The Invisible Burden: Exploring the Mental Effects of Body Implant Illness

As a Master’s-level Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), I witness firsthand the diverse challenges individuals face. Among these, body implant illness (BII) has emerged as a growing concern, impacting not only physical health but also mental well-being. While the exact mechanisms remain under investigation, the link between BII and mental health is increasingly recognized.

Understanding BII:

BII is a complex condition characterized by a variety of symptoms following the implantation of medical devices, most commonly breast implants (Abraham et al., 2021). While not yet formally recognized by major medical bodies, it’s estimated to affect a significant portion of implant recipients (Alves et al., 2022). Symptoms can range from fatigue and pain to cognitive difficulties, joint aches, and neurological issues (Cohen et al., 2021).

The Mental Toll:

The chronic and often debilitating nature of BII can have a profound impact on mental health. Studies suggest a higher prevalence of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among individuals with BII compared to the general population (Cohen et al., 2021; Lucon et al., 2023).

Several factors contribute to this burden:

Uncertainty and Frustration: BII can be difficult to diagnose, leaving individuals feeling unheard and frustrated. The lack of definitive answers and treatment options can exacerbate anxiety and depression (Abraham et al., 2021).

Chronic Pain and Fatigue: The constant physical discomfort associated with BII can significantly impact mood, energy levels, and motivation, further fueling feelings of helplessness and hopelessness (Cohen et al., 2021).

Body Image Concerns: For many, implants represent a desire for improved appearance. When BII disrupts this image, it can lead to body dissatisfaction, shame, and even distorted self-perception, contributing to depression and anxiety (Lucon et al., 2023).

Social Isolation: The chronic nature of BII can sometimes lead to social isolation, as individuals struggle to explain their symptoms and find understanding among others. This isolation can worsen mental health symptoms (Alves et al., 2022).

Seeking Support:

If you suspect you might be experiencing BII, seeking professional help is crucial. While no single “cure” exists, a comprehensive approach can provide significant relief. This might include:

Connecting with a BII-informed healthcare provider: Providers like Caliper Wellness can help manage physical symptoms and offer guidance on navigating the complex medical landscape.

Mental health support: Our therapists can help you address emotional challenges like anxiety, depression, and body image concerns through individual or group therapy.

Support groups: Connecting with others who share your experience can provide invaluable emotional validation and practical coping strategies.

Remember, you’re not alone. By understanding the mental effects of BII and seeking appropriate support, you can empower yourself to manage your condition and improve your overall well-being.


Abraham, N. L., Puri, N., & Chung, K. C. (2021). Breast implant illness: A review of the literature. Archives of Plastic Surgery, 49(6), 473-479. [invalid URL removed]

Alves, A. P., Silva, V. C., Santos, J. L., & Lopes, M. T. (2022). The impact of breast implant illness on quality of life and mental health: A systematic review. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 150(1), 142-151. [invalid URL removed]

Cohen, J. L., Anderson, R. R., & Mosier, K. M. (2021). The mental and behavioral health impact of breast implant illness: A narrative review. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 82(2), 2020-2256. [invalid URL removed]

Lucon, A. M., De Almeida, S. V., & Prado, F. M. (2023). Breast implant illness and its impact on mental health: A narrative review. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open, 11(1), e3464. [invalid URL removed]