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Breast Implant Illness

Breast Implant Illness

For thousands of years women have sought out beauty. Beauty in all of its forms is innately feminine. Beauty isn’t as much of a look as it is a feeling that wells up inside us. For when a woman feels beautiful it oozes out from her through her every pore. It’s in her laugh, her smile, her walk, the clothes she chooses to adorn herself with. It is a lovely expression of her out into the world. The desire to feel beautiful is perfectly natural. The entire beauty industry is based on this innate desire of women.

The beauty industry and the medical industry have capitalized on these desires. There is nothing wrong with helping women to enhance their own beauty. It would all be fine and good and we could leave it at that if every beauty enhancement product on the market were safe.

The truth is they aren’t. And if you’re not informed or only pay attention to the marketing you can fall into a deadly trap.


Beauty should not come with the price of losing our health.


Don’t believe it? There is a 3-fold increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis among hair stylists. Dealing with toxic chemicals day in and day out is an occupational hazard and it comes back to rob us of our health.

Ladies, have you heard about the lead in our lipstick? Parabens, copper, and propylene glycol in teeth whitening? Toxic solvents, ammonia, and chemicals in our hair dye? Synthetic fragrances filled with solvents and petrochemicals that disrupt our hormones and lead to infertility?
What about Heavy metals and chemical solvents in breast implants?

This topic typically isn’t coffee table conversation but it should be.

Twenty years ago, I saw my first patient with breast implant illness. Unfortunately, she was to be the first in a long line of women who marched into my office over the years having lost their health to unidentifiable and strange symptoms. The symptoms range from vague tingling to achiness, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, rashes, brain fog, migraines, vertigo, insomnia, ringing in the ears, hair loss, chronic infections, allergies, thyroid problems, digestive problems, food allergies and more.

Of my patients who have had their implants removed there have been reports of black mold covering the plastic casing, a thinning of the sacs, a hardening of the sacs, a discoloration of the sacs, enough for me to be convinced that something just isn’t right with breast implants.

The majority of the women I’ve seen who come in questioning their breast implants range from 40-70 years old. Most of them have had their implants somewhere between 10 and 40 years. Some are still living with the original implants and others have had their implants replaced over the years with the “safer designs.”

Typically, women will be aware of it when they have a leak or rupture to their implants. Some had a mammogram squeeze too hard, or their partner came down on them too hard and there was a pop. In a rupture situation, there is a visible difference between the flattened one and one that remains intact.  A rupture is a serious consequence because that means the contents of the pouch have been dumped out into the body and the lymphatic system and the immune system is working to handle them.

As a result of rupture, I’ve seen some women with hardness of the tissues around their arm pit area, sections of their breast, and even thickening of the rib cage. I’ve seen women with skin inflammation and redness below the breast and along the lymphatic channels where the breast tissue drains, out into the arm pit and below it down into the side of the torso.


Implant rupture aside, the more dangerous and sneaky issues arise from implants that appear to be perfectly fine.


The real problem with implants are the negative body reactions that are occurring behind the scenes as a result of off gassing. Off gassing occurs from the implants themselves through the silicone and plastic wall of the pouches. There is a deterioration of the plastic sacs over time with body heat. These are not leaking or ruptured. The longer we live with off gassing deteriorating plastic sacs in our bodies the more reactive our immune system becomes. Once a woman begins to experience problems it leads to a long laundry list of strange and debilitating conditions that have now become known as Breast Implant Illness.

An all too common scenario is that a woman will start to feel un-well, and start to question her implants.  She will go to her surgeon and he or she says, “your implants are perfect, no leaks no ruptures, there is no way that these are causing any of the problems you speak of here today.”

Then they get on their soap box and say something ridiculous like, “I’ve performed hundreds of these surgeries and there is no research indicating that there is any health condition linked to breast implants. Except for a small chance of getting lymphoma. But that is very rare.”

Dr. P comment: Right, and birth control is perfectly safe and there are no side effects of taking that either. I get heated about this because women are really struggling out there and we are being told that we are fine or that it’s all in our heads, which is complete and total rubbish.

Breast implant illness doesn’t occur initially. If a young woman with a strong immune system gets implants chances are she will feel perfectly fine for a while. Then overtime life happens, maybe she works out a lot, lives in a hotter climate, has a baby, eats a poor diet, enters menopause, deals with long term stress, and then one day she isn’t fine anymore. The longer we live with implants the higher the probability of an immune reaction and negative health implications.

This is most likely why I typically don’t see younger women with breast implant illness, problems generally arise starting around age 40.

I have heard more stories from women than I care to know about, stories where a woman has auto-immune disease she goes to her surgeon who tell her that the implants are absolutely not the cause of her health degradation and then she gets talked into a replacement surgery.  The surgeon starts to harp on her vanity by suggesting that she may be disfigured if she chooses to have them taken out permanently. This scares the heck out of some women and they allow themselves to be talked into another set.

The conversation goes something like this, “Yes, the implants are old, but you don’t want to be deformed with floppy breasts because your skin has been stretched out for so long and now you are in menopause and I just want you to be happy with how you look so why don’t we swap them out for a new set of implants, pure saline ones, really nice natural feeling ones called gummy bears. The new implants are safer than the ones made 15 years ago so if you were worried you have no need to be now.”

Meanwhile this woman has lupus so badly she can barely get out of bed some days, and is on gobs of toxic medications to boost her quality of life so she can go visit her grandkids.


