Constant dollars

If you are considering having breast implants, be aware of the risks

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I chose to have breast implants fitted at the age of thirty-five after discovering that I had breast cancer. Breast implants are a popular mastectomy reconstruction option. I felt I was too young not to have breasts, so I made up my mind quickly. I was so focused on removing every cancer cell from my body that I did little to research breast implants.

Three years later, I had my breast implants removed. The constant pain in the shoulders and ribs, along with twenty-nine symptoms of breast implant disease, convinced me that fake breasts are not worth sick and in agony all day, every day. . It wasn’t until I got sick with no response from the doctors and no lab tests that I figured out what the cause was. Since removing my implant, most of my symptoms have disappeared. Now you might be thinking I’m just one person and you’ve heard in the media that breast implants are safe for the majority of women. Before you get breast implants, I implore you to do your research.

To help you out, I spoke with Dr. Manish Shah, a board certified plastic surgeon in Denver, Colorado to get the details on breast implants.

I started by asking him who absolutely should do not to get breast implants? He explained that there are patients who are not “ideal candidates” for implants. If you smoke, you are at risk for “healing problems” and “complications during anesthesia”. There are also patients with “unrealistic height goals”, patients with “uncontrolled diabetes” and patients with “significant autoimmune disease or immunosuppression” who present additional risks. Dr Shah says he will turn down anyone who he believes is not a healthy candidate.

Even if you are not one of the at-risk patients, you should know that getting breast implants comes with many risks. Dr Shah says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers a comprehensive list to ensure patients receive informed consent. However, he has a “frank discussion” with his patients about the risks. He shares that the risks include the following: “bleeding, infection, scarring, problems with wound healing, numbness, change in sensation or function of the nipple areolar complex, difficulty breastfeeding, difficulty with mammography, need for MRI,” need for future surgery, dissatisfaction with cosmetic result, need for revision surgery, implant complications (corrugation, infection, capsular contracture, malposition, extrusion, loss of implant, reactions to drugs or anesthesia, heart / lung / brain complications and / or death. to add to one’s list that breast implants can rupture. In the case of silicone implants, silicone can then seep into the body.

Still dizzy? Well, there is more.

Recently, the Tribeca Film Festival released a docu-film called “Explant” in which Michelle Visage, whom you may know from Rupaul’s Drag Race, shares her journey of removing her implants to help restore her health. In the documentary, Michelle talks to a group of women who share that they have breast implant disease. However, when they spoke to their doctors, they were told it was all in their head, that they were “crazy”.

I asked Dr Shah if a woman has implants and she thinks she has BII – which is a constellation of symptoms related to breast implants – what should she do? Dr Shah says the patient should document their symptoms and seek care from their attending physician, asking them for lab work, including “inflammatory markers, complete blood count, allergy markers, markers of heart disease. connective tissue ”and more. If she thinks her breast implants are making her sick, she can contact a plastic surgeon to discuss the removal.

However, I have learned that BII is not an official medical diagnosis, which makes this journey difficult for both doctor and patient. A doctor cannot diagnose a patient with something that does not officially exist. But despite the lack of a diagnostic code for BII, Dr Shah says, “I think BII is a real phenomenon. He adds: “Breast implants are foreign bodies. As such, the body will have some type of reaction to them. He said the “vast majority” of his patients don’t have problems – however, that doesn’t mean that “some patients don’t suffer from their implants and just do better by removing them.” He is ready to remove the implants at the request of a patient.

What I have learned from reading the stories of thousands of women is that their surgeons have told them that breast implants are “perfectly safe,” and they have trusted their doctors to tell them the truth. However, when they seek to have their implants removed, their surgeons claim that patients must be sick with something else, that it cannot be the implants.

Before you even think about venturing to a plastic surgeon for breast implants, you need to ask yourself some important questions, asked by Dr. Shah. We need to question our current or at-risk autoimmune status. Breast implants aren’t forever devices – they have to be removed or replaced at some point – so are you okay with having future breast surgeries? Mammograms can be difficult to do and interpret when the patient has implants – do you accept this risk? Plus, it may require you to pay out of pocket for MRIs (which cost thousands of dollars per scan).

You may lose or have excessive nipple sensation after you have implants; Dr. Shah suggests carefully considering whether you are okay with the changes in sexual pleasure after the implants. If you currently have neck or shoulder pain, it may increase after the implants are placed due to the extra weight. The surgery and subsequent recovery require you to take time off work, sometimes longer depending on your job. You really can’t cheat on it, otherwise the implants may get out of place or you risk infection. For anyone who lifts weights, whether for recreation or for their job, you need to consider the impact implants have on this.

You see, getting breast implants is not as easy as you might think. While I certainly understand that everyone wants their breasts to look a certain way, as I did when I found out I had cancer, I have found that the risks associated with the implants materialized in my life. own body. The shoulder and rib pain lasted the entire time I had the implants, with no relief from physiotherapy and chiropractic care. The BII symptoms lasted eleven (very long) months until the implants were removed.

I would love to be alone in my woes, but the reality is that thousands of women explode every year. In 2018, nearly 29,000 women explanted. They deserve to be heard and understood.

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