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Silicone and Saline Breast Implants Toxicity Sickness, Healing testimonials

Hundreds of thousands of women with breast implants both silicone and saline and filed lawsuits against implant manufacturers in the 1990s. Thousands of women who have had their implants for one or two decades now are seeking medical help for mysterious symptoms which resemble arthritis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, connective tissue disorders, and/or immune dysfunction and seem to be associated with their implants. This page includes personal stories of women who were able to recover their health and their lives.

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Toxicity Toxicity and Complications of Breast Implants - Personal Stories of Healing

 The most serious complications from Saline or Silicone breast implants include toxic shock syndrome, implants breaking through the skin, or skin dying. A few studies have shown that patients have died or had gangrene as a result of breast augmentation surgery. These are rare but they do happen.

Many breast augmentation patients need additional surgery within 5 years of getting breast implants. Within 10-12 years, most women will need at least one additional surgery. 4 out of 10 reconstruction patients need additional surgery within three years of getting implants. Breast augmentation may interfere with your ability to breastfeed. There are serious concerns about whether a leaking implant could harm a nursing infant, but no studies have been conducted.

Breast implants have become a worldwide multi-billion dollar industry based on cultivating women's insecurities about their bodies while, while failing to prove that implants are safe over the long-term. In 2006, after a 14 year ban, the Food and Drug Administration approved marketing silicone-gel breast implants to women aged 22 and older. This unfortunate decision was made despite evidence of serious health risks.

In 1992, the FDA declared a moratorium on sales of silicone breast implants, citing the lack of clinical studies proving their safety. However, the FDA did not say silicone implants were unsafe, hedging, as usual, on the side of manufacturers and against the public, calling lamely for more studies. Yet as early as 1954 an in-house study by Dow Corning, a prime implant manufacturer, found that the silica in silicone has quite a high order of toxicity,according to recently released documentation of that previously suppressed study.

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Mindy's miraculous recovery from toxicity sickness from her saline breast implants.

"My name is Mindy and I'm 29 years old. I wasn't happy with the way I looked and felt about myself so I wanted breast implants. My Aunt and a few other's told me to love myself and don't get these breast implants. My Aunt told me that sometimes your body won't accept foreign objects but I was so stubborn I didn't listen to anyone because Doctors and FDA said the saline were safe. A saline breast implant is a sac (implant shell) made of silicone elastomer (rubber), which is surgically implanted under your chest tissues and/or muscle, and then filled with saline, a saltwater solution, through a valve. They were approved by the FDA in May 2000.

Breast implant illness is a period of sickness affecting 
the body caused by silicone or saline breast implants. True Breast Implant StoriesSo on March.31, 2005 I had FDA approved McGan style 68 smooth, round saline implants put into my body with a breast lift and I had surgical drains in for three weeks that measured out a coffee cup of blood a day. I also had an infection in the left breast. It was about six months after my surgery I became extremely tired and very depressed. I thought at first maybe it was the stress of the surgery.

Then I got more fatigue, insomnia, depressed, cold and numb hands and feet, dry mouth, dry eyes, night sweats, muscle and breast pain. I started losing my hair by the hand full, I had no sex drive, the worst part it was difficult to hold my children and at one point I needed help to the shower and getting dressed.

I went to numorous doctors from Internists, Rheumatologists, Neurologists, Gynocolgists, Family Practioners and I had brain MRI's, hundreds of blood tests, breast MRI'S and mamograms. Every single test came back normal so then the doctors would tell me this wasn't the breast implants. Doctors would say; they are made of water they can't harm you. Doctor's would say; they are FDA Approved HA! HA!

Since I couldn't get any relief from the doctor I had to do something because I felt like I was slowly dying and all the energy in my body left. It felt like the life out of my body had left and I quietly felt like I was a vegetable. Everyone thought I was crazy and no one would believe me about my symptoms and that hurt me the worst. I was always a person full of life and excitement and always smiling and bubbly and my Aunt took some notice because I quit calling her and people in general it was just too exhausting. I kept on trying to fight a fight to find a reason why my spirit my health was going down hill so fast.

I got some relief from natural medicine but not complete relief so then I tried taking about 20 different vitamins a day but still felt sick to some degree. After my Aunt got involved she did listen to me but my husband didn't believe that it was the implants, so her and my uncle had to listen to both side's but my Aunt was close to me and she said, when something is going on in the body physically and can affect you mentally so she wanted me to start with the depression so I could see through the fog.

