I read an article on ‘The Rheumatologist’ website called, ‘Assessing Autoimmune Disease Symptoms in Silicone Breast Implant Recipients’, dated December 15, 2016. It’s written by Charles Radis, DO
If you’re a woman with breast implants, especially if you’re ill, it will likely be of particular interest to you. It offers insight into the author’s beliefs and the biases women with implants face within the medical community.
Dr. Charles Radis makes statements such as:
- “Mass somatization, I believe, was at the root of the silicone breast implant epidemic. A perfect storm of circumstances existed: A susceptible population of women, initial reports linking silicone implants to autoimmune disease, media hype & litigation lit the fuse of disabling fear & suffering.”
- “Milly’s story was extreme, but researchers have documented a number of differences between women who are seeking breast augmentation and the general population. In nearly every measure of psychological health, from low self-esteem, to depression, to frequency of psychiatric admissions, divorce and increased alcohol and cigarette use, in general, breast augmentation women differ from women who forego the procedure.”
- Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen by proxy
- “I am not a psychiatrist, but I know when I am in the presence of significant mental illness ..”
- One woman in particular, who I followed for the better part of four years, helped me understand the mystery of why silicone breast implant sufferers were more functionally impaired than my worst rheumatoid patients. The answer, I believe, goes to the heart and mind of who the breast implant patients were before they underwent breast augmentation.
- Milly, I think, got it. She began to see a therapist again and was diagnosed with recurrent post-traumatic stress disorder. Once she understood how anger, stress and uncertainty could feed into musculoskeletal pain, she was able to keep the symptoms from overwhelming her. She decided to keep the breast implants and joined a support group for depression. I suggested that she try to swim at the local YWCA, and six months later, she proudly announced she routinely swam 30 laps every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I wish I could say that her symptoms melted away. They didn’t. Even with exercise, counseling and medications, she was in that gray world of neither altogether well, nor entirely symptom free. But she was better.
Reading the article (reduced to a few key statements here, but you can read the full article by following the link at the bottom of this blog entry) understandably elicited a strong reaction from women who had become ill from their breast implants. Many posted comments on the website, but most of the comments were not approved, including mine, so a blog post it is.
The author presents as misogynistic, arrogant, willfully blind and possibly with hands in his pockets (there’s most often a money trail when breast implants are involved).
Apparently he considers patients with breast implants presenting to him with complaints of illness as ‘head cases’ – persuaded by others that their implants are what’s making them ill, but is really to his estimation somatization. And apparently he feels his insights so important as to inform his entire medical community (some of whom echoed similar beliefs in their comments).
His article highlights the way the medical system is gravely failing women with breast implants.
Radis writes, “ .. researchers have documented a number of differences between women who are seeking breast augmentation and the general population. In nearly every measure of psychological health, from low self-esteem, to depression, to frequency of psychiatric admissions, divorce and increased alcohol and cigarette use, in general, breast augmentation women differ from women who forego the procedure.”
WHY would doctors target a population of women they believe to be exclusively deficient psychologically to profit from them! WHY would they implant HIGH RISK DEVICES into women they’ve determined are ‘different from women who forego the procedure’, and allegedly have greater tendency toward psychiatric issues and poor lifestyle choices! ‘Nuts and sluts’ as one woman stated in her comment about the article (her full response, which was excellent, is included below).
It’s truly the epitome of misogyny.
Are there women with depression, divorce, psychiatric hospital admissions, drinkers, smokers, etc., that get breast implants? Yes. Just like there are as many women experiencing them that don’t get implants. The author’s claims that women with implants lump into a group of psychologically deficient women smacks of ignorant, bigoted profiling, similar to racial, or any other form of profiling. It’s a reflection of his character, as he hides behind spouting study results.
Scientific studies report that there is a high incidence of psychopaths within doctors, but, we won’t go there.
