxic shock, fevers night sweats, slow healing and easy bruising, chronic fatigue, persistent infections, sudden food intolerance and allergies, tender lymph nodes


Frequent urination, liver and kidney problems, reduced libido, UTI, reflux, gastritis, weight loss/gain, sudden dehydration, liver dysfunction, leaky gut, IBS, metallic tastes, choking, difficulty swallowing, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease


Hair loss, dry skin, dry hair, skin rashes


Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, feeling of impending death


Shortness of breath, heart palpitations, arrhythmia, heart pain, cough, throat clearing

1. Adapted from: Breast Implant Illness: A Way Forward. Magnusson, Mark R. MBBS, FRACS; Cooter, Rod D. MBBS, PhD, FRACS; Rakhorst, Hinne MD; McGuire, Patricia A. MD; Adams, William P. Jr MD; Deva, Anand K. BSc(Med), MBBS, MS, FRACS. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2019 - Volume 143 - Issue 3S - p 74S-81S

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