I knew it was the implants and that hurt so much because I needed some one on my side. My Aunt did believe me but she wanted me to start ruling out things since I have been going to natural doctors and got a little relief. She searched the internet because she was good on the internet and it gave me somewhat hope again and she tried to pick me up but inside I felt like I was looking on the outside and dying on the inside but because someone was helping me now it helped me search again.

Than I found this doctor in Atlanta and she ordered me a blood test in my State from her office in her State. So I took a mold test called the Alpha MSH TEST and it came back positive for black mold in the summer of 2007. My Aunt wanted me to take some anti depressants and I told everyone I was and just tried to fool them because I knew I wasn't crazy and maybe they would have helped but I wanted nothing but the answers to why my body changed to begin with.

I had FDA approved, round saline implants put into my bodyI don't smoke, I don't drink, and I’ve always been an active person and exercised and my whole life changed after these implants were in my body. So with my Aunt's support she help lift me somewhat but I had someone in my corner and believe me that matters when everyone thinks your crazy or you know deep down inside you are dying inside and no-one is listening including the only one that can help you THE MEDICAL DOCTORS. I never felt so hopeless in my life.

 I did some more research on my own and come to find out an Implant shell is made of silicone and there are 40 different TOXIC METALS on the outside shell of every implant: tin, zinc, or platinum lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic just to name a few. The FDA breast implant advisor said yes the toxic metals are there but in small amounts and aren't harmful to the human body that is such a joke heavy metals are heavy metals they are harmful in any level and are a killer. I told all theses doctors and they all thought I was crazy. So I went to a MD but he believes in Natural Medicine too and he tested me for these metals and My test were off the charts with all high Metals in my body and I had an overgrowth of yeast all over my body too.

 I have so many medical bills from this and my husband lost some of his hair from the 2.5 years of hell we went through. My children missed out on there happy, bubbly mom and instead had a mom that laid around sick not being able to play with them, hold them, laugh with them. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like fainting, my hair loss was everyday by the handfuls. My husband had to carry me I don’t know how many times. I was disabled and no one could help me. I then decided it was time to rid my body of these horrible things. This cost us our life savings and almost my marriage. My husband was so stressed because I was stressed and I wasn’t the person he married, it created my husbands hair to fall out which ended up turning into an Autoimmune Disease. My children were depressed because they lost their mommy physically because I wasn’t the same person. This affected my whole family.

My Aunt was doing research to help her ex husband that had cancer. That's when she learned about the natural immune enhancing substances, a powerful immune booster product and how this natural product can helps build the Immune system. She witnessed this immune booster product raise this man's white blood cell count dramatically - it tripled his amount of white blood cells . Doctors at the hospital had never seen anything like this - they were simply amazed because none of their conventional medicine could produce the results that a simple inexpensive natural product, like this product could.

I took this natural immune booster product before the surgery to remove my breast implants. I took double the recommended dosage of 2 capsules a day. I had warned the surgeon that I was a bleeder because of all the blood I lost when I had the implants put in. Because of this immune product, I experienced very little swelling and the bleeding was minimal. Again, the surgeon was amazed - he could not believe his eyes! I have healed wonderfully and now I am taking this product for my recovery and I am taking the special cream to promote the healing of my scar tissue.

Removing those implants on October.2, 2007 was the best thing I could have done for myself. Just a day after surgery I felt like a new person! No more pain, my energy level and vitality was back. My 13-year-old daughter who had been complaining that I wasn't the same person after the implants, was overjoyed to have her mom back. She said: "Mom you have taught me to love myself the way God made me and to never alter my body."

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ScleroderScleroderma symptoms developed an average of nine years after implantation

A study of 56 women with silicone implants and scleroderma (skin thickening which damages tissues) revealed that scleroderma symptoms developed an average of nine years after implantation. Of these, 77% also had Raynaud's phenomenon (extreme skin pallor and coldness in hands and feet), 53% had swallowing difficulties, 47% had lung problems, and 83% had antinuclear antibodies. (Current Topics in Microbiological Immunology 210 [1996], 283-90.)