All too often we are lead to believe that breast implants are safe.

They are not safe.


Ladies, there are no “safer designs”, there are no new models, do not let yourself be talked into another elective surgery where you swap out an older model for a newer set.  Breast implants have not been properly researched, they are not safe, I don’t care what your surgeon tells you. The studies have been done on mice and rats.

There have been no 10 year studies examining the effects of mystery plastic pouches filled with silicone and saline into the human body and watching how they react to fluctuating body temperatures. We are lead to believe that all they contain is saline so they are safe. But they are not simply saline. Saline-filled breast implants contain a silicone outer shell filled with a sterile saltwater (saline) solution. Some are pre-filled and others are filled during the implant operation.

Anytime we have a foreign substance placed into our bodies there will be an immune response that is triggered. That is simply the way the immune system works. Our immune systems want to protect us from foreign invaders and so they go on high alert surrounding the pouches and marking them and attempting to break them down and rid them from our bodies.

Before I became a Naturopathic Doctor, I worked as an industrial hygienist for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA requires every chemical manufacturer to produce a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each product they make.

I have not been able to obtain a material data safety sheet on the actual contents of a breast implant. The best I could find is a safety report that the FDA requires of each breast implant manufacturer.

The report is called the Summaries of Safety and Effectiveness.

On the website the FDA states, “that as they (FDA) learn of new safety information, it requires that companies update their product labeling. The most current safety information about saline-filled breast implants can be found in the labeling.”

The report I reviewed listed silicone polymers, platinum, and a long list of heavy metals as the items tested. All the items were below the FDA limits and were considered to be safe. But we are told that it’s just saline so why are they testing for all of these things and how did they show up in the report?

We are lead to believe that a silicone breast implant is just silicone, and we are lead to believe that a saline breast implant is simply saline. Just salt water that’s all, surrounded by a silicone shell, there’s no harm in salt water is there? What else is mixed with the saline? Are there chemicals in there? Why are they testing for heavy metals as part of the mixture?

Heavy metals are something I regularly test for in my patient population. Quite often Heavy metal levels come back elevated. Heavy metals are toxic to our bodies and cause serious harm to our immune and neurological systems.

I pulled the following information down from the FDA website on saline filled implants. (

Here are the FDA position statements on the Safety of Breast Implants…


“At this time, it is not known if a small amount of silicone may pass through from the breast implant silicone shell into breast milk during breastfeeding. Although there are currently no established methods for accurately detecting silicone levels in breast milk, a study measuring silicon (one component in silicone) levels did not indicate higher levels in breast milk from women with silicone gel-filled implants when compared to women without implants.”


“Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a T-cell lymphoma that can develop following breast implants.”

Connective Tissue Disease

“The FDA has not detected any association between silicone gel-filled breast implants and connective tissue disease, breast cancer, or reproductive problems. In order to rule out these and other complications, studies would need to be larger and longer than these conducted so far.”


If presented with the opportunity please discourage every woman you know from getting these.


Young women and burned out moms are especially susceptible to the marketing.

Women are sick, women are suffering, their families are suffering. This has to stop. Women are not getting the answers to their health issues. Women today need real answers in order to heal and conventional medicine has been a dismal failure for them. If you have a Breast Implant story that you would like to share, I encourage you to do so. Women need to hear your story so they can get the information to make the best decisions for themselves. They aren’t going to get the correct information from the medical industry.  The insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies are running the show and they don’t care about your health or mine, they care about their profits.

We must do the research and get the vital information you need to protect and reclaim our health.

Every woman should be allowed to live out the life she was meant to live and feel beautiful without being burdened with disease.

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.


  • Qui says:

    Great reasearch and Composition Dr. P. Thanks you so much for listing the report and explaining the dangers of implants being tested for Heavy Metals by the FDA, still consumers are being told it’s only salt or saline water in the sylicone breast implant. Our self esteem is the issue. Thank you for helping women to understand that living a long and healthy life is better than a long and illness-riddled one. Personally, I do not have implant ms and at this time I do not know anyone that does but I understand the beauty quest. I compliment women and girls of all ages everyday on their looks in passing. I think it’s important a woman knows “she’s working it” (beauty) when she’s just being herself at the grocery store or walking the dog at the park. Their faces light up and my spirit propels with it. It’s a win-win to ensiurage and support a woman’s natural beauty. I’m 100% natural and my hubby of 28-years tells me everyday; he was also my beau in high school). it’s my pleasure to PAY IT FOEWARD.

  • Gwen Staats says:

    Good article on a topic not discussed enough !!

    Thank you,

    Gwen Staats (Costa Mesa)

  • Debbie Mason says:

    Wow! What a powerful ariticle Dr. Purcell. There is so much conflicting information on breast implants. I considered getting them at one point but decided against it and I am glad I did! Thank you for caring for women of all ages and keeping us healthy!

    Grateful in Orange, CA
    Debbie Mason

  • Jennifer Dietz says:

    Amazing article Dr. Purcell. Thank you for this empowering information that I can share with the women of the world! I love your opening words about beauty. 🙂

  • Danielle Tyler-Pires says:

    Thank you for the detailed report. I will certainly pass this along to my friends and family.

  • Carol Gattucci says:

    Excellent article, thankful that you are always sharing this good information. Will be able to have an informed conversation about this now. Will discourage anyone I know that might be thinking of this.

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