Florence Mussat, M.D.
680 N Lake Shore Dr. #1030 Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 751-9000

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Month: October 2018

Understanding Breast Implant Illness

Going to the doctor with a variety of debilitating, mysterious symptoms is difficult enough; being told those symptoms have no cause can be crushing, embarrassing, and hurtful. Unfortunately, this is the experience thousands of women suffering from breast implant illness are forced to endure. At this time, breast implant illness is not recognized by the scientific community. Still, Dr. Florence Mussat has personally treated numerous women who claim their symptoms were relieved after they underwent  en bloc breast implant removal. In her view, it’s essential that medical practitioners retain an open mind and persist in trying to understand the causes of breast implant illness.

What is Breast Implant Illness?

“Breast implant illness” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of symptoms believed to be related to silicone breast implants. Breast implant illness is different than having a ruptured implant. Ruptured silicone implants leak silicone gel into the body and usually cause the rapid onset of localized irritation (requiring immediate explant surgery). On the other hand, women with Breast implant illness complain their symptoms developed gradually after having undergone breast augmentation with implants. Patients with breast implant illness report experiencing fatigue, brain fog, chronic pain (either around the breasts or throughout the body), skin rashes, an irregular heart rate, anxiety, hair loss, and endocrine dysfunction, among other symptoms.

What Causes Breast Implant Illness?

The confusion over breast implant illness stems from the fact that silicone is thought to be a biocompatible material. Silicone is inert, meaning that it shouldn’t—in theory—react with human tissue or leach chemicals into the body. For this reason, silicone is used in a wide range of implantable medical devices, as well as being the material of choice for cosmetic implants.

This does not, of course, mean that silicone is guaranteed to be without risk. For many years, experts believed that the plastics used in baby bottles were safe; today, however, we know that the BPA they contained can cause a wide range of health problems. And silicone, while it appears to be inert, is not a completely natural substance. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not derived from sand alone; it’s actually a composite material that contains a number of synthetic additives. It’s, therefore, possible that silicone contains a compound we simply don’t yet realize can be harmful.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different. Substances that don’t cause any adverse reaction in one individual can provoke a dramatic immune response in another; this is why allergies exist. It’s possible that some patients’ bodies identify silicone implants as “invaders,” and this sets off a cascade of troubling symptoms. Emerging evidence has already linked silicone breast implants to a slightly elevated risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a type of cancer that begins in the immune system, lending credence to the idea that silicone implants can disrupt normal immune function. According to a large-scale study of 99,993 breast augmentation patients, silicone breast implants may be linked to an increase in the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases (Sjogren syndrome, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis) and cancers (melanoma). This study, which was conducted by the Department of Plastic Surgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, also found that having breast implants can lead to reproductive challenges, notably stillbirth.

Bacteria may also play a role in the development of breast implant illness. Research has shown that most cases of breast implant illness occur in patients who have had textured (rather than smooth) silicone implants inserted. It is thought that the textured surface of these implants gives bacteria a better “foothold,” allowing it to proliferate. The patient’s immune system must then constantly fight back against this low-grade infection, giving rise to ongoing flu-like symptoms.

Regardless of what causes breast implant illness, it’s obvious that this condition is a genuine phenomenon. Many women complaining of breast implant illness who have undergone explant surgery report that their symptoms resolved shortly afterward. Clearly, more research needs to be done: Only when we understand this puzzling condition can we make breast augmentation safe for everybody.

Mommy Makeover: Should You Consider Treatment?

Motherhood is a beautiful and life-changing experience for a woman, but it is also body-altering. Mothers everywhere are turning to the mommy makeover to help them achieve the bodies they desire, the bodies they had before pregnancy and nursing. Read our infographic below to find out if you should consider treatment.

If you’re interested in a mommy makeover, contact us today.

Achieve Natural Looking Enhancement with Fat Transfer

All plastic surgery patients have one thing in common, regardless of which procedure they’re having: They want to achieve attractive, natural-looking results; they want to work with their innate beauty and not against it.

Fat transfer, an innovative surgical technique that’s behind some of today’s most popular procedures, accomplishes this objective safely and effectively. During fat transfer (also known as fat grafting), fat is harvested from one area of the body and processed in a centrifuge before being injected into another part of the body. This allows for the natural augmentation of the breasts and buttocks; it also provides a lasting solution for facial wrinkles and hollows if the face.

What are the Advantages of Having a Fat Transfer Procedure?

