Some deflating news: Breast implants are being tied to a rise in autoimmune disorders and other illnesses, prompting a conference next week by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA approved the return of silicone implants in 2006, after yanking many from the market after studies linked them to diseases in the connective tissue. Today, 400,000 women in the US opt for implants each year, mostly for cosmetic reasons but also for reconstruction following mastectomies.
But on Friday, the FDA detailed the side effects from some implants, including a rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma and such immune-system disorders as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Next week’s conference will feature patient-advocacy groups and women like Maria Gmitro, a mother of two who says her health took a turn for the worse after she received implants to correct asymmetrical breasts in June 2014.
Her doctors had reassured her the silicone implants were “completely safe.” But within six months, the otherwise healthy 40-year-old teacher struggled with fatigue, insomnia, intestinal issues, bladder inflammation, migraines, joint pain and rashes across her body.
At the time, Gmitro didn’t know the source of the problem, and she saw countless specialists and fixated on eating organic, unprocessed food. “I did everything I could do to be the healthiest person I could be,” she tells The Post. But she was eventually forced to quit her job amid her health struggles. It was only after stumbling upon a Facebook advocacy group for women with health complications from implants that she finally realized the link between her surgery and her sickness.
“All the symptoms and the stories were the same,” Gmitro says. “I could have written those stories.”
She says her doctors pooh-poohed the theory, as did the surgeon who performed the procedure. “He said, ‘The FDA said there’s no connection,’ like we were accusing him of something,” she says. “He made me feel very stupid.”
Newly aware that her health could be restored after the implants were removed, she had the procedure reversed in September 2017.
“I had some immediate relief” from the pain in her joints and other ills, says the Charleston, SC, resident, who spent $7,000 out of pocket for the procedure that her insurance failed to cover.
“I felt like I had a hangover every day before — it felt like I was poisoned,” she says. Now, some 18 months after her implants were removed, she feels 75 percent better. “But on my worst days, I still look better than my best days of being sick . . . If I knew I could get breast-implant illness or a possibility of cancer, I never would have had the implants.”
Crystal Hefner, Hugh Hefner’s 32-year-old widow, has been outspoken about removing her implants. She made the move nearly three years ago, after suffering from autoimmune illnesses she believes were caused by the “ticking time bombs” that she added to her chest at age 22.
“I can’t believe women are still getting them,” she tells The Post. “The FDA re-evaluating implants is a great first step because it equals more awareness . . . and change. More and more women are making the connection to all the undiagnosed problems they’ve been having that their doctors can’t figure out.”
Source: New York Post
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