Tag Archives: breast implants

How I Could Have Died Getting Breast Implants on the NHS

It was Spring 2004, and the day after my breast augmentation operation I developed a really weird sloshy ring, like a spare tyre, around my waist. I asked one of the nurses what it was and she dismissively replied, “oh that’s normal dear.”

I’ll never forget those stupid, wrong words. It wasn’t normal. I never had a spare tyre of sloshy liquid around my waist before in my life. I was a skinny minny, 5’9″ and only 9 stone. There wasn’t an inch of fat on my body – except now there was a completely liquid ring around my waist. I guess the nurse must have thought that I was being vain and complaining about a bit of fat on my body, but she didn’t stop to discuss it further, she was already walking away in irritation.

I didn’t know it at the time but it was blood from internal bleeding (because I didn’t have drains put in post op). The next day I fainted when I tried to walk to the toilets. In total, I was in hospital for five days. All the other girls had recovered and been sent home, yet I was struggling and exhausted and still utterly feeble. No-one thought to question this. It was decided that I’d been occupying the bed for too long so was sent home without any checks on my health. I must be fine – it had been five days since the operation – I was a lazy slacker (or at least that’s how I was made to feel, as if I was taking a long time to recover on purpose).

I continued to feel unwell for a couple of months (weakness, feebleness, headaches every day, fatigue, tiny appetite) and eventually, after really insisting, pressurising various GPs and getting nowhere, I went to A&E. They said, “you have a tension headache.”

I knew in my heart they were wrong so I insisted that it wasn’t. Thank God I had the strength to battle. A young doctor reluctantly ordered a few blood tests and not long after that I was hastily admitted. The next day I had to have a blood transfusion I’d lost so much blood – leaking out of my breasts into my abdominal cavity and settling around my waist…. It was my first ever blood transfusion, and I haven’t needed one since. I will forever feel annoyed that I was forced to have one because of the surgeon’s error.

“Have you been bleeding?” he demanded to know when he came to see me. “You weren’t a bleeder during the operation. The blood must have disappeared somehow!” I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know what to say. The only thing that had happened to me was the operation he performed. I was fine beforehand, unwell afterwards. I didn’t realise that his failure to fit me with drains caused the problem and risked my life. But he must have known as he interrogated me with his ridiculous question.

I was lucky the situation wasn’t any worse.

Are My Breast Implants The Cause of All My Health Problems?

Seventeen years ago I had two Mentor Siltex Contour Profile Cohesive Gel-Filled, 280cc breast implants done on the NHS. They’ve served me well in the sense that they gave me what I needed at the time.

But things have changed now that I’m older and wiser and care more about my health – my health that is deteriorating almost by the day. I’m worried my implants have caused me to have an auto immune illness, just like these celebrities in this article.

My state of health today is: a hip that has “severe” degenerative changes (arthritis) and needs replacing; multiple slipped discs in my back; and two knees that keep subluxing (partially dislocating).

A recent blood test shows I have raised centromere antibodies, so rheumatology think there might be an underlying autoimmune disorder – I’ve previously been diagnosed with Crest Syndrome, then undiagnosed with it. Also fibromyalgia, then undiagnosed with that too. No-one knows what’s going on.

I have very frequent and intense migraines. This could be to do with the fact that I’m peri-menopausal, or partly due to this fact. But many women report that their migraines stop when they have their breast implants taken out.

I recently found a UK Breast Implant Illness group on Facebook and was astonished (and a bit horrified) to read that thousands of women (in this group alone) who all have breast implants – many the exact same type as mine – suffer from autoimmune type symptoms to varying degrees. And those who have had their implants taken out (explanted) say their chronic symptoms have mostly vanished.

Among this group we’re not glad we had our breasts augmented. We wish we’d never gone through with it, we wish we’d known it could seriously effect our health, and we now face an explant operation in the hope that we can get healthy again.

Explantation isn’t as straight forward as you might think. You can’t just whip out the implants, you have to take the scar capsules that have formed around the implant out too. And if you’re unfortunate enough to have sub-muscular implants like I am, this can be dangerous because the capsules get can get stuck to a rib and become too risky to scrape away (ribs can be broken and lungs punctured). It means that parts of the toxic sac stays inside you forever, possibly leaking silicone particles, possibly causing cancer. It’s a truly horrible state of affairs.

I can’t WAIT to have my implants removed. I have a date with a private consultant in late July, although it’s not soon enough but it’s his earliest availability apparently. As soon after that initial consultation as I can, I will make a date for an explant operation (as long as it doesn’t clash with my total hip replacement – I’m so broken!).

My next task is find a way to get the money to pay for it. It’s going to cost about £8,000 altogether and I have no savings or access to that kind of money. I’ll be looking at credit cards and loans. I don’t have anything I can sell. But getting into debt is nothing compared to living with two toxic bags sitting on my chest. The idea makes me shudder.