Doctors at the CompreCare Clinic in Houston, Texas, found that 26 women developed a systemic disease with central nervous system involvement (resembling multiple sclerosis) an average of 5.7 years after receiving silicone implants. (Southern Medical Journal 89:2 [February 1996], 179-88.)p>Doctors at the Louisiana State University Medical Center at New Orleans examined 300 women (average age, 44) with silicone implants and musculoskeletal complaints. The symptoms developed an average of 6.8 years after receiving the implants; 83% had symptoms highly suggestive of an underlying connective tissue disorder;and 54% met the criteria for a fibromyalgia(chronic muscle pain) diagnosis. (Clinical Rheumatology 14:6 [November 1995], 667-672.)

Home base business opportunity According to Douglas R. Shanklin, M.D., and David L. Smalley, M.D., both professors of pathology at the University of Tennessee at Memphis, there is little if any difference between the effects of direct injection of silicone and the effects of gel-filled devices such as implants. In either case, the human body reacts to the presence of this alien substance by forming granulomas which then produce a chronic inflammation. Direct injection of silicone into the breast for enlargement was outlawed because it produced serious, toxic effects in women; it is illogical, state Drs. Shanklin and Smalley, that this practice is still permitted via ruptured leaking implants. (Science and Medicine 3:5 [September/October 1996], 22-31.)

I had a wonderful caring doctor in Dallas Texas who removed my implants . He was honest and compassionate. He understood everything I was going through. Dr. Melmed MD didn't only care about what I was going through he cared about the way I looked and felt about myself after the removal. He is an artist with his work and he truly cares about the women that suffer from Saline Breast Implants because he knows they have been mislead by the silicone shells that hold the saline. I would highly recommend this doctor no matter what the cost because he cares for the women inside and out. I credit both Dr. Melmed and the powerful immune booster product for giving me my life back. I also used this cream after the surgery which has helped with any scarring.

Other Breast Implant Horror Stories:

Gretchen --- Rose --- Jeena --- Pam --- Tracey --- Lisa --- Mary --- CJ --- Justine --- Cindi --- Jen --- Shirl --- Linda --- Ang --- Mandy --- Ann --- Anna --- Phyllis --- Lipstick --- Rosanne --- Donna --- Pixie --- Keli --- Mary R. --- Kathy R --- Patty --- Dawn --- Tanya --- Gena --- Sunny --- Shari --- AzJay--- Jean --- Pam 2 --- Terri --- Coral --- Nikki --- Kacey --- Sjeanine --- Vondell --- Lynn J --- Beth -- TxJade

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FDA Breast Implants: Complications and Re-operations

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) completed its independent review of past and ongoing scientific research of silicone [both saline-filled and silicone-gel filled] breast implant safety in June 1999

Breast implant manufacturers Inamed Aesthetics and Mentor Corporation were asked by the FDA to conduct research on saline breast implant complications occurring in breast augmentation and reconstruction patients. Here are the Top 10 issues after 5 years:

  • 9% Implant is in a bad position.
  • 10% Loss of nipple sensation.
  • 10% Intense, painful nipple sensation.
  • 12% Asymmetry. (breasts look different from each other)
  • 12% Implant can be felt or seen.
  • 12% Implant replacement / removal for any reason.
  • 11% Capsular contracture. (hardening of breast)
  • 14% Wrinkled appearance of breast.
  • 17% Breast Pain.
  • 26% Needed another operation.

Prospective studies of saline-filled breast implants approved by FDA in May 2000 showed re-operation rates of 13-21% at 3 years and 20-26% at 5 years for augmentation patients. The same studies showed re-operation rates of 39-40% at 3 years and 43-45% at 5 years for reconstruction patients.

Implant Removal Rates
Prospective studies of saline-filled breast implants approved by FDA in May 2000 showed implant removal rates of 8% at 3 years and 12-14% at 5 years for augmentation patients. The same studies showed implant removal rates of 23-27% at 3 years and 28-30% at 5 years for reconstruction patients.

What is a Saline Breast Implant?
A saline breast implant is a sac (implant shell) made of silicone elastomer (rubber), which is surgically implanted under your chest tissues and/or muscle, and then filled with saline, a saltwater solution, through a valve. They were approved by the FDA in May 2000.

