Isabell L.'s Story
Isabell always wanted larger breasts. After breastfeeding left her feeling saggy, this desire increased to the point where she decided to go through with breast augmentation surgery finally. Throughout the seven years that she had breast implants, Isabell started noticing a variety of odd and seemingly random health issues. As she lived a healthy lifestyle, her problems were difficult to explain. As soon as she developed abnormal kidney function, she knew she needed to book her explant surgery.
Tell us about your explant journey.
I have always wanted bigger boobs and always used the padded bras etc. After breastfeeding, I felt even more uncomfortable with my breasts than ever. They had become very saggy and empty. In February 2013, I decided to get implants to make me feel better about myself. I was very happy with my results.
During the seven years that I had my implants, I started to have a lot of random health problems. I was living a pretty healthy lifestyle, working out and eating right, so having some of the health problems I developed was odd to me.
I started to research BII (Breast Implant Illness) in 2018 because of my health problem and was thinking of explanting. It was my abnormal kidney function that got me very scared because it was declining fast for no reason, and they were starting to think I might have Lupus. This made me book an explant surgery. I couldn’t wait any longer. Two weeks after my surgery, I had new kidney labs, and lo and behold MY KIDNEY FUNCTION was back to normal, and no sign of Lupus.
What type of implants did you have?
Natrelle Silicone Filled Breast Implants, Allergan 450cc
What surgeon did you explant with?
Dr. Michael Fallucco, MD, FACS with Florida Plastic Surgery
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
Now looking back at my journey with implants, my first symptoms started with anxiety and depression about six months after I had them done.
What symptoms did you have?
Migraines more often and more intense (I have dealt with migraines for years, but they became very bad).
Acne (had do be treated with Accutane)
Pain in and around the breast
Ascending Aorta Aneurysm (will be needing open heart surgery in the future to fix this)
High Blood pressure
Anxiety and depression
Puffiness around face, and swollen feet and ankles
Pain in joints
Exhausted, to the point that I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings
Very emotional and cried a lot for nothing
Labs always showing that my body is fighting against something (doctor kept telling me I probably have allergies)
Abnormal kidney function
How did breast implants impact your life?
I was very happy with the results in the beginning and loved the new me. I was comfortable in my skin again, but now, looking back at it all, it caused me a lot of health issues to the point that I was not myself anymore. I was on two blood pressure medications, sleeping medication, anxiety and depression medications, heart medication, migraine medication and inflammation medication for pain in my joints. I was in the military from 2010-2016. In my last two years that I was active, I was an emotional wreck and actually got out because I couldn't take it anymore. Looking back now, I'm wondering if all this could be because of my implants!
What was surgery like for you?
The surgery went really well, and I had a breast lift, fat transfer and an en bloc capsulectomy. I didn't have any drains, and I did not have to take any narcotic pain killers.
How are you doing now, after explant?
It has now been seven weeks since my surgery, and I feel better. A lot of my health problems have diminished. I can actually get out of bed in the morning without feeling exhausted. I have fewer headaches and migraines, my palpitations are so much better, my face is not as puffy and I don't feel as bloated. I feel like myself again. I'm so much more alert and present.
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
I was very hesitant before getting an explant. I didn't want to believe that my implants were causing my health problems. I also didn't want to go back to how my breast looked like before surgery. I know that sounds vain, but I got the implants because I didn't feel good about myself, and I didn't want to go back to that. In the end, HEALTH is so much more important than having "perfect" breasts.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I can’t say I regret getting my implants; I just wish they wouldn’t have made me so sick. There are risks with everything, and you can’t possibly know what would happen beforehand with any alterations to your body!