1. You’ll enjoy permanent results.

Unlike dermal fillers, fat will not dissolve over time. Once the harvested fat is injected into areas of the face where wrinkles and facial hollows have developed, the grafted cells establish a blood supply and remain in place permanently. A fat transfer after a facelift is an excellent way to treat all of the signs of facial aging without having to worry about the need for top-up injections.

2. Fat transfer is not associated with long-term health risks.

Though all invasive surgeries come with a slight risk of postoperative complications; however, unlike synthetic implants and fillers, injected fat cannot cause an allergic or autoimmune reaction. Likewise, patients who opt for fat transfer augmentation (of their breasts or buttocks) never have to worry about dealing with a ruptured implant or developing breast implant illness.

3. Fat transfer results not only look natural, they feel completely natural, too.

Though modern silicone gel implants do a good job of emulating human tissue, there’s no substitute for the real thing. Breasts and buttocks that are augmented with fat are soft and naturally rounded. Facial fat transfers will not create the “over-filled” look sometimes associated with the overzealous application of dermal fillers. No one will be able to tell you’ve had a fat transfer unless you discuss your surgical history with them.

4. You’ll be able to get rid of unwanted fat while you improve your contours.

Many patients who have fat transfer breast or buttock augmentation choose to use fat harvested from their belly or thighs. Removing fat from these areas makes them leaner and allows patients to develop visible muscle tone with exercise, as their abs or thigh muscles will no longer be hidden by stubborn subcutaneous fat deposits.

The only caveat of a fat transfer procedure is that you’ll need some fat to harvest. Extremely slim patients cannot always have fat grafting performed because they lack adequate fat stores. To find out whether you’re a good candidate for fat transfer, contact Dr. Florence Mussat to arrange a personal consultation. She is happy to explain the process of fat grafting to you in more depth.

Are Your Kids Back to School? Finally Book Your Mommy Makeover

After a busy summer spent running around after your kids, you’re probably ready to treat yourself to something special. For some moms, this means an afternoon at the spa or a romantic weekend getaway; for others, fall is the perfect time to finally schedule the cosmetic procedure they’ve been dreaming of. If a mommy makeover has been on your personal wish list for a while, we recommend booking your consultation in September, for a number of reasons:

Why Fall is a Great Time to Have a Mommy Makeover

1. You won’t miss out on spending quality time with your kids.

No mom wants to be bedridden during the summer holidays, when she might otherwise be taking her kids to the beach, the park, museums, etc. For this reason, most moms feel more comfortable having plastic surgery in the fall, when they know their kids will be occupied with homework and extracurricular activities.

2. Arranging help with childcare will be easier.

Most mommy makeovers involve more than one procedure. Usually, moms have combined breast lift-augmentation surgery and a tummy tuck. These procedures produce dramatic alterations in body shape, and tummy tuck surgery can correct potentially dangerous medical issues (like torn abdominal muscles, which increase a woman’s risk of developing hernias), but they’re undeniably invasive. This means that most women need to stay in bed and rest for at least two weeks after their mommy makeover.

During the school year, you can probably arrange to have your partner or a relative help you with childcare duties in the evenings while you rest. Securing all-day childcare services during the summer, on the other hand, is more challenging (and potentially costly).

3. Cool weather makes it easier to cover up while healing.

Mommy makeover procedures don’t usually create obvious scarring. (The scar from tummy tuck surgery, for example, is concealed within the bikini line, while the scar from breast augmentation can be hidden within the armpit or inframammary crease.) Scars take a while to fade and become smooth, however, sporting fresh incisions during bikini season isn’t considered ideal. Likewise, all invasive surgeries create some temporary swelling that can leave patients feeling less than sleek and beach-ready. During the cooler months, this redness and puffiness can easily be concealed by sweaters and long coats.

4. If you have surgery in the fall, your new body will be ready in time for the holidays.

Many people think that plastic surgery creates results virtually overnight, but in reality, all good things take time. Though you’ll certainly see some changes immediately after your operation, most procedures take a while to really “settle.” If you’re having breast augmentation, for example, your implants will continue to “drop and fluff” (move lower on your chest and fill out your breasts) for up to six months. Scheduling your mommy makeover soon after your kids go back to school is therefore strongly recommended; this way, by the time the winter holidays roll around, you’ll look (and feel) great.

Planning Your Mommy Makeover

Though fall offers moms a low-stress window in which to have surgery, planning a mommy makeover can still be daunting. If you’re not sure where to get started, contact female plastic surgeon, Dr. Florence Mussat, for guidance. She’ll be happy to assist you throughout your mommy makeover journey.