ASIA syndrome: Why are many women removing their breast implants?
The community now has a better understanding of ASIA syndrome and the risks associated with plastic surgery and breast implants.
Andrea Gutiérrez Gutiérrez
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On November 29, 2019, influencer Rosy McMichael uploaded an hour-and-a-half video with no music or ads, just her talking to the camera about why she removed her breast implants less than 9 months after the augmentation surgery. With 4.4 million views to date, the video has become an important reference for the Hispanic and Latin American internet community in understanding the risks of plastic surgery, breast implants, and ASIA syndrome—a rare immune response to foreign substances—which is the reason why Rosy and other women around the world are falling ill after having breast implants.
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According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, with 1,685,471 procedures performed worldwide in 2021, breast augmentation is the second most popular cosmetic surgery procedure. This is significant considering that Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvant (ASIA syndrome) occurs when the immune system attacks the body's tissues after exposure to certain substances, such as silicone implants.
A study published in the journal Annals of Plastic Surgery estimates the incidence of ASIA syndrome in patients with breast implants to be between 1 and 2 per 100,000. However, its symptoms, including chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, and brain fog, can also be associated with other autoimmune diseases, often leading to misdiagnosis. This makes it more dangerous, as delaying proper treatment allows the condition to progress.
While there is no known cure for ASIA syndrome, available treatments can help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with this diagnosis. Although treatment often involves a multidisciplinary approach, which may include medication, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, some cases require the removal of the triggering agent. It is said that the removal of the implants may not necessarily improve the symptoms and may even cause further complications. An International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery survey shows that in 2021, there were 253,594 breast implant removal surgeries worldwide.
So, what can you do to minimize the risks associated with breast augmentation? First, choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon is essential. Make sure to do your research and ask for references. Additionally, having realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery is important; it may be helpful to have a psychologist by your side as these procedures will alter your appearance.
Another important factor to consider is your overall health. If you have underlying health issues, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may be at a higher risk during and after surgery. Discuss your medical history with your surgeon before undergoing any procedures.
Lastly, it's essential to listen to your body. Rosy McMichael recalls being called dramatic by some doctors, but she persisted until she found an answer to her illness. If you experience any unusual symptoms afterward, such as fever, severe pain, or any of the symptoms mentioned for ASIA syndrome, don't hesitate to contact your surgeon. Early intervention can prevent complications from becoming more serious.
At the moment, there is no way to know if you will experience ASIA syndrome after getting breast implants, and there are other risks associated with plastic surgery, including infection, bleeding, and scarring. If you decide to have a surgical procedure, make sure to choose a qualified surgeon, have realistic expectations, and be aware of your overall health to help minimize the risks. Most importantly, always listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms.