Systemic Symptoms: Biospecimen Analysis Study Print

The ASERF Scientific Research Committee and Board of Directors are pleased to announce the following grant award:

Researcher: Patricia McGuire, MD & Caroline Glicksman, MD

Grant Award: ASERF Interim Grant

Amount Awarded: $221,925.00

Project Name: Systemic Symptoms: Biospecimen Analysis Study

Project Summary:

Although it is accepted that there is an association between textured breast implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, there is no current definitive epidemiologic evidence to support a direct link between breast implants and any autoimmune disorders at this time.  However, there are an increasing number of women who are pursuing an explantation because of what is being referred to as “breast implant illness” ("BII"), a term originating from a social media group used to describe a collection of nonspecific systemic symptoms thought to be caused by breast implants.  As of 2018, there were over 80,000 women on the two main Facebook sites, Breast Implant Illness and Healing and Breast Implant Victim Advocacy. Reported symptoms include but are not limited to fatigue, chest pain, hair loss, headaches, arthralgias, allergies, easy bruising, heartburn, decreased sex drive, gastrointestinal upset, heart palpitations, hot flashes, infections, night sweats, heat/cold intolerance, migraines, anxiety, swelling, tinnitus, weight gain, chronic muscle/joint pain, rash, body odor, brain fog, sleep disturbance, depression, cognitive dysfunction, hormone imbalances, dry eyes and skin changes.  In the majority of patients, objective markers, such as serologic abnormalities are absent.  There is no established pathophysiologic explanation or diagnostic test for "breast implant illness"; it is not a recognized medical disease at this time.

Recently, several new studies have been designed and funded to better understand the possible role of psychological and social behavioral factors that may be concomitant in women who are reporting symptoms of "BII." This study, in contrast, has been designed to scientifically analyze biospecimens from three groups: Group 1 -  women with breast implants who are presenting with "BII" and pursuing explantation; Group 2 - women with breast implants who are not presenting with "BII" and are undergoing explantation for other reasons (weight gain, or elective explantation with mastopexy); and Group 3: an age matched control group of women undergoing an elective mastopexy without previous exposure to breast implants.