KOLD INVESTIGATES: Why scores of women are having their implants removed

KOLD INVESTIGATES: Why scores of women are having their implants removed

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - KOLD News 13 investigates as more and more women are heading back to the doctor's office to have a common cosmetic surgery reversed.

Some women claim breast implants are causing them to have symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, hair loss, swallowing issues, and other health concerns.

So those women are deciding to have explant surgery, the removal of breast implants.

One of those women is Niki Burdette. She is a yoga teacher who has been teaching for the past four years.

"It is amazing. It's such a rewarding experience," she said.

Last year, her teaching got even more rewarding when she decided to get her breast implants removed.

"I would not change my decision at all," she said when asked about whether she was pleased with the outcome.

Burdette said she got her implants 20 years ago. She said it was the popular thing to do at the time. But she immediately started having problems.

"I had neck pain. I had strange rashes that didn't make any sense. I had nerve pain in my arm that I had never had," she said.

But she said she never thought that her breast implants may be the cause of her health issues.

"When I did my independent research I learned a lot about the different symptoms women were suffering, some of them made sense to me specifically," she said.

Dr. Gwen Maxwell with Maxwell-Aesthetics did Burdette's implant removal and said her story is all too common.

"I have found that when we take them out, it may be a psychological benefit or something real and medical, women seem to get better," Maxwell said.

Maxwell has been in practice for 23 years and has done her fair share of breast implants. But recently her office has seen an increase of explant procedures.

In 2013 Maxwell only performed four removals, but just last year, the number grew to 40. With more and people getting that procedure done, there is a debate whether the implants were really the cause of the problem.

"To date there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the myriad of symptoms that some women express when they have breast implants really is an actual disease," Maxwell said.

But she describes one way people may be experiencing these issues. She said the tissue in your body produces a layer to protect itself from the implant but sometimes bacteria can get in there and affect your immune system.

"It could be that that bacterial foam, that bio foam around the implant sets up a chronic inflammatory response of the body," she said.

But once that implant and that bacteria is removed, explant patients like Burdette said they instantly feel better.

"The weird rash is totally gone and has never came back. The neck pain is so much better; the back pain is so much better. My yoga practice has improved so much I just feel better," Burdette said.

Maxwell said that despite the popularity of the explant procedure, people are still going to her office to get breast implants. She said she is not seeing a decrease in those procedures.

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