Breast Implant Illness

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Illness associated with breast implants?

Breast Implant Illness (BII) is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of symptoms and illnesses that may be associated with breast implants in some women. People who experience these problems may be having an autoimmune or allergic reaction to a foreign object (implants) placed in the body. Currently, there is no established medical definition or diagnostic criteria for BII. In some, but not all cases, surgery to remove the breast implants (also known as explant) improves or resolves the BII symptoms.

Most health insurers cover explant in women who have had breast reconstruction following a mastectomy and cite medical issues as a reason for implant removal. Many health insurers, however, will not cover the cost of breast implant removal for autoimmune or connective tissue diseases or other systemic complications. Since there is no medical diagnosis code for BII, plastic surgeons typically list problems the patient is experiencing like chronic pain or implant rupture to make the case that the explant surgery is medically necessary. 

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

  • Breastcancer.org is collaborating in a free program to assist women in getting health insurance coverage to remove their breast implants.
  • If your insurance company denies coverage of care related to your mastectomy or breast reconstruction, visit the Health Insurance Appeals section of our website for guidance and resources.