The truthThe truth of the greatest travesty against women in the 20th century and beyond

Toxic Silicone Poisoning - The TRUE Breast Implant Stories - To reveal to the "people" what has actually happened to these women before and after implantation and their sufferings and realizations concerning the manipulation of general opinion and media interests by large corporations and the major cover-up that has taken place in this medical device industry. There are thirty-eight known chemicals in the manufacturing and contents of silicone gel filled breast implants!

These thirty-eight chemicals are all toxic alone if inhaled, ingested, or even handled; some causing cancer, some causing neurological damage; organ damage or tissue damages. Combined all together; however, they become a “chemical soup” that the F D A, the government, the National Institute of Medicine, the Judicial System, the manufacturers and their public relations’ firms, their lawyers, and the medical community have allowed to be classified as a “medical device” and “suitable for implantation” in the human body! In the “informed consent” papers one must sign before having the surgery for implantation of these “medical devices” no where does it state any information about this “chemical soup”, no where does it state any of the damage that could take place with these toxic “things” in the human body!

450,000 Siliconized Women Sue

Hundreds of thousands of women with breast implants—both silicone and saline— filed lawsuits against implant manufacturers in the 1990s. Yet the implants remained available in clinical trials for the next 13 years so that the manufacturer could gather long-term safety data.

In 1984, setting a precedent for all women with implants and silicone-associated illnesses, a woman named Maria Stern won $1.5 million in damages for autoimmune symptoms produced by her implants. Litigation momentum has been building ever since. By 1995, an estimated 450,000 American women had qualified to be part of a gigantic $4.25 billion class action suit against the silicone implant manufacturers. Many of the injured women fell through the litigation cracks in 1995 when Dow Corning, one of the principal defendants, declared bankruptcy, thereby taking itself conveniently off the fiscal hook. But now that Dow Corning has agreed to a smaller global settlement ($3.2 billion allocated, announced in July 1998), perhaps some injured women will finally receive at least some recompense.

As medical authorities and scientific experts continually downplay the risks of implants and assert that no association between implants and symptoms has been proven, the case for silicone implant toxicity is growing, fueled in large measure by the fact-finding efforts of the Plaintiffís Steering Committee (PSC) for the National Breast Implant Litigation, consolidated in Birmingham, Alabama. This national committee, appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Pointer, is comprised of 17 attorneys from around the country.

The nationally consolidated cases are known as the Silicone Gel Breast Implant Product Liability, Multi-District Litigation Action No. 926.Part of the Committeeís job, according to Karen E. Read, chief staff attorney for the PSC Office of Liaison Counsel, is to gather and organize evidence suitable for use in any and all court actions against the silicone implant makers. In legal terms, itís called discovery.

Since their introduction in 1962, silicone breast implants have been surgically implanted in an estimated two million American women. Some women get them as part of breast reconstruction therapy following mastectomy for breast cancer, but the majority get them because they want larger breasts. Now, 36 years later, it is alarmingly apparent that bigger, siliconized breasts can be hazardous to your health. We are beginning to see that the real cost of cosmetic breast enhancement may not be the $6,000 in surgical fees to implant them, but a host of autoimmune symptoms and strange illnesses that can crop up, typically within about seven years of implantation. Breast pain, breast hardness, and numbness in the nipple are common complications that may last for years, and may never go away. Breast pain, breast hardness, and numbness in the nipple are common complications that may last for years, and may never go away.

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Science On Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case

 Angell, executive editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, explores here a preposterous situation: an industrial giant, Dow Corning, forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy by numerous lawsuits filed on behalf of recipients of Dow's silicone breast implants?despite the fact that medical evidence to date shows no link between implants and autoimmune disorders, cancer or any other disease. In a style that ranges from gently didactic to plodding, Angell describes the events leading up to the FDA's ban on implants, the torrent of lawsuits that followed and the implications of the verdicts?overwhelmingly favorable to the plaintiffs and often carrying cash awards in the millions of dollars?for science and industry.

Manufacturers have threatened to stop producing heart valves, shunts and other vital medical devices because of the threat of liability; further, suppliers of raw materials for these devices often refuse to sell to American companies for fear of ending up in an American courtroom. The author gives a clear explanation of the way science calculates risk (by considering populations, not individuals) and ably contrasts this with our judicial system, where the focus is on the individual seeking restitution. Angell is an effective champion of the scientific method and does a good job of exposing the chaos caused by a runaway tort system

Silicone Spills: Breast Implants on Trial

As medical authorities and scientific experts continually downplay the risks of implants and 
assert that no association between implants and symptoms has been proven, the case 
for silicone and saline implant toxicity is growing "This is a tragic story of big business, disinterested government, a powerful medical profession, and certainly less powerful female consumers...."

