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Breast Implants & Neuropathy

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Unread 03-30-2007, 11:55 AM   #1
ann-elizabeth
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Default Breast Implants & Neuropathy

Hi,

I have PN, primarily small sensory PN, but some motor. All tests to date have been normal. My neuro's next step is a cat scan of my entire torso to rule out cancer (8 year smoking history) because my PN is spreading fairly rapidly. I asked him if my breast implants would pose any problems in the reading of the CT scan, and he stated no, but that would be an interesting area to study as to a cause for my PN.

Now my breast implants are filled with SALINE, but the actual implant itself is made of silicone. I had them placed almost 9 years ago and have never had any problems with them, no scarring, no contracture, no leakage.

I googled "Saline breast implants and peripheral neuropathy" and some anti-breast implant sites came up with some pretty scary things. However, I couldn't find anything that seemed medically sound.

I am wondering if any of you women with PN here have implants? If you prefer not to respond to this thread, can you send me a private message? Thanks so much...

Ann
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Unread 03-30-2007, 12:12 PM   #2
dahlek
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Default Ann elizabeth...just having ....

gone thru the cancer thing last year [whew! whatta year?] and getting impants and all. I have to urge you to really ask yourdocs about all your tests to date..
I first urge you to check out www/neuroexam.com and see what all docs SHOULD check you out for..then www/Lizajane.org. from a member whos had multiple spinal, pn and possible auto-immune issues.

I for one, have an auto-immune neuropathy...probably caused by a pneumonia that had lasted for 2 months then 3+months after than had a sudden onset. Less than 2 years later, I was diagnosed with the 'easiest of BC's DCIS stage 1' got it early, was lucky. But, according to my surgeon, it could all be related... PM me for some details if you wish. All docs concede that the PN onset before the BC diagnoses might be related...there are tests that can be done...but...it really doesn't change how it all is treated and, no doc seems to be interested in persuing the issue. The whole thing gets well, plain old squirrelley! Small comfort? Maybe. Treatment, the right sorts, SHOULD BE your primary concern...the right docs, or other docs are also important it 'getting you' there.


Just know you have someone here, who's been thru all that...done that, has the tee-shirt...etc.?
Read the stickies above at the top of the 'page' and, before you suffer 'overload' pick out YOUR salient points and plain old ASK QUESTIONS! You will find a good group here...we all came by our PN's thru different routes but, I have never found a one who was stinting in generousity about sharing! That means a lot...for a lot!

Hugs in the meantime! - j
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Unread 03-30-2007, 07:33 PM   #3
LizaJane
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Default It's true

Sorry, ann-elizabeth, to bear these tidings, but the bad news is true. Silicone is definitely associated with neuropathy.

I'm one of the women who became ill from implants, and only started to heal when they were removed. I don't talk about it much, if ever, up here; but I'm not the only one.

The strongest evidence for the silicone neuropathy link is a simple review of medicare claims that was done a number of years back. The goal was to see if any medical devices were associated with any specific diagnoses, over the cousre of a number of years. What turned up was that anyone with silicone implants (testicles, chin, breast) had a much higher incidence of peripheral neuropathy than people without. That to me was the best published evidence.

Beyond that, there's my story. I had implants put in after finishing nursing my second child. Plastic surgeons no longer did "lifts" for those of us who totally lost our shape to nursing. It was easier to "slip in an implant", as my surgeon recommended. I was 40. For the next 10 years I developed one joint problem after another, and one inflamed nerve after another. I had chronic sinus infections and was in intravenous antibiotics for two months, as well as having surgery.

The 10th year I developed a rash in the sun, ulcers on my tongue, and a sudden onset of feeling things crawling all over my legs. By then I had clear nerve conduction evidence of neuropathy. Every rheumatologist I saw told me I had "implant disease". They said yeah, it "doesn't exist" but they all saw it all the time and all said that I would not get well until they were removed.

I went online and found a silicone support group. I posted, new to the online world, "Does anyone there have neurological symptoms". I was terrified, totally terrified. By morning, I had 20 letters from women who had neuropathy. I've been in touch with a couple over the last 7 years, and I can tell you that no one who has not had the implants removed has gotten better. But just about everyone who has them out within 10 years does get well. Longer than 10 years, it's a crap shoot, because the silicone has migrated through the nodes (rather like breast cancer), and triggered immune dysfunction. Some docs would still want to treat me for immune disease.


It took a few months to be well enough for removal, at which time I flew to one of the two plastic surgeons in the country who were removing them carefully, looking at and removing involved lymph nodes.

I got worked up for every other possible cause. I went to Mayo. Nothing else was found to be wrong.

I've embarked upon the healing program recommended by so many here on the site, wtih yoga, supplements, and a decreased work schedule.

I am way way better. Even though I'm still recovering from spinal surgery, I am much more well than I was in those 10 years I had implants. Rheumatologists and immunologists say my immune system is still over-revved, but I'm not taking any drugs at this point.

I do not tell doctors about the silicone. It's wasted breath and just labels the woman a problem. But I tell any women I meet who are entertaining the notion that it is a very very bad idea. And anyone who has them and has health problems----I recommend removal. En bloc. With a surgeon who specializes in removal. There's a central list of "approved" plastic surgeons, who have proved themselves. Mine was a microvascular surgeon. It took 7 hours to remove them. A coronary bypass only takes 2.

Do your reading, please. If you need to pm me, feel free.
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--- LYME neuropathy diagnosed in 2009; considered "idiopathic" neuropathy 1996 - 2009
---s/p laminectomy and fusion L3/4/5 Feb 2006 for a synovial spinal cyst
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Unread 03-30-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
LizaJane
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Default Too Many Studies to Ignore

Ann Epidemiol. 2000 May;10(4):197-9. [/b]
A retrospective cohort study of implanted medical devices and selected chronic diseases in Medicare claims data.Greenland S, Finkle WD.
Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Topanga, CA, USA.

PURPOSE Several case-control studies have observed associations of implanted medical devices and certain connective-tissue and neurologic diseases. We reexamined these and other associations using cohort comparisons.

[COLOR="black"]METHODS:[/color] We compared the incidence of 52 diseases in several retrospective cohorts constructed from Medicare claims data. Six cohorts were defined by implantation of medical devices (silicone, metal bone or joint implants, breast implants, penile implants, pacemakers, artificial heart valves), and four comparison cohorts were defined by surgeries not involving implants.

RESULTS: We observed associations that were generally consistent with previous reports, including associations of bone and joint implants with connective-tissue diseases, and an association of penile implants with idiopathic progressive neuropathy. We also observed associations of breast implants and pacemakers with connective-tissue diseases.

CONCLUSIONS For the most part, our study confirms our previous case-control results. Although confounding by presurgical conditions (such as diabetes) remains a plausible explanation of the findings, several associations are worthy of more detailed research.

PMID: 10854955 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

: Ann Epidemiol. 1998 Jul;8(5):319-26. Links
A case-control study of prosthetic implants and selected chronic diseases in Medicare claims data.
Greenland S,
• Finkle WD.
Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA.

PURPOSE: In an exploratory case-control study of a private insurance-claims database, Greenland and Finkle (Ann Epidemiol. 1996;6:530-540) observed associations of certain prosthetic nonbreast implants with certain connective-tissue and neurologic conditions. We wished to test these associations using the same design with new data.

METHODS: We examined these associations in a case-control analysis of Medicare claims data. To control for possible confounding effects of surgery, our analysis examined nonimplant surgeries of severity similar to implant surgeries. RESULTS: We again found associations of silicone and metal implants with connective-tissue and neurologic conditions, but we also found similar associations of carpal-tunnel surgery with those conditions.
CONCLUSIONS: Possible explanations for these findings include confounding by presurgical conditions. Therefore, we recommend further studies be done in which such conditions can be measured and controlled.
PMID: 9669614 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

1: Ann Epidemiol. 1996 Nov;6(6):530-40. Links

A case-control study of prosthetic implants and selected chronic diseases.
• Greenland S,
• Finkle WD.
Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health 90095-1772, USA.
We examined the association between prosthetic nonbreast implants and selected malignant neoplasms, connective tissue disorders, and neurologic diseases. We conducted a case-control study from an insurance claims database. We selected controls who had diseases for which no association with implants have been claimed or reported. Data were analyzed using both tabular and polytomous regression analysis methods, including methods to account for the large number of comparisons. All analyses exhibited positive associations between implants (both silicone and metal) and neurologic conditions, especially idiopathic progressive neuropathy and Meniere syndrome, as well as the expected associations with arthritic conditions. There also was an unexpected negative association between metal implants and brain tumors.


