Breast Implant Illness…A Modern Disease by Dr. Monica Sarrat

     The most common cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States is breast augmentation with either silicone or saline implants.  According to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons, an estimated 1.7 million breast implant surgeries were performed in the U.S. between 2011 and 2016 for both reconstructive and cosmetic reasons. This is becoming an issue that is impacting a significant number of largely uninformed and unsuspecting women.  What these women aren’t told or don’t realize, is that it is not a question of IF their implants will make them sick, but WHEN their implants will make them sick.  Many were told that their implants were safe and would last a lifetime, which is certainly not the case, as the typical “shelf life” of implants is 8-10 years at most, at which point they begin to lose their integrity inside the chest wall, become incompetent, and begin to leak harmful substances into the body (Kolb, S., 2010).
    Silicone breast implants were first introduced into the market in the early 1960s and most believed silicone to be a biologically inert substance.  However, over the course a few decades of trial and error, and many, many lawsuits filed against the companies producing the silicone implants, they were removed from the market in the 1990’s due to the health problems they were causing in thousands of women from systemic silicone toxicity.   Saline implants were then believed to be the safer version, until they stared seeing some of the same issues in these women as well.  The saline implants still had the silicone shell but were thought that if they leaked, it would only be inert saline released into the body.  What was being seen upon removal of the saline implants, was severe bacterial, mold or fungal growth inside the implants that were slowly leaking into the body and causing systemic problems.  Then in 2006, the FDA decided to allow the “new and improved” silicone gel implants back into the marketplace where they have been destined to repeat the same horrific history or their predecessors (Kolb, 2010).
    Breast implant illness is a modern disorder that affects the body caused by silicone or saline breast implants.  Symptoms of breast implant illness vary from body to body depending on the type of breast implants and the progression of the illness, however, it appears that a few symptoms show up a little earlier and more consistently such as fatigue/low energy, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog, memory loss), headaches, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, recurring infections, swollen lymph nodes and swollen glands, rashes, IBS, problems with thyroid and adrenals.  Because breast implants can affect most body systems, symptoms are widespread and can be related to toxicity, biotoxicity, immune dysfunction/failure, auto-immune diseases, neurological symptoms, endocrine symptoms and metabolic symptoms.  Any time you introduce a foreign material into your body, there is potential for problems to develop. Breast implants are no different, and issues can arise from both silicone and saline implants due to both the materials used and the potential for bacteria and fungus to proliferate and produce biotoxins.  In addition, implants which are made of silicone are a blend of dangerous toxins and heavy metals that when implanted in the body begin breaking down and circulating particulates of not only silicone but also neurotoxic, cytotoxic, carcinogenic chemicals and toxic heavy metals that circulate throughout the body’s tissues and organs.  Simply put silicone is a biologically active and toxic substance that causes biotoxins and systemically poisons and impairs many functions of the body.  It makes no difference whether implants are cohesive gel, saline with a silicone shell or silicone.  In fact, the cohesive gel implants seem to be the worst implants because they contain more aggressive chemicals used in making the silicone cohesive.  Saline were once deemed the safe implant, however due to valve ports and faulty valves they become colonized with mold and fungus which produces harmful biotoxins.  No matter the implant type, all breast implants impair the immune system and the silicone shell deteriorates releasing toxins and allowing colonization and the filling whether cohesive gel, saline or gel silicone permeates the shell contaminating our body.  According to several studies, most implants deteriorate and or rupture within six to eight years but sooner in many cases (Kolb, 2010).  This can happen from traumas like car accidents or even the recommended mammogram procedure.  And many women begin to feel the effects of this shortly after the rupture has occurred.  
    So what can be done once the silicone gel or saline has leaked out of the implant either as a result of the lipolysis reaction, which is the body’s attempt to break down the implant which weakens the shell and allows the contents to slowly leak out, or by an actual rupture of the implant?   First and foremost is to have the explant surgery performed by a surgeon who has completed a significant amount of difficult explant surgeries and who also acknowledges the relationship between implants and the illness these women are experiencing.  Many surgeons have found it important to treat with both antibiotics as well as antifungals pre and post surgery to help treat the underlying infections.  Finding a practitioner educated in breast implant illness will help to heal the body after the explant surgery by using detoxification methods, immune/gut boosting protocols.   This can be done using a combination of nutritional supplements, acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, IV therapies, homeopathy, and dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Author’s Biography
Monica Sarrat is a Doctor of Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (DACM) and has been practicing at Access Acupuncture, Inc. in Temecula, CA since 2004.  She specializes in Women’s Health and Reproductive Medicine.  Her passion lies in empowering women to learn to heal their bodies naturally and achieve well being in their lives.  


American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Kolb, S. (2010). The Naked Truth About Breast Implants.  Savage, Lone Oak Publishing.

Why see a specialist?

Have you ever wondered why there are specialists in different fields of medicine?

Why can't General Practitioners do everything themselves?

