Over the past 5 years, the Dutch reporting and expertise centre for adverse effects of medical implants (MEBI) has received 977 reports of health problems related to breast implants. An analysis by RIVM has shown that 39% of the reported health problems started 5 or more years after the implant’s placement.

Potential reporters should be aware that health complaints, even arising at later stage, might be related to an implant placement.

Impact on daily life

The analysis also shows that 70% of those reporting a health problem admitted it had either a significant or very significant impact on their daily lives. Over a quarter mentioned a moderate or limited impact. Many (78%) choose breast implants for cosmetic reasons. A small proportion (17%) said they had chosen implants for reconstructive surgery after breast cancer and/or preventive removal due to genetic risk of breast cancer.

Nature and number of health problems per report

This new factsheet provides information about all reports that MEBI received on breast implants. The data shows that the average number of health problems per report has increased from 6 to 8. Such a number of health problems per report is relatively high when compared to those received for other implants. Fatigue is the most commonly-reported health problem. The top 5 most reported health problems in different categories have hardly changed over the years, as concluded when RIVM compared 2 periods: July 2017–December 2019 and January 2020–December 2022.

Importance of reporting to MEBI

It is important that implants are safe. You can contribute by reporting suspected side effects to MEBI as these allow MEBI to identify potential safety issues early on. This also can help other patients. You can report here on the MEBI website (in Dutch).