Arguing that pseudoscientific theories of race from the 19th and early 20th centuries still impact our current standards of beauty and "unhappiness" with our own bodies, prolific critic Gilman (Difference and Pathology) explores plastic surgery as an extension of psychotherapy.

He traces the history of aesthetic surgery from its initial function of hiding disease (most particularly syphilis) to its later incarnation as a means of erasing ethnic identity (specifically Jewish identifications by nose shape and size) and creating a more "normal" appearance. Freud and other analysts were instrumental in establishing theories of aesthetic surgery and, Gilman argues, "provided a label for what it cured: inferiority."

Several of Gilman's chapters are devoted to tracing this intersection between theories of race, aesthetics and psychology in the works of early psychoanalysts. Although his overarching argument is compelling, Gilman's work relies heavily on technical language. This work will be most useful to the surgeons and therapists who counsel people seeking plastic surgery and to cultural critics interested in tracing mutations in concepts of health, happiness and beauty. (Nov.) FYI: Also due in November is Silicone Spill: Breast Implants on Trial, by Univ. of Nevada sociologist Mary White Weaver, depicting the social, legal and health-care battles fought by women with implant-related health problems.

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Silicone produces abnormalities in immune system functioning

Silicone elicits antibody responses and immunological abnormalities, according to a study of 40 women who had received implants more than ten years earlier. Among these women, 60% had an elevated ratio of helper T cells to suppressor T cells; 20% had a blockage in particular functions of T cells and natural killer cells. (Toxicology Industrial Health 8:6 [November/December 1992], 415-429.)

Scientists at the University of California at Davis reported that evidence suggests that the degradation products of silicone inactivate CD8+ suppressor T cells (key immune cells) and thereby lead to an inflammatory state in the body. (Food and Chemical Toxicology 32:11 [November 1994], 1089-1100.) The activity of natural killer cells is significantly suppressedin at least 50% of women with silicone implants observed in a study; this puts the women at a higher risk of developing cancer. The same effect was demonstrated in animals; it was reversed upon removal of the silicone. (Toxicology and Industrial Health 10:3 [May/June 1994], 149-154.)

High levels of anti-nuclear antibodies (ANAs), immune markers associated with lupus erythematosus, were observed in ten of 11 women with implants reporting autoimmune symptoms. (Lancet 340:8831 [November 28, 1992], 1304-1307.) When 500 women with silicone implants were examined, 30% tested positive for ANA levels; those women also had rheumatic symptoms. The results strongly suggested immune activation in women with silicone implants.(Current Topics in Microbiological Immunology 210 [1996], 277-282.) Based on a study of 3,380 breast implant recipients, scientists state there is a sixfold increased likelihood that testing these women will show elevated ANAs; the longer the implant has been in place, the greater the likelihood. (Current Topics in Microbiological Immunology 210 [1996], 337-353.)

In a study of 111 women (with and without implants), those with implants had a statistically significant elevationof anti-silicone antibodies (immune cells focused against silicone as a foreign substance in the body); the highest levels were observed in women with noticeable implant rupture or leakage. (FASEB 7:13 [October 1993], 1265-1268.) Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Medicine reported that autoantibodies of unclear significance may be found in 5% to 30% of women with silicone breast implants.(Archives of Internal Medicine 153:23 [December 1993], 2638-2644.) Researchers at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, in Australia, found that women with silicone implants (70 were studied) have elevated levels of autoantibodies to collagen, in a manner highly similar to women with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. (Current Topics in Microbiological Immunology 210 [1996], 307-316.)

Among 310 symptomatic women with silicone implants, there were elevated levels of novel autoreactive antibodies to silicone associated antigens(a specific type of heightened immune response) compared to healthy women without implants. (Current Topics in Microbiological Immunology 210 [1996], 327-336.) Scientists at the Technical University of Munich in Germany examined 239 breast implant recipients and found the following immunological abnormalities: levels of complement C3 were elevated in 42% of the women; complement C4 was elevated in 21%; and antithyroglobulin (an antibody that attacks a substance in the thyroid gland) was higher in 28%. (Annals of Plastic Surgery 36:5 [May 1996], 512-518.) When silicone leaks from implants, immune cells form granulomas (microscopic lumps) around the droplets; the granulomas are capable of severely disrupting the immune system. Silicone plays the role of an adjuvant,providing constant nonspecific stimulation of the immune system.(Journal of Investigative Surgery 9:1 [January/February 1996], 1-12.)

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Silicone produces a classifiable new disease marked by autoimmune symptoms

Auto immune disorders Among physicians willing to credit silicone with toxicological and immunological effects, a variety of names for silicone-induced disease have been proposed: siliconosis, undifferentiated or atypical connective tissue disease, silicone related disease, silicone reactive disorder, silicone disease syndrome, and silicone implant disease (SID). Typical symptoms associated with silicone include cognitive dysfunction, short-term memory loss, Sjögrenís syndrome (dryness in glands, such as the mouth, kidneys, eyes, and lungs), scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatomyositis, severe joint and muscle pain, incapacitating fatigue, swollen lymph glands, skin problems, peripheral numbness, multiple allergies, headaches, hair loss, sunlight sensitivity, central nervous system disorders (similar to multiple sclerosis), and others.

Among 176 breast implant patients examined by doctors at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, Orthopaedic Institute, in New York City, the most frequently reported symptoms were chronic fatigue (77%), cognitive dysfunction (65%), severe joint pain (56%), dry mouth (53%), dry eye (50%), hair loss (40%), and difficulty in swallowing (35%). (Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatology 24:1 Suppl 1 [August 1994], 29-37.) A study of 50 women with implants revealed that 89% complained of fatigue, 75% of generalized stiffness, 71% of poor sleep, and 78% of joint pain. Positive ANAs were found in 38% of these patients. (Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatology 24:1 Suppl 1 [August 1994], 44-53.)

Colleen wanted larger breast, but encountered health problems in the process

My name is Colleen Rose McKenzie. This is the story of my years of struggle with illness caused by my breast implants. I was an average sized girl with an athletic build and small breasts. Many times I wished I had larger breasts because I thought I would look better, clothes would fit better and I would have higher self esteem. Hearing about saline breast implants, which were supposed to be the safe alternative to silicone gel, seemed like an answer to my prayers.

At my consultation with the surgeon, I was told that the worst thing that could happen was that the implants could rupture (which would take the impact of a car crash) and I would have to have them replaced. Also, the implant rupture may cause a small infection that could be quickly cured with antibiotics. It sounded too good to be true...little did I know it was. I was implanted in 1997 at the age of 19 with saline-filled breast implants. I was happy with the way my new breasts looked.

Three photos of ColleenAbout a year and a half later, I started feeling like I had the flu constantly. I was calling in sick to work and going to the doctor often. I did the best I could at work, where I worked as a graphic designer, and tried to ignore the way I was feeling. I started having extreme fatigue where I would fall asleep at work and some days, couldn't even get out of bed.

When I was awake, I was very dizzy and too much activity would cause me to pass out. I was put through all the tests and was diagnosed with depression. I saw a psychologist once a week and was put on two anti-depressants and an anxiety medication. I just got worse and worse and ended up taking a leave of absence from work.

I laid in bed every day and cried. I was distraught and suicidal. A member of my family was with me almost all the time taking care of me. I could not function. Eventually, because I was so medicated, I managed to go back to work. I couldn't focus or think and I could barely read. At this time, I was still blaming all of my symptoms of illness on depression, because that was the only diagnosis I had gotten. It was a daily struggle to do my best to concentrate with this fog in my head.

I was constantly sick, taking days off for flu or sinus infections. It was so hard not being able to tell my employer why I was so sick all the time, because I really didn't know myself. Then the pain started. My joints, muscles and bones ached all over my body. I started having significant memory loss which greatly affected my work. Soon, working was no longer an option.

I continued to get worse. I couldn't drive, read or do anything that required focus and my body was racked with constant pain. Sometimes, I couldn't even hold a conversation. All I could do was lie in bed every day and wonder if I was going to live through this. For a while, I didn't think I would.

After countless visits to specialists, and too many tests to list, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein Barr Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. The medicine I was put on did not help my symptoms, and I continued to get sicker. One day, my mom brought up the subject of my implants. I guess the thought that my implants were making me sick was always there in the back of my mind, but I figured that surely the doctors I had seen would have told me if that was a possibility. I did some research on the internet and found most of my symptoms congruent with women who had silicone poisoning.

