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Understanding Breast Implant Illness in NYC

Breast implant illness, often abbreviated as BII, encompasses a range of symptoms that are purportedly linked to breast implants. While the medical community has not officially recognized BII as a distinct medical condition, it remains a significant concern and discussion subject.

In light of emerging awareness regarding potential health implications associated with breast implants, regulatory bodies like the FDA have advocated for the inclusion of warnings to inform consumers about potential risks. While the majority of individuals who undergo breast augmentation are satisfied with the outcomes and experience no adverse effects, it is imperative to acknowledge the existence of potential complications that may manifest in rare instances.

What Is Breast Implant Illness?

Breast implant illness manifests as a collection of symptoms that individuals attribute to their breast implants. Although assertions have been made regarding the potential exacerbation or contribution of breast implants to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scientific evidence to substantiate these claims remains insufficient. 

Presently, there are no definitive diagnostic tests for identifying breast implant illness in NYC. Instead, medical professionals typically embark on a process of exclusion, endeavoring to rule out inflammatory or autoimmune conditions that may present with similar symptoms. Given the potential overlap of symptoms between BII and other medical conditions, your doctor may employ blood tests or collaborate with specialists to systematically eliminate alternative causes before formulating a treatment plan or considering implant removal.

Symptoms commonly associated with breast implant illness may include:

  • Infections
  • Capsular contracture
  • Peri-implant swelling
  • Breast discomfort or pain
  • Dermatological manifestations such as rash
  • Alterations in sensation or numbness
  • Complications related to implant rupture or leakage

Women who notice the emergence of these symptoms or any other concerning signs should promptly seek evaluation. An evaluation typically involves a comprehensive physical examination and additional diagnostic tests as deemed necessary.

Woman showing off her cleavage in a deep v neck top



BIA-ALCL, an acronym for breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, is a rare type of cancer predominantly associated with textured breast implants. Unlike conventional breast tissue cancers, BIA-ALCL develops within the fibrous scar tissue, known as the capsule, that naturally forms around the implant.

Early diagnosis and prompt intervention significantly influence the prognosis of BIA-ALCL. However, in instances where the disease progresses to metastasis, affecting regions such as the armpit lymph nodes or other anatomical sites, treatment complexities arise, diminishing the likelihood of a complete cure. Treatment modalities for advanced cases may entail procedures such as capsulectomy, implant removal, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell transplantation. Timely medical attention is imperative upon the emergence of symptoms such as peri-implant swelling, new breast or armpit nodules, or alterations in the breast skin.

Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh


BIA-SCC, Breast Implant-Associated Squamous Cell Carcinoma, does not originate from the breast tissue itself but rather manifests as squamous cells lining the capsule surrounding the implant. While this tumor is exceedingly rare, it has the potential to metastasize to adjacent tissues such as muscles and bones, as well as distant sites including lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.

Symptoms associated with BIA-SCC often mirror those of BIA-ALCL and may include unexplained breast enlargement, pain, asymmetry, palpable lumps in the breast or armpit, skin rash overlying the breast, breast hardening, or the presence of a sizable fluid collection. Patients experiencing any of these symptoms, or others of concern should promptly seek evaluation from their healthcare provider for further assessment. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) are currently monitoring a limited number of reported BIA-SCC cases, making it challenging to ascertain specific risk factors. The documented instances of BIA-SCC encompass patients with varying implant types—silicone and saline, both smooth and textured surfaces. Moreover, occurrences have been observed in individuals undergoing breast reconstruction following cancer and for cosmetic purposes.

BIA-SCC cases tend to manifest later in comparison to BIA-ALCL, with an average diagnosis timeframe of approximately 22 years post-initial implantation for BIA-SCC, compared to approximately 11 years for BIA-ALCL.

Does The Type Of Implant Matter? 

Some textured silicone implants have been voluntarily recalled due to their association with breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). These recalled implants include specific types of Allergan breast implants and tissue expanders with highly textured surfaces. 

