Major pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson might be on the defensive, again. This time, it’s because of complaints that it has produced defective silicone gel breast implants. Lawsuits are starting to pile up because of claims that subsidiary Mentor Worldwide did not properly test silicone-based breast implants. Plaintiffs say that Mentor breast implants’ complications are causing several health issues.
You might recall that silicone gel breast implants had been banned in 1992, but they returned to the market in 2006. However, Mentor, Allergan and Sientra Inc. are the only companies that are currently authorized by the FDA to sell them. And, they’re a big hit — so much so that silicone made up 80 percent of the $635 million spent on breast implants last year. Still, patients are experiencing a range of breast implant illness — pain, nausea, skin rashes and extreme fatigue, and there is allegedly a risk of life-altering complications that stem from breast implant leakage.
The known silicone gel breast implant complications include:
Studies show that three out of four breast reconstruction patients (following mastectomy) and almost half of women who have first-time augmentation experience at least one of these problems with breast implants. In fact, of the reconstruction patients studied, nearly half had at least one re-operation within three years of their silicone gel breast implants.
What is silicone migration? Sometimes, even at normal body temperature, silicone gel can break down and become liquid. When that happens, there is a higher risk of breast implant leakage, which could allow the substance to migrate into a woman’s lymph nodes or other organs. If silicone enters the lungs, for example, it can cause serious problems that could include coughing up silicone. Often, women are not aware that their silicone gel breast implants are leaking, and the only way to see for sure is by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Unfortunately, breast implant complications are not limited to post-surgical side-effects or “direct” problems to the breast region. Research is starting to show that breast implant illness can include autoimmune, connective tissue and other systemic diseases. While breast implant leakage or other issues with silicone gel breast implants have not been specifically linked to incidences of cancer, it has been shown that one of the problems with breast implants is that it can make it harder to detect breast cancer, which then delays a diagnosis.
Studies indicate that several women who had experienced breast implant leakage were more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, polymyositis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or pulmonary fibrosis. However, the good news is that for 97% of these women, these conditions improved after having the silicone gel breast implants removed.
You should consider hiring a breast implant lawyer if you’ve experienced any kind of breast implant illness, whether severe or mild. If you’re suffering from symptoms associated with breast implant leakage, it’s important to call your medical provider right away. The McIntyre Law team is experienced in breast lawsuit litigation and can help you receive compensation for your medical expenses and other harm. To speak with a breast implant lawyer, contact us today for a free consultation.