Having mental health related issues and becoming legitimately ill are NOT mutually exclusive. To suggest women who have become ill from their implants are mentally ill is a truly horrifying theory. And to further suggest that all women who opt for breast implants are of questionable mental health and lowered moral status is outright shameful – especially as plastic surgeons are quite happy to take their money and implant them.
HOW UNFORTUNATE RADIS IS IN A TEACHING POSITION
Expressing this blanket belief, though no doubt rampant within the medical community, is truly inexcusable.
Radis offers a history of breast implants that includes the premise:
“By wrapping the silicone-filled product in an impermeable silicone envelope developed by Dow Corning, the surgeons hoped to achieve the look and feel of breast tissue without the risk of inflammatory reactions previous surgeons had experienced with direct silicone injections into the breast.”
Breast implants have gel bleed, high incidence of rupture and they ALL eventually fail, as they are time-limited devices. In the above paragraph it’s pointed out that the creation of breast implants was borne of trying to avoid the risk of inflammatory reactions experienced with direct injections into the breast. Yet, even with silicone encased in a silicone envelope women end up with silicone in direct contact with body tissue (including vital organs and distant body parts), and in their lymph system, which has the *same* result as silicone coming in direct contact through injecting it directly into the body. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but it does take well-defended, willfully-blind doctors to deny this reality.
Breast implants wreak havoc in a woman’s body.
Breast implants contain heavy metals, known endocrine disrupters, neurotoxins and carcinogens, among other toxic chemicals; and they sit within 2-3 cm of vital organs.
There is an acute inflammation triggered within the chest wall that is exclusive to silicone in breast implants. The autoimmune responses and impact on women’s health are consistent among those with implants. Women since the introduction of breast implants in the early 60’s develop the same basic set of symptoms, including autoimmune type illnesses.
THEY ARE USING THE WRONG STANDARD OF MEASURE
Doctors are measuring illness experienced by women with implants against standards of measure that are NOT appropriate in this instance. If doctors use the wrong standard of measure they will NOT come to the correct diagnosis.
Women with breast implants who do receive a diagnosis of Lupus, and other autoimmune illnesses, often actually have silicone and chemical toxicity and other issues related to breast implants, including systemic mold and bacterial infections.
THE WRONG STANDARD OF MEASURE COMBINED WITH PACK MENTALITY IS A DANGEROUS MIX. Once a patient is misdiagnosed and labelled they’re lost to a medical abyss.
Every GP and specialist I saw through the 16 years I had undiagnosed rupture missed it. I passed all of their tests with flying colours. Of course again, they didn’t do the correct tests.
Failure to properly diagnose is not exclusive to women with breast implants. Biases and misjudgements run rampant within the medical community.
Pack mentality runs deep. It’s only that ONE caring, brave doctor open to stepping outside of the status quo that will discover the truth.
ONE brave young resident that broke from the pack led to diagnosing rupture and saved my life. I was within weeks, months at best, of dying – yet all of the other doctors believed I had somatization.
An even scarier reality is that often doctors just don’t want to get involved.
THE WRONG STANDARD OF MEASURE COMBINED WITH PACK MENTALITY IS A DANGEROUS MIX, BUT THOSE ELEMENTS MIXED WITH WILFULL BLINDNESS IS A LETHAL COMBINATION. (You can read another of my blog posts on my experience with being the victim of doctors’ willful blindness.)
COMBINE ALL OF THOSE WITH HANDS-IN-POCKETS .. A MONEY TRAIL THAT RUNS DEEP .. AND GOD HELP WOMEN THAT HAVE PUT THEIR FAITH IN THEIR DOCTORS AND REGULATORY BODIES, AND BELIEVED THAT BREAST IMPLANTS WERE ‘SAFE’
GOD BLESS THOSE RARE INDIVIDUALS WHO BREAK FROM THE PACK
A comment in response to the article by a now retired Rheumatologist:
- Frank Vasey says
I am one of the 40 or so rheumatologists who became satisfied on the basis of their personal experience implants cause systemic disease still undefined. This was based on improvement in most patients post removal. Obviously not convincing to people who didn’t see those patients in large numbers. I saw 2-3 K over 30 years in Florida. I helped in the best outcome study of 100 pts followed over 2 yrs. It was not randomized or blinded, but the 1/2 pts who removed them improved on an appropriate Likert scale. The others worsened. Rejected by 3 rheum and one plastic J. Available at NYJSM on google silicone syndrome.