These are questions that we feel are relevant and that more people should ask of all their healthcare providers. Why do we have Dermatologists, Oncologists, Optometrists, Dentists, Hematologists, etc.

The answer is simple. 

Because the body is incredibly complex with so many different systems that no one can become an expert in everything. 

Those who try are often a "Jack of all Trades, Master of None." 

That is why we at Access Acupuncture have chosen to specialize in areas that we find fascinating and helpful to the majority of our patients. 

A.J. has spent years of postgraduate training in Pain Management, Physical Medicine, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. 

Monica has spent years of postgraduate training in Women's Health and Fertility. 

If you know of anyone in need, feel free to forward them a copy of this email and let them know that we are here to help. 

Drs. A.J. & Monica Sarrat

Joint Pain

Almost all of us at one time or another suffer from some type of overuse syndrome which leads to joint pain, so today we will focus on tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis which is a common complaint in any acupuncture clinic.  There are several types of acupuncture treatments for a diagnosis of tennis elbow and one of them is very interesting.  It is a treatment where no needles are used in or around the elbow.  Instead the needles are placed around the knee!!  What’s even more amazing is that most times there is immediate relief.

There was a study published in the British Journal of Rheumatology, Dec, 1994 in which a placebo controlled, single blind trial was completed by 48 patients.  After being examined, half of the patients were given “placebo” acupuncture in which needles never punctured the skin, and the other half were given needles in and around the knee joint, nowhere near the elbow pain.

Of the 24 patients who received “real” acupuncture in the knee, 19 patients or over 79% reported immediate pain relief of at least 50% where only 6 of the 24 patients receiving placebo acupuncture reported pain relief.  The average duration of pain relief was 20.2 hours for the real acupuncture as opposed to 1.4 hours for the placebo group.This is a very significant finding showing that there is an intrinsic pain relieving effect in the clinical treatment of tennis elbow pain with acupuncture, which exceeds that of a placebo.

Compensation and Pain

What happens to the tires on your car when your wheels are out of alignment?  They become worn unevenly and much too quickly.  The same thing happens to our joints when our skeleton is out of alignment.  Your major joints like the ankles, knees, hips, spine and shoulders are forced to work in a position they aren’t meant to.  They become worn unevenly which produces pain.

Pain is the body’s warning light that something is wrong.  If you ignore these warning lights for too long, serious damage can occur.  The next question is why are we out of alignment?  The answer is because our postural muscles (those responsible for holding our bodies correctly) have become too weak because of our sedentary lifestyles.  Any muscle that is not used in 24-72 hours will start to atrophy or weaken.  The best and longest lasting solution to this common problem is to use our postural muscles daily to strengthen them so they can do their jobs correctly.  If these muscles are not used regularly (and properly), other muscles will have to be recruited to do something they were not designed for.  This is called compensation.

Compensation causes our bodies to shift even more out of alignment and worsens the problem.  In my clinical experience treating thousands of patients, compensation is a MAJOR cause of pain and other bodily dysfunction.  We can easily understand how compensation can cause physical pain in muscles and joints, but improper posture also causes crowding of the organs.  When there is organ crowding, there is insufficient blood flow which leads to decreased organ function.

Our bodies are designed to be symmetrical so one side looks like a mirror image of the other.  We are also designed to have our major load bearing joints in a straight line from the ankle through the knee, hip, shoulder and ear so we can use our bones to fight gravity instead of incorporating the wrong muscles to pull us back into position. One of the best ways to take control of our postural misalignments is through the use of specific corrective exercises.  The exercises should not be chosen by symptoms alone, but by objective measurements of your body.  Only then can the root cause of your dysfunction be addressed.

Most times even if you ignore the chief complaint or symptom and use the patient’s skeleton as your guide, when their alignment changes for the better the symptoms decrease significantly or go away altogether.  Through the use of corrective exercises, the patient becomes empowered and starts to take control of their health.  Any therapy such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, etc. will be much more effective on a frame that is structurally sound.  A dysfunctional body is likely to keep breaking down until it is either fixed or beyond repair.

Effects of Posture on Physiology

American Journal of Pain Management

Postural and Respiratory Modulation of Autonomic Function, Pain, and Health
John Lennon, BM, MM, C. Norman Sheeley, MD, Roger K. Cady, MD
William Matta, PhD, Richard Cox, PhD and William F. Simpson, PhD

AJPM 1994: 4:36-39 (American Journal of Pain Management)

Despite considerable evidence that posture affects physiology and function, the significant influence of posture on health is not addressed by most physicians. In fact, neither comprehensive postural nor structural evaluation is a routine part of training in physical diagnosis, and most osteopathic physicians do not describe postural/spinal mechanics in their usual patient evaluations.

Observation of the striking influence of postural mechanics on function and symptomatology have led to our hypothesis that posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to normal hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.  The most significant influences of posture are upon respiration, oxygenation, and sympathetic function. Ultimately, it appears that homeostasis and autonomic regulation are intimately connected with posture.  The corollary that these observations that many symptoms, including pain, may be moderated or eliminated by improved posture.