Case Study – Recovery from Breast Implant Illness Following Implant Removal

Avenue Aesthetic Surgery is the home of Australia’s leading experts in Breast Augmentation by Autologous Fat Transfer. It is now the most popular procedure at Avenue Aesthetic Surgery and we believe that is for good reason. While silicone gel or saline filled implants were previously the only method surgeons had to augment the size of breasts, recent years have seen the development of a fat grafting technique to provide a safer, satisfactory and superior breast augmentation. And the first to bring this procedure to Melbourne, we now have over 8 years of experience with this technique.

Any surgery carries risk and with breast implant removal (explant) surgeries on the rise due to commonly-used textured silicone implants, many women have had complications. These implants have now been withdrawn from the market but, like in our recent case, may still cause complications for women.

Recently Avenue Aesthetic Surgery welcomed a woman who had symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, foggy thinking, severe night sweats, body odour, joint pains, lower back pain, painful breasts and sleep disturbance. These symptoms arose following the insertion of 300cc textured silicone implants 12 years previously. Anatomically, even though her implants were teardrop-shaped, her breasts were rounded with excessive fullness in the upper pole.


Before. Note excessive upper pole fullness even though the implants were teardrop-shaped.

An explant surgery was conducted and her implants were found to have structurally deteriorated, though still intact. They were surrounded by a double collagen capsule, part of which was attached to the implants. After removal, together with a capsulectomy, the pathology report showed chronic inflammation, including plasma cells. These are the cells that produce antibodies and indicate an immune response. The widespread chronic inflammation of the capsule around the breast implants was plausibly due to the sandpaper effect of the textured implants.


The right side implant severely deteriorated with a capsule adherent to its surface

The right side capsule with redness clearly showing inflammation

Breast Implant Illness (BII) has only been recognised in recent years. Although initially thought to be due to silicone toxicity, it is now becoming clearer that it is almost always associated with these textured silicone implants. Textured implants were designed to stay in place, binding to the tissue unlike smooth-walled implants which can move around. However, in many women, the implants fail to attach and their subsequent movement results in a ‘sandpaper’ effect where the rough surface is constantly abrading the surrounding tissues, causing inflammation. This was the case with our recent explant surgery.

Following the removal of her damaging implants, breast reconstruction was then performed with 230cc per side of Autologous Fat Transfer, our preferred procedure. Six weeks following surgery she reported “no regrets” with symptoms from her BII abating and a general feeling of wellbeing. She was sleeping better with no more night sweats, her foggy thinking was gone, and she no longer had breast or back pain.


Post-surgery, which included breast reconstruction with Autologous Fat Transfer. Good volume, attractive cleavage and normal upper pole.

Aesthetically her breasts were still full, soft and natural to the touch and had a better visual appearance without the prominent upper pole fullness. They kept their size, but the shape was far more natural. This is a typical outcome of Breast Augmentation by Autologous Fat Transfer. Not only does it show that textured implants can cause harm, but that following removal, an implant free reconstruction is possible using the patient’s own fat, with similar if not better results.

Read more about Breast Augmentation by Autologous Fat Transfer here.

Avenue Aesthetic Surgery

Australia’s experts in Fat Transfer