A WOMAN has revealed she was left bed-bound and in crippling pain after getting DD breast implants which were proven to have links to cancer.
Mum-of-one Samantha Lee Carbone, 31, from Adelaide, felt the pressure to increase her breasts after undergoing a health kick competing in bodybuilding contests.
Health blogger and sports nutritionist Samantha said she was happy with her C-cup boobs before competing, but lost breast tissue when she started to train.
She told Fabulous: “I one day decided to get fit and healthy and went on a huge health kick cutting sugars, bread and dairy.
“I lost a lot of weight really fast as my diet was filled with only fresh produce and no preservatives.
“This led me to lose a lot of my breast tissue and my boobs were empty looking like loose skin and were lopsided.
“This was really upsetting and began to be a touchy subject for myself. Especially knowing my nice C cup was gone and I had no tissue to fill out my bikinis.”
Although she was winning multiple high-level competitions bodybuilding, people started to make cruel comments about the reduction in her boob size.
She said: “I quickly realised that all the girls on stage had them [boob implants] and I was one of few who didn't have them.
“All of the girls on stage who had implants seemed to have more shape and their bodies looked more in proportion.
“During my first few seasons of bodybuilding, I was told on numerous occasions that I was too bottom heavy and maybe getting a boob job would help me place better and even out my physique.”
Before she knew it, Samantha had booked into a cosmetic institute in Sydney in 2016 for a breast implant operation costing £3,988 (AU$7,000).
She said: “I did trust the clinic at the time as I was told there were no risks with implants.
“I asked lots of questions, I tried to find out as much info as possible before getting them. “This was all in one appointment as it was a consultation and then the procedure the next day.”
Almost immediately after the procedure, Samantha regretted her decision.
She said: “My first reaction was that I didn't like them, I had asked the doctor for a nice C cup that was even on both sides.
“I did end up with a DD which was quite upsetting as they were too big for my body.
“The implant was a wide fit which led them to create a side boob, I didn't like this because it made me look a lot wider across the front section.”
Not only did she not like them from a visual point of view, but she knew something was wrong in her body healthwise.
Samantha said: “From the moment I got them I knew something wasn't right and I couldn't pick why my body felt different.
“The surgery went well and my recovery was fine. I just didn't feel like myself anymore, my movement was very restricted and the pain seemed to be there every day.
“I kept being told that it would get better and I was still recovering from the surgery.
From the moment I got them [implants] I knew something wasn't right and I couldn't pick why my body felt different.
“The doctor wasn't concerned and I was told I shouldn't be.
“I was suffering from chronic pain in the left side from the moment I woke up from surgery, right up until the day they were removed.
“This isn't normal and as time went on, I began to realise that more and more symptoms were developing.”
Samantha added: “The pain was intense. I can't explain how horrible you feel having those toxic bags in your body.
“I was a walking zombie. I hardly could function; I was always tired and felt unwell every day.
“I really struggled to get out of bed in the morning and found myself needing naps in the afternoon.”
As well as suffering from chronic pain in her chest and breasts, she also had muscle spasms and numbness of my right arm and chronic fatigue.
She added: “I had low immunity which led to me being sick most weeks of the year.
“I was unable to be around anyone who was sick, as I would get very unwell very quickly.
“I spent a lot of time off work due to colds and the above symptoms. I wasn’t able to attend the gym for months due to pain and migraines.
“I was diagnosed with chronic migraines and IBS.”
Samantha, who is married to husband Tyson, 34, and has a two-year-old daughter called Siara, said the implants also put a strain on her relationship with her partner.
She said: “My relationship [with Tyson] was affected as I was always sick or tired. My husband believed that they were making me sick.”
The big shock came when Allergan textured implants Samantha had been given were recalled in 2019 and linked to the rare cancer BIA ACL.
Allergan was the leading manufacturer of textured implants, and has withdrawn them from worldwide sale.
France and Australia have now banned the sales of all textured implants, although in the UK, other brands of textured implants are still in use.
Samantha said that Allergan and the cosmetic institute didn’t inform her of the recall and she had to pay for the procedure herself.
She said: “I called up both to find out what was happening, this was scary for myself considering my health history and how unwell I had been since putting them in.”
