Can Breast Implants Steal Your Memory?

Can Breast Implants Steal Your Memory

“They call it brain fog for a reason. You’re in a fog. I couldn’t be in front of a camera anymore because I couldn’t remember my lines. I couldn’t remember what I was doing—even going to the bathroom. I couldn’t remember words… It felt like the onset of Alzheimer’s.” That’s how supermodel and actress Angie Everhart described to AZFamily.com how she felt after getting breast implants and then having them removed years later.

She didn’t get relief until a decade later when she had another surgery to remove the capsules (the scar tissue that builds up around both saline and silicone breast implants) that had been left inside her body when the implants were removed. Within months after this follow-up surgery, Everhart started feeling better. “I felt the moment my brain fog lifted,” she said in the interview, adding that her daily moods had also brightened because she was no longer in constant pain from debilitating migraines and neck and shoulder pain she had been experiencing for years.

Everhart says it was a friend who suggested the actress might have breast implant illness (BII).

What is Breast Implant Illness (BII)?

BII is a largely misunderstood syndrome comprised of a wide range of symptoms, including neurological dysfunction, toxicity, autoimmune issues, endocrine problems, and metabolic dysfunction. There’s a veritable laundry list of symptoms, including but not limited to memory loss, anxiety, depression, mood swings, decreased libido, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and more. Some women complain of symptoms typically associated with Lyme disease or Epstein Barr virus.

These symptoms are experienced by some of the women who undergo breast augmentation surgery. With nearly 300,000 procedures performed each year, breast augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedure performed in the U.S., according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

There are no hard statistics on the number of women who suffer from BII, but the Healing Breast Implant Illness Society of North America has a Facebook group page with over 116,000 members. The condition has been seen as controversial, but in a statement issued in May 2019, the FDA finally acknowledged BII and wrote, “the current evidence supports that some women experience systemic symptoms that may resolve when their breast implants are removed.”

New Study Shows Breast Implant Removal Can Help

Research on the condition has been scarce, but a 2020 study in Annals of Plastic Surgery confirms what the FDA wrote. The new study found that the removal of breast implants and the capsules led to significant improvement in 11 common symptoms of the condition.

The study included 750 women who underwent breast implant and capsule removal. Some of the women had saline implants, others had silicone implants, and there was a mix of smooth, textured, and polyurethane-coated implants. The women reported on the following 11 symptoms, which are commonly seen in BII:

  • Memory loss/cognitive problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Numbness/tingling in the extremities
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Breast pain
  • Hair loss
  • Dry eyes and/or blurred vision
  • Rashes and/or hives
  • Food sensitivity/intolerance
  • Flu-like symptoms and/or low-grade fever
  • Difficulty breathing

According to the study results, there was a significant improvement in all 11 symptoms within 30 days of removal. And another follow-up study showed that those improvements were sustained beyond the first month.

Researchers are still trying to understand why breast implants and the capsules that form around them can cause troublesome symptoms, such as cognitive impairment. Among the hypotheses, some point to an inflammatory response to the implants.

Inflammation, Toxins, and Breast Implants

Chronic inflammation can damage your brain and your mind. It has been associated with a wide range of neurological and psychiatric illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, and personality disorders.

To test for chronic inflammation, ask your physician to check your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Having high levels of CRP is associated with increased inflammation.

Did you know that silicone and saline breast implants contain toxic chemicals? According to the Healing Breast Implant Illness website, the chemicals used in implants include several known neurotoxins, heavy metals, and other toxins. Environmental toxins poison the brain in many harmful ways.

Dr. Pierre Blais, a former Canadian government researcher, and senior scientific advisor, is considered the foremost expert on breast implants as failed medical devices. He says that because breast implants are not lifetime devices, they eventually degrade and can release their contents. “The released substances are aggressive and some are outright toxic,” he told Longevity Magazine in 2018.

After testing thousands of implants, Dr. Blais has found that implants are also susceptible to mold, yeast, and bacterial infections. Toxic mold, fungal infections, and certain bacterial infections (such as Lyme disease) are also associated with contributing to symptoms of mental illness, such as depression, ADD/ADHD, memory problems and brain fog, and psychotic behavior.

Memory Loss and Cognitive Impairment

Cognitive dysfunction, memory problems, and brain fog are signs of potentially serious brain health issues. Getting a full workup that includes brain imaging, lab testing, and neuropsychological assessments is the key to finding the root cause of your symptoms. Be sure to inform your physician if you currently have breast implants or if you’ve had them removed (and if the capsule and scar tissue were also removed). Your brain health depends on it.

Memory loss, depression, anxiety, ADD, and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever, and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.

6 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Is breast implant removal covered by insurance?

    Thank you,

    Mika Iniguez

    Comment by Mika — July 19, 2020 @ 2:57 PM

  2. Where can get the implants removed?

    Comment by Margarita — July 20, 2020 @ 3:21 AM

  3. Hello Margarita, Amen Clinics does not perform this service. Please follow-up with your medical provider. Thank you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 20, 2020 @ 6:10 AM

  4. Hello Mika, Amen Clinics does not perform this service. Please follow-up with your medical provider. Thank you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — July 20, 2020 @ 6:10 AM

  5. Go the the BreastImplantIllness.org site. There is a page listing recommended plastic surgeons who perform explantation. Read around the site to learn in depth about BII and explantation. Join the FB groups about BII (one is mentioned above; another is facebook.com/groups/Breastimplantillnessdetoxandhealing/) — you will learn lot by reading posts and comments from women around the world who have experienced BII and have had their implants removed. You really have to dive in and immerse yourself to get a grasp on this topic and its effects on women, your options, etc.

    Comment by Katy — July 22, 2020 @ 10:32 AM

  6. Go the the BreastImplantIllness.org site. There is a page that identifies the few circumstances under which insurance will pay for explantation. Also look for the page listing recommended plastic surgeons who perform explantation. Read around the site to learn in depth about BII and your options. The site mentioned in the article is also worthy of your study. And, there are at least three FB groups about BII too — search for them and see my comment below.

    Comment by katy — July 22, 2020 @ 10:34 AM

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