How Breast Implants Compromise Your Health and Make You Sick

Dr. Robert Whitfield MD

What you must know about the health risks and extensive symptoms of breast implant illness, as well as removal solutions.


In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

…Dr. Robert Whitfield MD discusses the often-overlooked health risks associated with breast implants. Women who experience breast implant illness have symptoms like brain fog, memory loss, fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, and many more.

While there’s not a definitive cause of breast implant illness, a common theory points to an immune system response. Breast implants in the body can lead to persistent foreign body reactions, silicone toxicity, heavy metal exposure, biofilm development around the implants, and free radical/oxidative damage. Over time, these reactions weaken the immune system and cause health symptoms from minor to severe. Your autoimmune response, endocrine system, thyroid & adrenals, and gut all could be affected.

Dr. Robert’s an Austin-based plastic surgeon who’s cared for hundreds of women with breast implant illness, performs breast explants, and teaches other surgeons about this illness and treatment methods.

After years of experience in breast reconstruction for cancer patients, microsurgery, and a deep understanding of the body’s reactions to foreign materials, Dr. Whitfield developed a unique insight into the world of breast implant illness. His career turning point happened in 2016 when a breast cancer patient requested a specific procedure to remove her implant. The patient showed no sign of infection, but laboratory results revealed a significant E. Coli infection that was successfully treated. Other conditions she’d been experiencing, like chronic fatigue, also improved.

This episode serves as a guide to what could be happening in your body, what symptoms to watch for, and breast implant removal options if you suspect you may have breast implant illness.

  • Why you should consider breast implant removal if experiencing chronic fatigue or other unexplained symptoms, as they may be linked to an undetected infection.
  • How to request explant surgery to be performed “en bloc” to minimize the risk of complications and ensure thorough removal of both the implant and the scar tissue.
  • Why you should be aware of the possibility of biofilm (bacterial slime) on breast implants, which can cause undetected infections and chronic symptoms.
  • When to seek a specialized surgeon who has experience in both implanting and removing breast implants, as well as correcting complications from previous surgeries.
  • Understanding that any foreign body, like a breast implant, can cause an immune response and potential complications in the long term, despite the skill of the surgeon.
  • Why you should discuss the potential risks and benefits of breast implants with a qualified professional and make an informed decision based on personal health and aesthetic preferences.
  • Consider a new breast reconstruction alternative called microsurgery that uses the patient’s own tissue rather than a foreign implant.
  • How to stay informed about the latest research and developments in breast implant safety, as well as potential links to illness and chronic symptoms.

“If you have a friend, a colleague, your spouse, a sibling, a daughter—if they have these types of issues, we can highlight basic things,” Dr. Robert says. “If someone’s suffering from anxiety and/or depression, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, heart palpitations, really lots of problems with their digestive tract from constipation to diarrhea, to bloating, swelling, muscle and joint pain, restless legs, and they have this accompanying having breast implants, it would be useful to send them to Have them take a quiz and see if they can learn something and help them.”

Watch this episode on YouTube

“Everybody has an immunologic response to implants, and there's not an implant that's devoid of a problem—because it's a foreign body.”

Robert Whitfield, M.D.

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  • Dr. Robert Whitfield shares his wake-up call on breast implant illness (BII) after removing implants from a patient with an occult E. coli infection.
  • Advanced testing methods such as quantitative PCR analysis and EEG tests to determine if his patients have an occult infection or other conditions related to BII.
  • IRB-approved studies on BII use EEGs to identify changes in latency and focus on gut health, hormone levels, and reducing inflammation via proper nutrition and supplementation.
  • Fat transfer is a safe and long-lasting alternative to breast implants, according to Dr. Whitfield.
  • Functional genomics and genetic testing are important in identifying poorly functioning genetic pathways and environmental exposures that may contribute to BII, says Whitfield.
  • The use of fat transfers for breast augmentation highlights the importance of addressing gut health and toxicity levels in addition to surgical procedures.
  • BII is a condition caused by breast implants that is often misdiagnosed.
  • Breast implant removal, reduction, or explant surgeries can be necessary for those experiencing symptoms related to BII.
  • Holistic approaches to patient care that include testing for food, hormones, toxicity, and inflammation can be helpful in preventing and treating BII.

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