 But I had saline implants, not silicone. Further research told me that, yes, my implants contain saline, but the shell is made out of silicone. I contacted an online support group by email asking about tests or some way to know if my implants were to blame for my sickness. The email I received back from the support group referred me to a doctor who had developed a test for silicone poisoning. His name is Dr. Douglas R. Shanklin. They went on to list his contact information.

I was shocked and elated to see that his office was in Memphis, where I live! I contacted Dr. Shanklin, who sent me to a pathology lab and had me tested. The results came back positive. Finally, I had an answer! I was happy that I now knew what was making me so sick, but at the same time, so devastated that something I had chosen to do to improve my appearance was the cause. I felt so selfish. My family and I had been through so much suffering because I wanted larger breasts.

My greatest symptoms were:
Depression - extreme fatigue - fainting
Nausea - fazes of extreme sleepiness and insomnia
Constant joint, muscle and bone pain
Swollen, sore lymph nodes - cognitive difficulties including memory loss
Blurred vision and temporary vision loss in one eye
Swollen abdomen, face and hands - rashes - daily fever
"Flu feeling" constantly - hair loss - bruising - weight gain
Extreme nose bleeds resulting in trips to the ER - difficulty breathing

Dr. Shanklin referred me to a surgeon who had experience removing breast implants. I had a bilateral capsulectomy with removal of implants on August 22, 2003. Immediately, my vision improved (I could barely make out people's faces before) and the Fibromyalgia pain seemed to be less intense. About three weeks after having my implants removed, I felt like I was on my way to recovery. Through talks with Dr. Shanklin, who I truly believe to be my guardian angel, I know that I may or may not ever recover fully.

My marriage suffered greatly because of my illness. I was really hard for my husband to understand for a long time because we had no diagnosis. He just wanted me to get up, go back to work and be his wife again...but I couldn't and I couldn't tell him. He had to take care of everything around the house and get a second job to barely have enough money to pay our bills. When I began to recover, I realized how much I had changed, My priorities and the way I viewed myself and life in general changed so much. My husband and I grew apart more and more. We decided to file for divorce after seven years of marriage.

It is difficult for me to put into words how much my family and I have suffered. I have lost years that should have been some of the best of my life. I still deal with anger and bitterness toward the implant manufacturers, plastic surgeons and society for it's views of women and the size of their breasts. Also, I have guilt that all these years of pain and suffering were caused by something that I chose to do...I wanted larger breasts and it almost killed me. Worst of all, I put my family through hell.

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Mary McDonough Breast Implant Story - "If I had been told by my doctor that after having implants I might break out in rashes, run fevers, and become sensitive to light, I never would have had implants. If I had been told I would have muscle pain, that I would be stiff, and have chronic fatigue, I never would have had implants. If my doctor had told me that I would wake up feeling like I was hit in the head with a frying pan, that I would have dry eyes, shooting pain in my ribs and chest, and my breasts would ache, I never would have had implants. If he had told me there was even the slightest chance that I might develop connective tissue disease or that I wouldn't be able to pick my daughter up or hold her close, believe me, I never would have made that choice. Within the first 24 hours my chest and back had a terrible rash. The other symptoms developed over the years. I never imagined that the implants were the cause. As I got sicker and sicker, my career went downhill. My illness also put a strain on my marriage."

Kacey Long Breast Implant Story - "Immediately after surgery, I began experiencing weird, shooting arm pains. Then slowly, every joint/bone/muscle in my body was in excruciating pain. I was exhausted all of the time, had no energy, experienced hair loss, and had pains in my chest, heart, and ribs. I had trouble remembering things and thinking clearly. The list goes on and on---before implants, I just had allergies. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondilitis (arthritis of the neck and spine), fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. My doctor thought silicone was the problem. I lived in doctor's offices, I was bed-ridden, and I was disabled. (I've got the handicapped parking pass and am waiting on my lawyer's appeal for my disability claim). My "safe" saline breast implants cost me everything. The surgery to put them in cost $4500, and to take them out was the best $6400 my parents could have spent. Yep, my parents helped me, because I was still paying the cost to have them put in. I never thought about my implants being dangerous. Almost all of my doctors agreed that my health problems were not related to implants. The fact is, these saline implants are encased in silicone, and silicone can be harmful to your body! The silicone shell is enough to cause autoimmune diseases and various health problems. I was tested for silicone poisoning, and I came up positive. My breast implants were removed 6 months ago (in the fall of 2003), and my health has improved dramatically. I feel like I will eventually get my life back, but it won't be without a fight and a continuous struggle."

