A Michigan plastic surgeon says one way to eliminate multiple symptoms of poor health is to have aging breast implants removed. Most implants last about 10 years before those with them begin experiencing a multitude of physical ailments—many associated with leaking and deteriorating implants.

“We have a thorough checklist on our website of symptoms that often turn out to be related to breast implant illnesses (BII),” says double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Shaher W. Khan, MD, who owns Executive Plastic Surgery in Novi, Mich. Khan is also an expert in en bloc capsulectomy—the gold standard for surgical removal of implants and the capsule of scar tissue surrounding them.

“Women who are otherwise young and healthy complain of symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, or vertigo,” Khan adds. “They go to their primary care physicians who look at every possible reason for the symptoms other than their implants.”

According to Khan, the following is a list of some of the signs and symptoms associated with BII: fatigue or chronic fatigue; cognitive dysfunction; muscle aches and pains; skin rashes; chronic neck and back pain; anxiety, depression, and panic attacks; metallic taste in mouth; dry skin, eyes, mouth, and hair; weight gain or weight loss; frequent urination; liver and kidney dysfunction; digestive issues; and recurring sinus, yeast, and UTI infections.

“Physicians often misdiagnose these symptoms as autoimmune illnesses, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Graves’ disease, Crohn’s disease, Raynaud‘s syndrome, Hashimoto‘s thyroiditis, scleroderma,and other illnesses,” Khan says. “They overlook the obvious culprit. And patients, despite signing multiple forms that outline the risks, fail to connect these symptoms with their implants.”

Khan says the checklist is a screening tool that women with implants can use at home. Often, the symptoms come about gradually, he explains, and patients don‘t connect the dots that something that is ongoing might be connected to a new symptom—all tied to aging breast implants.

Khan runs a Facebook support group for women who’ve experienced BII and speaks openly about the profitability of breast implant surgery, which creates an incentive for the surgeries to continue despite the growing research that shows how detrimental implants are to the health of those who receive them.

The U.S. FDA issued its most aggressive warning yet about implants in September 2022, stating that implants are undeniably linked to breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The warning also reports links between squamous cell carcinoma and various lymphomas that develop in the scar tissue capsule that surrounds implants.