There’s a great book that a client of mine referred to me to help me understand some of the symptoms that she was dealing with and how I might best help her. The book is called “The Naked Truth about Breast Implants,” by Dr. Susan Kolb, and it takes a compelling look at the reaction of the body to the introduction of silicone implants and how the body must try to cope with the materials in the implants should they leak out.
Interestingly, as early as the late 1890s, clinical breast augmentation was practiced with the injection of liquid paraffin into the breast. This practice led to many clinical complications such as infection and hardening of the tissues surrounding the injections sites. Other attempts to increase the breast size included insertion of glass or ivory balls into the tissue and, as you can imagine, all methods resulted in infections and other issues as the body attempted to reject the foreign materials.
In the 1920s, surgeons began to experiment with fat transplants into the breasts from the buttocks or from the abdomen, which left women with scars on the body parts from where the fat was removed and with lumpy and asymmetrical breasts. Before silicone implants were invented in the 1940s, silicone was directly injected into the breast tissue but was banned (in Japan) in the late 1940s because of the serious complications such as infection, chronic inflammation and migration of the silicone to the bodily organs.
Silicone injections remained legal in the U.S. until the 1970s. It was early in the 1960s that the silicone implants were developed, and the immediate complications included localized infections and capsular contraction. Capsular contracture can happen wherever a foreign substance is introduced into the body because the body will attempt to wall off the foreign material as a protective mechanism. In the case of breast implants, the tissue around them forms scar tissue and constricts, which can cause pain or, in some cases, rupture the implant. At the time most scientists believed that silicone was biologically inert and it was used for many medical devices such as shunts, implants of various types and joint replacements.
Silicone immune disease can happen when the silicone gel leaks out of the shell of the breast implants, and it occurs as a result of the effects of the free silicone in the body as well as the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. Women can experience over 20 symptoms from these chemicals and the illness usually progresses from vague complaints such as muscle aches and brain fog to more specific diagnoses such as chronic fatigue, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
The effects of the leakage is not usually locally contained but affects many systems and organs because the silicone migrates throughout the body. A number of studies, according to Dr. Kolb, have demonstrated that silicone implants are likely to leak within 10 years of surgical implantation, either because the body tries to breakdown the shell or because of an actual rupture of the shell of the implant. Dr. Kolb states that most patients experience a burning sensation in the tissues around the leaking implant, which can travel down the arm and cause neurological problems (numbness) in the limb. The lymphatic drainage of the arm where silicone clogs up the lymph channels is compromised and many women experience swelling or the arm, wrist and axilla and carpal tunnel problems.
Removal of the silicone implant as well as the infected and inflamed lymph nodes is advisable not only because of the pain and numbness (neurotoxins) but also because some of the chemicals in the silicone gel are carcinogenic. Dr. Kolb advises that removing abnormal and enlarged lymph nodes as well as the entire implant and capsule helps women recover normal neurological function.
Other sources cited by Dr. Kolb note that silicone induces atypical antibodies and can trigger autoimmune symptomology.
I would strongly urge anyone who is considering breast augmentation surgery to read this book and make a truly informed decision. Although big companies and other agencies deny the ill effects of silicone in the body, Dr. Kolb’s book makes for a comprehensive look at the issues that might be important for anyone considering implants or for anyone who is experiencing symptoms that might be associated with implants. I thank my client who shared this book with me, and together we are working to help her regain her strength and to detox her body.
Jane Riley, M.S., B.A., C.P.T., Certified Nutritional Adviser, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.