Safety is among the highest priorities of Dr. Alizadeh.  Dr. Alizadeh has served as a principal investigator on a number of FDA trials for aesthetic breast surgery devices including on the long term outcomes with silicone breast implants. He only utilizes high-quality silicone and saline implants with top safety ratings, ensuring compatibility with patients' long-term health and well-being. Implants used to be the only option for breast augmentation. Now with fat grafting and the NaturaBra technique, a woman’s own tissue can be used to lift and volumize the breast, achieving the same desired final look without an implant. 

Addressing Breast Implant Illness:

Precautionary Measures and Treatment Strategies

Mitigating the potential risks associated with breast augmentation necessitates a multifaceted approach encompassing preoperative precautions, vigilant postoperative care, and long-term monitoring. Key considerations include:

  • Thoroughly disclosing pertinent medical history during preoperative consultations
  • Adherence to preoperative preparatory guidelines
  • Diligent adherence to postoperative care instructions
  • Minimization of physical strain and stress during the recovery period
  • Adoption of a healthy lifestyle post-surgery
  • Regular monitoring of breast health for any anomalies or changes

Moreover, the choice of implant type assumes significance in mitigating risks associated with breast augmentation. Certain textured silicone implants have been recalled due to their association with BIA-ALCL. Collaborating with a highly reputable, board-certified plastic surgeon proficient in employing advanced surgical techniques and utilizing implants with top safety ratings is paramount.

Model wearing white bra

Treatment of Breast
Implant Illness

In addressing breast implant illness in Long Island, as well as mitigating the risks associated with breast augmentation, a holistic approach to patient care is indispensable. Embracing alternatives such as fat transfer, pocket exchange, en bloc capsulectomy, and innovative techniques like the NaturaBra method, underscores the commitment to patient safety and well-being. 

En Bloc Capsulectomy

En bloc capsulectomy is a surgical procedure aimed at removing both the breast implant and the surrounding scar tissue in a single intact piece. Following this procedure, patients may undergo additional treatments such as breast lift or fat transfer if necessary. This technique is especially advantageous for individuals experiencing complications like capsular contracture or symptoms of Breast Implant Illness (BII). By completely excising the capsule along with the implant, surgeons aim to reduce the likelihood of residual scar tissue causing future complications or the recurrence of symptoms. 

Fat transfer

Fat transfer uses your own fat harvested from another part of your body by liposuction. The area choosen to harvest from is typically the abdomen, thighs, or bottom. The fat is gently suctioned out by liposuction, cleansed and purified, then transferred into the breasts. This is an attractive option if implants will not be replaced during surgery.

Pocket exchange 

A breast implant pocket exchange, also known as a breast implant plane exchange or pocket conversion, is a procedure that moves the breast implant above the pectoralis muscle. Doing so can relieve discomfort and create a new space for the implant to heal in.

With his dedication to safety and extensive experience, Dr. Alizadeh has been at the forefront of ensuring patient satisfaction and optimal outcomes in aesthetic breast surgery. Through ongoing research and adherence to best practices, the medical community endeavors to enhance patient safety and advance the field of breast augmentation.

Choosing Dr. Alizadeh For Breast Augmentation 

Although rare, it is important to be aware of the signs of breast implant illness in NYC. Making informed decisions is paramount in starting or continuing your breast augmentation journey. Dr. Alizadeh, a board-certified surgeon practicing in NYC for 23 years, constantly strives to set himself apart from other doctors offering breast augmentation. Since 2005, he has been recognized as a Top Doctor by Consumer Research Council, and since 2010, a Castle Connolly Top Doctor, an honor bestowed only to the top 7% of all physicians in the United States. Dr. Alizadeh has served as a principal investigator on multiple FDA trials on the long term outcomes with silicone breast implants. 

Dr. Alizadeh opened his own private practice with a vision towards the future. He includes world-class politicians, Oscar-winning actors, and Grammy-winning musicians among his many patients. He currently serves as the Professor of Clinical Surgery of New York Medical College and was formerly the Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Westchester Medical Center. Make sure to review NYC's Cosmoplastic Surgery if considering breast surgery. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

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