Conclusion, further studies of prosthetic implants and neurologic diseases appear warranted. These studies should obtain medical histories to control for possible confounding effects of drug treatments associated with implant surgery.
PMID: 8978883 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


: Rheumatology (Oxford). 2002 Feb;41(2):129-35; discussion 123-4. Links
Silicone breast implants: correlation between implant ruptures, magnetic resonance spectroscopically estimated silicone presence in the liver, antibody status and clinical symptoms.
• Gaubitz M, • Jackisch C,

Department of Medicine B, University of Munster, Munster, Germany.

OBJECTIVE:
To determine the impact of implant integrity on clinical symptoms and antibody status in women with silicone breast implants (SBIs). METHODS: Ninety consecutive women were examined by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the integrity of their silicone breast implants. The presence of silicone in the liver was estimated by (1)H localized stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Results were correlated with patients' complaints, as evaluated by a standardized questionnaire, physical examination by a rheumatologist and antibody screening.

RESULTS: Breast MRI revealed defects in 24 patients (26.6%); in 13 (54.2%) of these women, silicone was detected in the liver by MRS. Of the 66 patients with MRI-estimated intact implants, 15 (22.7%) had apparent silicone in their liver, arguing for gel bleeding. Clinically, two patients had had rheumatoid arthritis before SBIs, whereas the other patients revealed no typical symptoms of arthritis or connective tissue disease (CTD). The patients with MRS evidence of silicone in the liver had no statistically significant differences in their complaints with the exception of the most frequent symptom, tingling/numbness of the fingers (82.1 vs 51.6%, P=0.006). A positive pattern of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) was obtained in 13 of the 28 MRS-positive patients (46.4%) and in 15 of the 62 MRS-negative patients (24.2%, P=0.033). However, in only one of these 28 ANA-positive patients was a specific weak antibody titre against SS-A detected by ELISA.

CONCLUSION:
Implant integrity has no major impact on rheumatic symptoms of women with SBIs. This finding supports the standpoint that silicone does not cause either a specific CTD or any other distinct disease entity. However, the moderately increased incidences of ANA-positivity and neuropathy-associated symptoms require explanation.
PMID: 11886959 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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LizaJane

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--- LYME neuropathy diagnosed in 2009; considered "idiopathic" neuropathy 1996 - 2009
---s/p laminectomy and fusion L3/4/5 Feb 2006 for a synovial spinal cyst
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Unread 03-30-2007, 11:18 PM   #5
ann-elizabeth
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Default Lizajane

Thanks for all the info.....I guess it doesn't matter that mine are SALINE?

Ann
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Unread 03-30-2007, 11:52 PM   #6
Yorkiemom
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Default Welcome to our group Ann Elizabeth

I almost fell over when I saw your posting. I have been on this group and Brain Talk for several years and have never seen anyone else post publically here on this, other than me. This, despite the fact I have met many, many women in person, who have joined our unfortunate sorority and are suffering from neurological problems.

I had implants nearly 17 years. They were removed in 1992, due to systemic symptoms, including severe peripheral neuopathy.

There are few doctors who will openly admit that they are seeing these patients. Yesterday, I called a plastic surgeon's office in Dallas, attempting to help a friend of mine who is very ill and needs to have her implants removed immediately. I asked the receptionist if her doctor has seen any women with implant problems. She said no... I happen to know one of the women he implanted well enough to know he had seen her and she has PLENTY of health issues believed related to her implants.

I would strongly encourage you to consider explantation, particularly since you are showing signs of nervous system dysfunction. The shells on your implants are made of silicone, which in itself, appears to cause immune system disorders. At one point, over 400,000 women had reported implant problems to the FDA. There has been NO followup on this...

Most doctors refuse to connect our health problems with implants, so be prepared for the "rolling of the eyes." If you do opt for removal, the "en bloc" technique LizaJane refers to means that the surgeon cuts around the scar capsule, which forms around each implant, and removes the implant and capsule as one unit, much as a ball in a catcher's mitt.