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Silicone is a biologically active and toxic substance

Very large Breast implants Silicone breast implant The original statement by the Dow Chemical Company in the 1940s, repeated hundreds of times since, that silicone is biologically inert and nontoxic, was based on a single one-week study of rats and guineas pigs. (In 1943, Dow Chemical Company and Corning Glassworks formed Dow Corning Corporation to market silicone and silicone implants.)

The basic gel implant fillerñDC 360 silicone fluid was once considered worth following up for development by Dow Corning scientists as a potent insecticide, one of the few known substances capable of killing cockroaches. Dow Corning researchers also studied silicone as a possible better chemical warfare and riot control agent,according to a 1969 internal memorandum obtained by the PSC.

The silicone gel is not a single substance but a fluid comprised of numerous different versions of silicone, such that it is better termed a chemical soup. Research collected by the PSC shows that silicone has marked effects on the adrenal glands and liver, induces chronic inflammation, and degrades into smaller molecules, including silica. Silicone fed to rabbits produced widespread toxic effects including kidney and spleen damage within four months. (Stanford Medical Bulletin, 10:1 [1952], 23-26.)

That silicone is toxic in both animals and man is well proven,stated John S. Sergent, M.D., and colleagues in Textbook of Rheumatology (W.B. Saunders Company, 1993). Silicone degrades into silica, usually at the surface of the gel implant, then fragments and subdivides into millions of microdroplets capable of migrating throughout the body (PSC Records No. 1352, 7017: these are documents produced by Dow Corning in national litigation). Silica in the body is a toxic, carcinogenic substance, damaging the immune system, killing cells, and producing silicosis.

Silicone and its contaminants which bleed through its surrounding implant envelope into neighboring tissue have the potential for significant toxicity in the implant recipient.(Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatology 24:1 Suppl 1 [August 1994], 11-17.) According to research gathered by attorney Richard Alexander, of the Alexander Law Firm in San Jose, California, Dow Chemical and Dow Corning have been aware of the toxic effects of silicone and silica since the 1950s, based on their own studies, but never published the data. They knew these substances were bioreactive, immunogenic, toxic, and inflammatory when introduced into the human body,states Alexander. (Update on Breast Implants,January 1998, website: http://consumerlawpage.com.)

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine concluded in 1995: From a pathophysiological perspective, silicones should be expected to be bioactive materials and the physico-chemical and immunological data at the experimental level are compelling.(Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition 7:2 [1995], 101-13.

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1. Methyl Ethyl Ketone
2. Cyclohexanone
3. Isopropyl alcohol
4. Denatured Alcohol
5. Acetone
6. Urethane
7. Polyvinyl Chloride (Liquid vinyl) This ingredient was used in all medical devices made at Edwards Lab, from tubing to gel.
8. Lacquer Thinner
9. Ethyl Acetate
10. Epoxy Resin
11. Epoxy Hardener - both 10 & 11 are chemically known as glycosides Ether of Bisphenol A.
12. Amine
13. Printing Ink
14. Toluene
15. Dichloromethan (Methylene Chloride) This breaks down in the body so blood cannot carry oxygen: Metabolizes carbon monoxide poisoning. Causes CSN depression.
16. Freon
17. Silicone
18. Flux
19. Solder
20. Metal cleaning Acid
21. Lofol (Formaldehyde)
22. Talcum Powder
23. Color Pigments as Release Agents
24. Oakite (Cleaning Solvent)
25. Eastman 910 glue (Cyanoacyrylates)
26. Ethylene Oxide (ETO)
27. Carbon Black
28. Xylene
29. Hexone
30. Hexanone2
31. Thixon-OSN-2
32. Antioxidant (Rubber)
33. Acid stearic
34. Zinc Oxide
35. Naptha (Rubber Solvent)
36. Phenol
37. Benzene - Known Carcinogen!!!!! KNOWN TO CAUSE IMMUNE DISEASE!!!!!!