Emma Gilligan contemplated breast implants for years, but some other expenses had always been prioritized. However, after significant deliberation and research Emma decided to take the leap. Mere months after implanting, Emma came across an Instagram post about breast implant illness that made her question her decision.
Tell us about your explant journey.
For years I thought on and off about getting breast implants but something else always came up like uni, traveling, braces, etc. For the most part, I didn’t mind having small boobs but sometimes people’s comments got to me and I always just wished they were slightly bigger.
So in 2018, I decided to finally take the plunge after much thought and research and I got them done. I went up to a DD and loved them. I recovered really well and felt really happy with them, especially as they began to drop and looked a bit more natural
A couple of months after I had them done, I saw an Instagram post about a girl who had her implants removed as they were making her feel really poorly and I instantly panicked. I was shocked I never heard of this before, but I just put it to the back of my mind and everything was fine
Fast forward to the end of 2019. I started to get really ill, which was highly unlike me but I put it down to the cold weather starting and being run down. However, after many trips to the doctors, I wasn’t feeling any better. I even ended up at the hospital one night, and after many tests (blood, urine, chest x-ray, ECG, eye tests) everything came back normal.
My symptoms included:
Headaches – every day for over 2 months then they weren’t as regular but still most days
Blurred Vision – even though my optician said I have 20:20 (perfect) eyesight
Heart Palpitations – this happened a few times every day and felt like my heart was skipping a beat
Racing Heartbeat – happened randomly when I was lying down and hadn’t even moved
Anxiety/Panic Attack – I feel this came on due to the above as I didn’t know what was happening to me
Forgetfulness/Memory Loss – I would literally have a mind blank mid-conversation and kept making so many simple mistakes at work
Chest Pains – sharp pains across my chest and in my boobs
Dark/Discoloured Eyes – the whites of my eyes went dull and I was developing dark circles around my eyes I had never had before
The doctors told me on several occasions, I have no idea what is wrong with you. Eventually, I started to research breast implant illness and couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. All my symptoms matched what other women had suffered from, along with so many others. In hindsight, there were many symptoms that I experienced early on and just hadn’t realized the cause. I read so many women’s stories and some women had much worse symptoms than me. After months of feeling ill and much thought, my gut feeling led me to decided to get my implants removed, and I definitely made the right decision!
What type of implants did you have?
Mentor brand Silicone implants
What surgeon did you explant with?
Dr. Joseph O'Donoghue
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
Approx. 12 months afterward
What symptoms did you have?
Anxiety and panic attacks
How did breast implants impact your life?
I have always led a fit, active and social lifestyle and I felt so poorly that I just couldn't be bothered to do anything anymore. I just felt so down physically which then started to affect me mentally.
What was surgery like for you?
Totally fine. I thankfully had no issues and was only in hospital with drains for 1 night.
How are you doing now, after explant?
I feel so much better with every day that comes. I still have the odd bad day which I know is normal but I feel like myself again. I didn't really realize how much I didn't feel or look like me until I had them removed. I have so much more energy and I feel fitter, healthier and happier.
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
To look into breast implant illness because if I had known about this beforehand I really don't think I would have got them done. Feeling so poorly affects the people around you too not just you. Put your health and wellness first and realize that you're stunning as you are.