I hope you will keep us posted on how you are doing and what you decide to do.

I would also like to thank Liza Jane for having the courage to post this information publicly. It is not always easy to speak out on this issue, which is immensely personal for some... I wish there were more women willing to come to this forum. Discussing this in a public forum might lead some women to consider that their health problems could be implant related. Explantation might at least give them a chance to improve their health.

Cathie
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:34 AM   #7
ann-elizabeth
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Default well it took me a while

to post this the question publicly and I appreciate your answers. I guess my biggest question is after having implants, what the heck do your breast look like after explantation? I'm rather fond of my look now! (hoping not to sound too vain....)

ann
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Unread 03-31-2007, 09:36 AM   #8
LizaJane
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I'd send you a pic but I'm not that "out"!

Okay, they're just fine. Small and perky was the goal, and when the implants were removed, that's what I got! It was an immediate relief to feel like myself again, without them. Dr Feng in Cleveland is one of the best. You might go to her website and take a look. That's where I went for the removal. A microvascular surgeon is willing to take the time to save every bit of breast tissue she can, since much of it is stuck to the implant or it's decomposed contents. She did a great job and I have no complaint.
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--- LYME neuropathy diagnosed in 2009; considered "idiopathic" neuropathy 1996 - 2009
---s/p laminectomy and fusion L3/4/5 Feb 2006 for a synovial spinal cyst
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Unread 03-31-2007, 10:20 AM   #9
dahlek
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Default I guess Ive had things...

backwards, in that I'd gotten the PN/CIDP first and 2 years later the cancer diagnosis....and that all doesn't mean the two are totally unrelated either...my cancer surgeon and ocon said that it can take cancers about 5-7 years of incubating before being found. Chicken or egg? Who can really tell, but I do know my docs have been truly super in my treatments and extra-cautious as well.

After my mast., it really took me a whole week before I could look at the surgery site tho...I opted for an implant as only one side was affected and my balance was soo bad that,well, I needed a bit of 'evening' out weight wise. I was getting used to not having anything there, and no one could really tell the difference w/comfy clothes...then I got 'implanted'. There is a good site about whether to do implants or not at www.breastcancer.org. There are a lot of good people there who have wide-ranging opinions about the routes to take. Altho my case is different, it's a good site to look at, as their reasons pro or con are similar to anyone's but with the extra PUNCH of IT coming back.

I don't know where you live, but my BC surgeon is top notch...All she does is breasts and my PS stated outright she loves working with her[the surgeon] because she had much more to work with...I guess that means it wasn't a chop job? Well, you all know what I mean.

Hugs and good thoughts for the interim! - j
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Unread 03-31-2007, 01:55 PM   #10
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Default Surgery

I too saw Dr. Feng, in Cleveland after my implants were already removed. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of seeing a Houston surgeon first for implant removal. While I cannot complain about the way I look, there was a rupture during explantation-the leaking silicone has gone no telling where in my body and my health has suffered greatly.

I only wish that I had waited and had Feng do the explantation, but she had a lengthy waiting list and my neuropathy was already cranking up. Perhaps my health would not have taken such a hit, had I just hung in there and waited.

I have sent a number of women to her from all over the country. Everyone who has written back has been extremely pleased with her and her work. My take on her, is that she is a brilliant, unassuming physician, who is very sensitive to this issue and who strives to do meticulous work. It didn't hurt to learn that she entered Yale at 16. On a television interview, I saw a reporter hassling her about the implant issue, health problems, implant removal and all. As you may know, there is great controversy on this subject. She very modestly said, "I know what I see."

If she could do anything else to help me, I would be there for surgery tomorrow...

I am in Texas, where the implants/removal/related health issues were on the front page of newspapers back in the early 90's. I was treated at Baylor Neurology, in Houston, where I saw MANY of these women in the halls and waiting areas... Physicians who attempted to help, suddenly were not available, as the push to return implants to the market began to fire up. Our lab values were confusing as they are not typical textbook cases of any one autoimmune disease. Even now, it is difficult to get some doctors to take our complaints seriously.

I can appreciate your desire to keep your look, but if there is any chance at all you might regain your health, or at least improve it, you may want to weigh the importance of this. I can tell you this, autoimmune disease is NOT fun...


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