Bless Dr Vasey for speaking the truth. There are others that have also, though few and far between.
Some of the comments NOT approved on The Rheumatologist website in response to the article:
Nicole Daruda (of Breast Implant Illness and Healing By Nicole)
“Instead of shedding light that the chemical and heavy metal ingredients in silicone implants are toxic to our cells and body processes such as immune and endocrine (which science has already documented over and over) you would rather claim that millions and millions of women worldwide are experiencing a type of group Munchausens Syndrome?! Lol. I’m starting to think you have Stockholm Syndrome! Who is paying you to write this belittling garbage, could it be Johnson & Johnson the manufacturer of breast implants?? Let me spell it out for you. We know that silicone is a strong adjuvant and is used in vaccines for it’s ability to modify the immune response by boosting it and giving a higher amount of antibodies and also to modifying the immune response to particular types of immune system cells. Imagine the small amount of silicone used in a vaccine to provoke this response. Now compare that to two large, leaking bags of the same substance in your chest spreading silicone throughout your body on a daily basis. Of course there is going to be a reaction in the body! Of course there is going to be autoimmune symptoms and diseases! Further, we know that the chemicals in silicone are endocrine disruptors and negatively affect our endocrine glands and interrupt the hormones which fundamentally control the processes in our body. We know that silicone has close to 40 toxic chemicals and toxic heavy metals and that implants bleed, leak and rupture much sooner than anticipated and that these chemicals and heavy metals negatively affect our organs and glands causing toxicity, inflammation all sorts of symptoms and profound illness in us. It does not take a doctor’s degree to understand that two large bags of toxic chemicals that are known adjuvants leaking into the body are going to cause profound illness. Instead of admitting what is common sense you would rather insult millions of women worldwide with your “nuts and or sluts” theory. Doctors on implant manufacturers payrolls tried this same approach during the Dow trials, they tried to discredit this illness by labelling women this same way. We are on to you. We are not going away. We are gathering and we are educating. This article is a new low even for mainstream medical.”
Jan Spivey December 30, 2016 at 6:05 am Your comment is awaiting moderation. A few of my concerns Dr Radis: – D4 CAS 556-67-2 octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane is a repro-toxic endocrine disruptor chemical. Details of the effects of this chemical toxin were kept hidden by Dow Corning and exposed by lawyers in the Maria Stern case. – Other chemical toxins and carcinogens found in breast implants – Unknown raw materials and experimental manufacturing processes and labelling exemptions used by breast implant makers, protected by trade secrets legislation. – Increasing evidence of (i) biofilm contamination associated with implants, (ii) ASIA associated with implants (iii) cases and fatalities in patients from breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (iv) patient & health professional adverse event reporting to FDA medical devices monitoring (v) quality of biocompatibility data on breast implants available to the FDA from manufacturers (vi) effect of Sunshine Act on research in this field Your article reads like tv-script without a likeable protagonist, in my opinion, Dr Radis. I am a cancer patient. I have a degree in Fine Art. I underwent major reconstructive surgery following breast cancer and mastectomy at 40yrs, received banned PIP implants, became extremely sick within 18months of implantation, had capsular contracture, waited almost 10years for a health professional to link all my problems to my implants. Co-founded a social network group for women with PIP implants. Listened to women with PIP implants. Conducted a health survey of women with PIP Implants. Believe women with implants. My mum is a well-balanced 77yr old – and thankfully in good health. It is a credit to all the other doctors who have commented here and international medical research that your views are not widely held by health professionals in 2016. Jan Spivey Co-Founder PIP Action Campaign
- Jamee Cook says
This was mine but wasn’t approved:
Breast implant “safety and effectiveness have not been established in patients with the following: • Autoimmune diseases (e.g., lupus and scleroderma)”. This is directly written in the product insert sheets. It should be a given that women are tested prior to implantation, but that is usually not the case. Breast implants have not been proven safe. The FDA “believes that approved breast implants have a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness when used as labeled”, not that they are 100% safe. They were put back on the market with the understanding that long term studies need to be completed. Many times women were discarded in studies when they had symptoms but no “defined” disease. According to Allergan on page 20 of their product insert sheet for NATRELLE® 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone-Filled Breast Implants, “The study size needed to conclusively rule out a small risk of connective tissue disease among women with silicone gel-filled implants would need to be very large. The published studies taken together show that breast implants are not significantly associated with a risk of developing a typical or defined connective tissue disease.” It does not say that there is NO association. It says that the study size needs to be larger. According to the Mentor MemoryShape Product Insert Data Sheet on page 19, “The study size needed to conclusively rule out a smaller risk of connective tissue disease among women with silicone gel breast implants would need to be very large. The published studies taken together show that breast implants are not significantly associated with a risk of developing a typical or defined connective tissue disease.” Once again, they don’t rule it out, they only say that the small studies done don’t show a significant correlation. Even more trivial is the fact that many of these studies on these particular issues have been terminated – probably due to the fact that they have unrealistic numeric expectations to complete the study. Therefore, safety is not proven or disproven when addressing things like connective tissue disorders, neurological disease, brain cancer, cervical cancer, and lymphoma. Furthermore, the Allergan and Mentor labeling pamphlets actually list some of the symptoms that many women describe. “Literature reports have also been made associating silicone breast implants with various rheumatological signs and symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion, joint pain and swelling, muscle pain and cramping, tingling, numbness, weakness, and skin rashes.” (same pages on both pamphlets). So even when a defined illness is not correlated, the patient can experience symptoms that correlate with autoimmune or connective tissue disorders. Then add on the fact that there is a direct correlation with Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. It is a recognized diagnosis by the WHO, the FDA, the ASPS, the ASAPS, the UKAAPS, etc. Surgeons cannot deny the fact that implants can cause cancer. This disease is undertested and underreported. Surgeons need to stop telling their patients that these devices are 100% safe. Safety and efficacy has not been proven. France is questioning safety and threatening a ban. Women in the UK are asking for proof of safety. The TGA in Australia is being hit hard for proof of safety and efficacy. Women in the US are stepping forward and comparing stories. Canada is being hit for proof. A recent study comparing women in the Netherlands in 2014 who were sick from their breast implants to women at the Baylor College of Medicine 30 years ago showed that the symptoms were exactly the same. Despite innovation in breast implant manufacturing, the symptoms are still similar and still relevant. Explantation was the 10th most ranked cosmetic surgical procedure in the US in 2015 according to the ASAPS. We believe that 2016 will prove to be even more significant. It will eventually lead to a question as to why women are wanting their implants out. They are sick, frustrated, and tired of being ignored! We will not be ignored any longer. We are speaking out and we are making our voices heard.
- Terri says
I thank God that you are not my doctor, Mr. Radis. I’m horrified at the thought of you teaching future medical professionals.
o Alyssa says
Thank you Dr Vasey for your contribution to our community. I was diagnosed with a series of autoimmune diseases and a heart condition (severe pulmonary hypertension) following the introduction of breast implants for reconstructive surgery at the age of 17. I was ill within months for a total of 9 years until both the implants and scar capsules were removed. I have recovered fully and have enjoyed my prior excellent health for the past 6 years largely thanks to doctors such as yourself and the women who have recovered before me.
You can read the full article here:
Assessing Autoimmune Disease Symptoms in Silicone Breast Implant Recipients December 15, 2016 • By Charles Radis, DO