A recent post from Dr Dilip Gahankari on the subject of Breast Implant Illness caused some controversy. Here, Dr Dilip clarifies his position on the issue.

“I feel rather saddened that parts of my recent blog on Breast Implant Illness seems to have been taken out of context or misunderstood, and has caused some readers distress.

“Please allow me to clarify. I did not say that BII does not exist. I did not say that it does exist. What I did say is that currently hard scientific evidence to diagnose BII does not exist. Maybe in future, we may have better means – better investigations or tests and we can be more assertive and confident, but for now, the scientific evidence does not exist.

“That is in no way meant to diminish or undermine the experiences of those who have shared their symptoms and stories, nor is it intended to question their validity – it is simply a statement of fact that the concrete evidence we, as health professionals rely upon, is not yet available.

“I have been in cosmetic practice performing breast implant operations for nearly two decades. Breast and implants related procedures are the most common cosmetic procedures in my private practice. I have come across a variety of clinical scenarios in my practice and I still do come across them on a daily basis.

“I will share a few of these scenarios:

-I have treated women who had breast implants for augmentation and after a few years have had them removed, for various reasons including those similar to what is currently referred to BII. However, after a three to four years of an “implant holiday”, a couple of these women, came back and had breast augmentation done again, mainly as they missed the body form that the implants could give them.

-I have had several others, who had their old leaking implants removed and replaced with new generation breast implants, and they did not get the upper body ache, muscle pain etc symptoms which they had with severely capsulated leaky implants prior to surgery.

-I have had some patients who had implants when they were relatively young. After children, with pregnancy, breast feeding etc, they developed sizeable breasts and they had their implants removed with a lift to achieve a better contour, smaller but still a sizeable breast cup without implants.

-I recently had a patient with symptoms similar to what is described as BII, who had her implants removed with lift, accepting relatively small breasts as a result. My patient has told me that amongst other symptoms, her long standing problem of vaginal thrush resolved after surgery for implant removal.

-I also had one (Asian) lady, who had significant itching and rashes all over her body for several years. These rashes and itching disappeared when she had her implants removed.

“Anyone who has visited our practice or had a consult here would probably know that we have a policy of an exhaustive consultation with a nurse and myself, and that we ‘listen’ and try and understand all patient concerns.

“We also attempt to provide an honest and logical opinion, based on evidence and science – whenever possible.
As a practicing health practitioner, I am expected by my clients to provide reasoning, explanation, evidence and, many a times explain using my experience.

“When I am unable to explain or provide a reasonable response, I make every attempt to investigate their concerns based on current knowledge. This is when I may ask for USG, MRI etc and see if there is any available evidence to explain her concerns.

“When the investigations do not provide adequate explanation, I have another chat and then we discuss the options based on the nature of concerns, there severity and finally my clients’ expectations.

“Breast implant surgery is mostly an elective procedure. Personal choices, preferences and expectations play an important role in planning this procedure, along with the medical problems that may be presently associated with implants.

“Ultimately, however, it is our client’s decision to have the implants inserted, replaced or removed and I respect their decision.

“It is however my responsibility as a Plastic Surgeon, not to trivialise any procedure – whether it is inserting implants for augmentation, or removing implants with total capsulectomy. I take this responsibility very seriously.

“Above all, my patient’s wellbeing is always my number one priority.”

This information is provided as general information only. For more specific information, that may apply to you, please contact our practice on 07 5539 4611 for a formal consultation.

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