Kelsey W.'s Story
Kelsey's breast implants never felt quite right in her body. Aside from the breast implant illness symptoms that emerged within a year or two of her implants, the implants felt too big for her 5'8" 125lb frame. Kelsey had heard of BII prior to her symptoms, but it was not until she found a lump in her left breast that she began investigating what her symptoms could be indicating. After an ultrasound confirmed that the lump was of an "unknown substance," Kelsey was left with the decision to either get an MRI to further explore the issue or remove her breast implants.
Tell us about your explant journey.
On May 24th, 2019, I removed my 7-year-old Mentor smooth profile 450CC implants placed under the muscle. I got implants when I was 22-years-old. Within six months of getting my implants, I got married and became pregnant with my first child. My D cup boobs ballooned to an E cup. I was miserable with back pain and had an awful time trying to nurse, which ironically was one of the things my surgeon told me would not be a problem.
My implants always felt way too big for me - and they were. 450 CC on my 5'8" 125lb frame was too large. Within a year or two of having my implants, I noticed several symptoms, but I chalked most of them up to having an infant. Fast forward five years and after my second child, I had more "issues" that most people couldn't witness for themselves. These issues included extremely low sex drive, hair loss, extreme joint pain, back pain, fatigue, depression, weight gain (like the 5-10 lbs you try so hard to get rid of but no matter what you do it doesn't work), stiffness, UTIs ( I had never had a UTI before in my life and all of sudden I have 6 in under 18 months), sharp shooting pain in my left breast and a protruding lump. I was aware of breast implant illness, but it wasn't until the lump appeared that I finally started to investigate the issues.
I saw my primary care doctor, who recommended that I have an ultrasound performed. The ultrasound detected an "unknown substance" in my left lymph nodes. This news absolutely terrified me. He said that the implant was not visibly ruptured, but there could still be silicone and other chemicals leaking out. The only way to know for sure was an MRI, which insurance would not cover, or have them removed. I knew I wanted to have them removed. Thankfully my husband was supportive, and we were able to financially cover the costs since insurance does not cover any aspect of explant.
I did my research and found the surgeon that I wanted to use. I had a full en bloc capsulectomy with a mastopexy, followed by two revisions. As I approach my one year anniversary of having them removed, I can honestly say it has been the hardest, most emotionally and mentally challenging years of my life, but I do not regret for one second having them removed. I have zero breast tissue left and went form a size D to barely an AA. Having my implants removed forced me to finally wake up to and deal with all of the insecurities and trauma that I have experience in my life.
I was not prepared for the can of worms I was opening by removing my implants. However, I have felt more alive and happier in the last year than the last six years combined. I can run a 6:45 minute mile, do real push-ups again, and have lost about 7 lbs without really trying. I'm assuming mostly from inflammation, as my lab results showed that prior to having my implants removed, the inflammation within my body was exceptional.
What type of implants did you have?
Mentor smooth profile 450 CC
What surgeon did you explant with?
Dr. George Chatson
When did you begin to experience symptoms?
About 2 years after implanting
What symptoms did you have?
Extremely low sex drive
Extreme joint pain
Dry patches of skin
Sharp shooting pain in the left breast
How did breast implants impact your life?
They robbed me of feeling my best self for most of my 20's. They made it difficult to nurse my babies. They cost $20K to have them put in and removed. They ruined my perfectly perfect natural breasts by stretching out my skin and chest muscles so much that they made me more self-conscious when I had them than my natural breasts.
What was surgery like for you?
Surgery was 5 hours and I’ve had two revisions. It was an okay experience and the explant was less painful than having the implants put in because you don't have all the pressure.
How are you doing now, after explant?
Infinity better all around!
What would you like women who are considering explant to know?
That it is worth it to regain your health and happiness.