More and more women are removing their breast implants for a variety of reasons. One that is growing in awareness is breast implant illness, also known as “Bii.” Simply put, is a collection of symptoms related to your breast implants. Whether or not your doctor or plastic surgeon agrees with it, there is plenty of supporting evidence and science.
Over the years, several kinds of breast implants have been recalled for failure or for being associated with BIA-ALCL - a cancer of the immune system. Recently the the FDA issued another statement that various cancers are found in the capsule tissue that surrounds implants, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and various lymphomas.
In 2018, one of the largest studies published shows the correlation between silicone implants and an increased risk of autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, stillbirths & melanoma.
For those who have experienced breast implant illness and explant, you can understand the magnitude of what this journey serves, from body image, body acceptance and strength (mental and physical). If you'd like more resources related to Bii and an explant procedure, keep reading.
Love, Lexxi™ Founder, Meg Smith can relate first-hand. Growing up as a teen during a time when “the perfect body” was plastered on billboards, magazine covers and fashion shows, her body image struggles reached new heights. As an athlete with small breasts, Meg didn’t feel “very feminine or attractive” because she didn’t check the boxes of societal toxic beauty standards. Additionally, her relationship with food and exercise reached an unhealthy level as she tried to obtain and maintain this unrealistic figure.
Despite a loving partner, her body image struggles were internal. No outside validation could make her feel better or differently about her body. She silently suffered. After having two babies and experiencing postpartum body changes, she opted for breast implants in 2016 to solve for a “problem she felt needed to be fixed.”
After 3 months, Meg started to develop strange symptoms, from vision issues, slurred speech and brain fog to wounds that wouldn’t heal. Over the course of 4 years, her symptoms intensified to on-and-off auto immune diseases, hyperthyroidism, heart palpitations, locked joints (particularly index finger and ankles), memory loss and panic attacks. Doctors were scratching their heads as nothing matched up. They couldn’t give her a diagnosis that was consistent or made sense.
After learning about Breast Implant Illness, Meg joined online communities including the well-known Facebook Group with over 130,000 members: Breast Implant Illness Healing by Nicole. Their website is also incredibly resourceful. Here she realized, “ok, everything makes sense now.” She had her explant in Fall 2020 by a recommended explant surgeon.
“Hitting rock bottom made me realize what matters most in life: health and love. I went through a self-love revelation and now have body confidence and self-respect that I never experienced before.”
Since then, she set on a mission to impact the lives of girls and women and inspire body confidence, through stunning, comfortable, well-fitting undergarments and a community filled women who finally feel celebrated and heard.
IMPORTANT BII & EXPLANT TIPS AND RESOURCES:
Do Your Research
Learn about the implants you have and if they are recalled or could be contributing to the symptoms you’re experiencing.
You Are Your Best Advocate
Many doctors and plastic surgeons can’t get grasp breast implant illness and you likely won’t feel supported by them. Unfortunately, this is a common experience women are facing. Stay true to yourself and follow your intuition.
Find Your Explant Surgeon
If suffering from Bii symptoms, it’s recommended to have an enbloc capsuletomy to ensure all of the directly exposed areas to the toxins are completely removed. An en bloc capsulectomy refers to a method of breast implant removal that removes the scar tissue capsule and the breast implant all at once, without opening the capsule. Here is a list of recommended surgeons in your area.
Join Bii and Explant Facebook Communities
If you need additional support, answers or to hear other stories, there are many online communities to lean on. Keep in mind, for some, these groups can be a trigger because of the photos that can be shared. As we all know, not everyone goes out of their way to share “the positive results.” Everyone’s experience is different. This leads to….
Your mental strength and wellbeing is very important during the explant process. Do everything you need to set yourself up for optimal mental health. From support groups to daily regimens - and everything in between. The stronger your mental and emotional state is, the easier the recovery will be.
Time To Detox
We’re not talking about a 10-day juice cleanse, we’re talking about a healthy, well-balanced diet heavy with greens, vegetables, fruits and whole foods (the less processed the better). Consider it a “lifestyle” — healthy eating habits that are sustainable. Crash dieting is absolutely not recommended (ever), but especially now.
Here are a few other things you can add to your detox regimen:
- DIY Sugar Scrub by TSV (recipe below)
- HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
Get your hands on Busting Free by Amanda Savage Brown. This book has recently been seen in the Press while simultaneously receiving buzz in the explant community, for good reason. “How to liberate yourself from the quest for better breasts, before, during and long after explant.”
DIY Scar Treatment Oil
(Non-toxic): Combine a base of JoJoba Oil with a few drops of frankincense, lavender, and Vitamin E oil. Meg combined hers in a small amber spray bottle, which you can purchase here.
Get Your Vitamins In!
We recommend Ritual Multivitamins. The healthy, non-toxic vitamins that contain everything you need and nothing that you don’t.
Post Surgical Bra
You want front-closure: there are quite a few options on the market. We recommend taking a look at this style: Fruit of the Loom Front Closure w/ Mesh Straps. We personally like how the mesh straps add an elevated style to what would normally feel like a very basic post-surgical bra. You may find this unnecessary, and that's ok! They have others without mesh.
Cleared for a Regular Bra
Ok, you deserve something special. When you’re cleared by your surgeon to wear “a regular bra” - don’t sacrifice aesthetic for comfort or good fit. Love, Lexxi bras were made to solve common fit pain points for AA-C, while combining comfort, soft materials and stunning design to make you feel confident and limitless day and night.
Keep Your Head Up
Stay mindful of what you allow yourself to consume on social media. Comparison is the killer of joy. Many of us can relate to feeling stuck in the rabbit hole comparing our bodies to others we see on Instagram or TikTok, which can contribute to low self-esteem and negative body image when viewing regularly. Only follow profiles and content that serve you well.
Find uplifting communities and brands that make you feel GOOD, from the inside out.
On The Pod
Listen to inspiring stores that will help educate, inspire and remind you that you’re not alone in this journey. One of our favorite podcasts is The Empowered Explant by Darnah Mercieca.
Furthermore, Meg Smith has made it clear she enjoys connecting and supporting women of the explant community. You can DM her on Instagram at @megsmithventures or email firstname.lastname@example.org