New Arizona Law Requires Plastic Surgeons to Warn Patients About the Risks of Breast Implants

A first-of-its kind bill has been passed in Arizona that requires plastic surgeons to present documentation to prospective breast augmentation patients that clearly warns them about the dangers associated with the procedure. Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita led the push for this new law after discovering how many women had suffered from breast implant illness.

The vast majority of the tens of thousands of women who suffered serious side effects after obtaining breast augmentation surgeries were not warned about the potential risks by their doctors. Considering other health trends come with a warning, it’s not surprising that this incredibly popular surgery now does too.

An Unspoken Epidemic

Migraines, insomnia, difficulty breathing, and trouble swallowing are some of the symptoms that thousands of women have reported following breast implant surgeries. But despite the large number of women experiencing such symptoms, the issue is not widely acknowledged in the medical community. Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, is one of the few people speaking up about the problem. She says that it’s tragic that for so many years, women got sicker and sicker and despite consulting doctors and undergoing a barrage of tests, no resolution was found. Zuckerman has been pushing the FDA to acknowledge that breast implant illness exists, and advocating for more research around its causes, as well as transparency regarding the risks of breast implants.

Last year, the FDA took a step in the right direction when it issued a black box warning for breast implants that lists some of the risks associated with them. However, this warning is often not relayed to patients by their surgeons, and prior to the new Arizona bill, there was no law requiring them to. As of January 1, plastic surgeons in Arizona must outline all the risks of breast implants, including breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and explain to patients how they can report adverse events to the FDA MedWatch Program. Patients must then sign an informed consent form before they can undergo the surgery.

Phoenix and Scottsdale: Plastic Surgery Hubs

According to Total Beauty, Phoenix is a cosmetic surgery hub, while Scottsdale comes in number 2. Patients from around the world choose these hot spots to have cosmetic procedures done and often make a vacation of it. In fact, in a ranking of cities across the US with the most plastic surgeries, Scottsdale came out at number 4, behind only Miami, San Francisco, and Beverly Hills. For many rich and famous patients, the abundance of highly skilled surgeons and the availability of specialty procedures is what draws them to Scottsdale and Phoenix.

Breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures worldwide, with 300,000 women across America undergoing them each year. Most women do not experience serious complications after their implants. However, the side effects are common enough that thousands of women have connected online over their shared experiences. It is not clear whether the new Arizona law will have an effect on the number of women choosing to undergo the procedure, or whether it will push surgeons to investigate safer forms of breast augmentation.

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