A biopsy showed chronic inflammation and that her body was rejecting the implants for the full four years they were in.
In August 2020, Samantha had the implants removed and felt the benefits almost instantly.
The mum, who runs the Embracing Health Project, said: “Doctors didn’t believe me until now.
“Thank god I pushed for testing and fought to have someone listen to my story and remove my implants.
“Yes, I feel fully recovered and I am happy to have removed them. It's the best decision I have made. I am feeling fitter, healthier and happier.
“Most of my symptoms have subsided, the fatigue has reduced drastically and my health is on the right path to regaining my health back.
“The day after I had them removed, I felt like my old self again. I didn't feel like my body was fighting against itself anymore.”
She added that having breast implant illness is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have them.
She said: “Everyday living is hard and challenging. No matter how healthy you eat, how much sleep you get , you just don't feel healthy or normal.”
Allergan implants: the risks
Figures collected by surgeons suggest there have been more than 615 cases, with 15 deaths, of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) cancer associated with the implants.
In 2019, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps), advised its members to stop using Allergan implants as a precaution due to its cancer link.
And, in 2020, the FDA acknowledged Allergan implants may be associated with systemic problems called “breast implant illness".
In a statement, the US body said: "While the FDA doesn’t have definitive evidence demonstrating breast implants cause these symptoms, the current evidence supports that some women experience systemic symptoms that may resolve when their breast implants are removed."
By 2018, there were reportedly more than 50,000 women reporting a range of symptoms referred to as breast implant illness.
Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain and weight loss.
In February 2020, the FDA said data suggests breast implant-associated ALCL occurs following "implantation of breast implants with textured surfaces" and agreed to review current medical guidelines.
Now she is keen to warn others of the dangers, and urged people to do their research first.
Samantha added: “Talk to people who have had Breast implant illness and BIA ACL. This will help you understand the risk you are taking.
“Only a few don't get symptoms. Is it worth the risk?
“If I had known I wouldn't have got them. I lost four years of my life; I can never get those years back.”
It was recently reported that at least 61 women in the UK have been diagnosed with a potentially fatal cancer linked to having textured breast implants.
More than 40 of the women have lawyers who are bringing legal action against the manufacturers as well as the clinics and doctors who carried out the surgery.
They are pushing for textured implants linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) to be banned fully from the market.
Comment from Allergan
"Patient safety and product quality are Allergan’s highest priorities.
"We are committed to strict adherence to all regulatory requirements, generating the most rigorous scientific evidence and to meeting the highest industry standards for our products.
"The safety profile of Allergan’s breast implants is supported by extensive pre-clinical and clinical data.
"There is more than a decade of successful worldwide use of these products as well as a large number of peer-reviewed and published studies.
"Breast implants play a vitally important role in a patient’s physical and psychological health.
"Surgeons need a variety of implant types to address a variety of patient needs and desired outcomes. All devices should have a positive benefit/risk profile and the benefit/risk profile of textured implants remains positive.
"Although Allergan recognizes that BIA-ALCL occurs most often in textured implants, the benefits of textured implants outweigh their risks, even considering the risk of BIA-ALCL.
"Furthermore, unexplained signs and symptoms associated with breast implants have been reported in literature and monitored by companies and regulatory authorities since the 1990s.
"Multiple well-powered studies and reports from independent organizations, including The Institute of Medicine, have confirmed that there is no evidence to support an association between breast implants and systemic diseases.
"As noted by experts at the FDA, some patients are concerned that their breast implants may be related to symptoms such as cognitive issues, fatigue, and muscle pain.
"Literature reports that there are over 50 signs and symptoms that have been grouped under the term breast implant illness. Despite these reports, there is no established case definition of breast implant illness, and the time it takes to develop one of these reported symptoms following implantation varies by patient.
"These factors make clinical evaluation of such signs and symptoms difficult; yet, it is important that they are understood.
"As a company, this is something we closely monitor, through post-approval and surveillance studies, as well as patient reported data, and we report this data directly to global regulatory authorities.”
Previously, a woman got a £5k boob job to feel more feminine but it left her with a wonky chest and in agony for four years.
And we shared how twenty women ‘treated like guinea pigs’ sue breast implant makers after developing cancer.
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