Hoping to Alleviate Autoimmune Condition by Removing Silicone Implants -Walnut Creek, CA

Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
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I had my 425CC high profile Allergan silicone...

I had my 425CC high profile Allergan silicone implants placed in 3/2011. After a lifetime of being unable to fill out a bikini top, I loved my new breasts. Unfortunately, within 2 days of my implants being placed, I developed the start of digital ulcers. You see, I had a mild case of Raynaud’s prior to surgery (started approximately 2.5 years before surgery) where my fingers (and sometimes toes) would turn white when cold, but I could always rewarm them quickly. I had never had an ulcer before. The ulcers started as splinter hemorrhages in my left index finger and a tiny black dot on the fleshy part of my right index finger. Additionally, my hands were colder than usual and tingly and a little numb. At my postop, the surgeon said the tingling and numbness was from carpal tunnel which many patients develop in the short term after augmentation because of inflammation (according to him). When I mentioned the dark colored spots, he laughed and said, “Oh no! Not the dreaded black dots,” to which I also laughed and figured I must be overanalyzing myself and went on my merry way. Except, those black dots developed into excruciatingly painful ulcers that took 7 months to heal. Additionally, my hands have been excessively cold and my Raynaud’s exponentially worse since getting the implants. I have since had 6-7 more ulcers develop since my augmentation. I should also note that my feet have never worsened… only my hands and only since the surgery.

Wanting to keep my perfect new boobies, especially since I had asked around whether the new silicone implants could worsen or cause autoimmune issues and been told no by plastic surgeons and the online literature, I figured something else must be up. Thousands and thousands of dollars later after countless visits to rheumatologists, internists, cardiologists, endocrinologists and hematologists, all I’m left with is a ton of money spent and freezing cold hands. When I start to get an ulcer, I’m put on blood thinners and warned by my doctors about the possibility of gangrene and amputation. Fun and helpful. Frustration with conventional medicine, and an extreme need to “do something”, I did what I always do and that was turn to my own research.

Since being told the implants couldn’t be the cause of the sudden worsening of my condition, I started looking at my thyroid since I’ve had hashimoto’s since the birth of my baby. Conventional medicine said all my hormone levels were optimal, but I found that there is increasing evidence that Hashimoto’s can be the result of gluten sensitivity and leaky gut. Accordingly, I went off of gluten in 10/11. It wasn’t long after that that I went further and adopted the paleo diet and now follow it to the letter. This year, I read Susan Blum’s Autoimmune Recovery Plan and follow many of her recommendations and even started seeing a functional medicine naturopathic doctor. I really feel like I’m doing all I can to be healthy and nutritionally savvy and have noticed many changes in my body… though very little change with respect to the raynaud’s.

Then, in april or may of this year, I happened to come across Dr. Mercola’s interview with Susan Kolb and was shocked to hear her mention Raynaud’s specifically and how it can be caused by methyl ethyl ketone, a substance in the shell of all implants. Whether or not this substance is contributing to the worsening of my raynaud’s, hearing about the hundreds of chemicals in silicone implants and learning how the new silicone implants aren’t all that different from the old ones, I knew that I needed to have my implants out. I realize there is nothing in the literature (the gold standard for doctors) to indicate a link to rheumatologic diseases with the new silicone implants, but for me, personally, and my quest to live a clean life through diet and limited chemical exposure, removing my implants makes perfect sense. I know my body has an overactive immune system since it has already attacked my thyroid. It just makes sense that my body would also be over-reactive to a foreign body like breast implants.

So, whether or not the implant removal will help with my raynaud’s remains to be seen. My surgery is tomorrow. The surgeon feels that they are so new, they should be in tact and can be removed with local anesthesia and light sedation. If he gets in there and finds the situation somewhat other than anticipated, the anesthesiologist can put me under all the way for an en bloc removal. For now, however, the capsules feel thin and I’m hoping for a quick in and out.

For loving my implants so much in the beginning, I’ve surprised myself by how much I’m looking forward to the procedure (not the surgery or recovery, of course). All of the ladies on this website and their experiences have greatly influenced my feelings. I’m looking forward to the lighter feel on my chest, which is currently heavy for my small frame. My perspective on what’s attractive has also changed. I now think small chested women and their thin physiques are beautiful, whereas before, I always coveted the more curvaceous shapes. Also, I have lost a lot of upper body strength with my implants. I used to be able to do men’s style pushups and even some pull-ups…. Something I have not been able to do at all with the implants.

*My implanting surgeon is NOT the same as my explanting surgeon.
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon

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