Is Sheyla Hershey, Biggest Breast Implants in the World, in Danger?

Model Sheyla Hershey's latest breast implant surgery took her to the extremely large size 38KKK. Because safety standards actually exist in the US and no doctor would do the surgery, she went to Brazil. What kind of risks is Ms. Hershey taking by pushing the limits of her breast implant size?

Doctor Answers 52

This is the kind of thing that gives plastic surgery a bad name.

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We are supposed to be caregivers, not merchants. That means we are supposed to think about what is best for the woman, even if she does not have good judgement. Actually, one of the great things about our field is that you can do well (make a very good living) by doing good (taking the best possible care of the patient).

No responsible doctor would do this. There are increased risks during surgery, such as the implant coming out through the wound. There are increased risks after surgery, such as loss of nipple sensation, breast tissue atrophy from the pressure, thinning and stretching of the skin from the weight, difficulty in diagnosing breast cancer. And imagine how these breasts are going to age.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Huge breast implants

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The largest implants available in the US are 800 cc's total volume. The reason for this, is that these giant implants are really too big. What happens is that the tissues holding these heavy implants up, stretch out and cause alot of sagging. Gravity takes over and they fall. That is not attractive to me!

Breast Augmentation: Bigger may be better, but Giant is not

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Plastic Surgeons like all MD's in the US take the Hippocratic Oath "Primum non nocere" which is the Latin phrase meaning "First do no harm". Unfortunately this patient was harmed by these implants that have undoubtedly cause a traction injury resulting in numb nipples, irreparable stretching of her soft tissues, and the acceleration of aging by gravity and weight ( - a lot of weight !) and the inability to find many clothing styles that will fit her. I suspect that the reason she went out of the country is that she could not find anyone to do this surgery here for good reason.Undoubtedly she will suffer more in the future because of her choice.

A question of Ethics

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There's a difference between a Surgeon and a Contractor.  While it's important for a surgeon to give a patient the result that she desires, it's also important to remember that we're doctors- and the concept of 'First Do No Harm' comes to mind.  As a surgeon it is our job to educate a patient and, together, we weigh the risks and the benefits of everything we do.  When the risk far outweigh the benefits then surgery is not indicated...period. As one of a group of surgeons participating in these RealSelf forums, I share the desire to help educate prospective patients.  We all know that there are surgeons who will do anything for $ or publicity and that's unfortunate.  In a short amount of time this patient will need to deal with the repercussions of her surgery- and she will realize the mistakes she made.  It's my hope that this forum can protect the next patient from the same decisions.

Are giant size implants a good idea?

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I agree with everyone else. In a nutshell, no good can come of this. No need to repeat what has already been said.

Health problems following large implants

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I have had two patients that have had these large implants inserted.  Only bad can happen.  All of my colleagues are correct in their responses.  I had one woman with 800+  implants in place for over ten years and she developed  kyphosis of the spine where her spinal chord bent forward so that she walked like the hunchback of Notre dame.  The surgeon who places this large an implant into someone has to make a LARGE pocket which requires cutting the blood vessels that supply the breasts from the flanks and from the sternum (chest plate).  This loss of blood supply makes it almost impossible to do a breast lift ten years down the road when drooping and sagging appear.  I have seen two woman have complete breast tissue  without skin involvement when a mastopexy was performed 14 years later.

Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired)
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

UPDATE: Sept 1, 2010 *

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She can expect BIG problems!

As the other authors mentioned, she'll stretch, sag, and generally worsen in appearance with time.  More immediate issues of course are healing problems, musculoskeletal discomfort in the back and neck, and overall loss of mobility and decrease in physical activity.

Overall, I'm afraid she'll regret her decision:(

* According to her website, Sheyla is having problems with infection and is considering removing her implants.  Too bad.....

Large breast implants

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Very large breast implants significantly increase the possibility of complications and undesired results. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Think twice about traveling for surgery

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In terms of the specific risks associated with large implants which have been mentioned by the other plastic surgeons on this site, I have never been a fan of traveling for surgery. Not that her infection couldn't happen in the United States, but there are definite risks to going abroad for surgery. I like my patients to have a strong support network in place to help with their recovery, whether complicated or not, and it is just not the same when you travel out of the US.

Huge implants = Huge mistake

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YES, this is a problem.  Huge implants lead to stretching of the skin, loss of nipple and/or breast sensation, rib deformities, and more.  NEVER a good idea. She'll need a lot of reconstruction once these are removed.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.