Numerous women in Arizona have come forward with tales of “breast implant illness,” after a local plastic surgeon went on TV to insist that no such ailment exists.
The saga began earlier this month, when a former Playboy model from the Phoenix area discussed her decision to undergo removal of breast implants that had purportedly caused blackouts, dizzy spells, severe allergies, and vision problems. Karen McDougal maintained that her health began to improve almost immediately following removal.
After McDougal’s story began to gain widespread attention, a prominent plastic surgeon felt compelled to contact 12 News in Phoenix to debunk her claims. According to this doctor, “tons and tons of studies” have failed to show a causal relationship between the devices and the symptoms described by McDougal. He insisted that breast implant illness does not exist, and even went so far as to suggest that some women could be suffering from a psychosomatic disorder.
Apparently, the physician’s denials hit a nerve, as 12 News received numerous emails from women who claim to have experienced adverse health effects following breast augmentation.
“I just had to get them out,” Katelyn Svancara told the station in an interview that aired on March 3rd. “It started to become almost a panic knowing that I had this rupture… I went and got MRI’s.”
One of Svancara’s implants was actually unrecognizable upon removal. Video from the explant surgery showed stringy goo being removed from her chest.
“I can tell you the seizures stopped,” said Svancara. “The blackouts stopped, the migraines stopped, the nausea stopped… it’s incredible.”
McDougal and Svancara are not the only women to go public with stories of breast augmentation gone awry. According to Bloomberg News, at least two recent breast implant lawsuit filings accuse Mentor Worldwide of concealing the risks associated with MemoryGel silicone breast implants. An attorney for one plaintiff predicted that more women would seek compensation for breast implant illness, and characterized the current claims as “the tip of the iceberg.”
Mentor, Allergan Plc, and Sientra Inc. are the only three companies that have received clearance to sell silicone breast implants since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) lifted a near-ban on the devices in 2006. The agency imposed restrictions on silicone devices in 1992, after thousands of women sued over autoimmune disorders and other problems. One device manufacturer, Dow Corning, was forced to file for bankruptcy before the litigation was settled for billions of dollars.