I received my implants in October 1981. It was not something that I wanted. Rather my abusive husband (who I might add was also a protestant minister) was not happy with my breasts after I had breastfed our five children. I had been pregnant or nursing for ten years straight and he had just had a vasectomy so he believed I would begin to lose my breasts since while nursing, your size is increased. He, of course, wanted me to get larger breasts (38C). I was small breasted to begin with and did not have a desire to have large breast. In fact, I had a friend who was getting a breast reduction at that same time due to the weight of her breast giving her extreme backaches.
I agreed to have the implants because my husband insisted with much wrathful force that I do this for him. He had already insulted me by attempting to bring other women into our home and going behind my back to have relations with them. Of course, they were all big-breasted women. When I did go in for the implants, I told the plastic surgeon that, although we had said I was going to have a larger cup size at the consultation (which my husband of course insisted on attending), I was not agreeing to that and I had them implant a smaller size to just lift them up from the years of breastfeeding. This made my husband furious and I received many blows to my stomach and face the day after surgery.
Fast forward to today's time and we have been divorced since 1986, I am now 62 years old. In July 2012, I had begun to have pain on my left side that I thought was my heart and one day I went to sleep and woke with my entire left side numb and in pain from my waist to the tip-top of head. My grown son who lives with me insisted that I go the ER and they ran every test they could think of. $30,000+ of medical bills later, they deduced it was not a stroke, heart attack or any other immediate life-threatening issue and sent me home to follow up with my PCP. My primary care physician had sent me for a diagnostic mammogram (via ultrasound) which took place on August 9, 2012 due to the numbness I had and was still experiencing in my left arm as well as a mass that was forming at about 3:00 on my left breast.
Before I left the facility, the radiologist came in the room and informed me that both implants had ruptured and that silicone was leaking into my body and that I should go to a plastic surgeon to have them removed immediately. I was shocked and broke into tears and had an anxiety attack because all this time I was of the understanding that I had saline implants. I had taken my best friend with me to this testing as moral support and it took her hours to calm me down.
I called my original
plastic surgeon who much to my surprise had my records 30+ years later. I found
out that my implants were manufactured by Surgitex and that I had, in fact, had
silicone implants with a little "touch" of saline to make my breast
appear more proportionate and feel more realistic. I lost confidence in using
him for removal due this information.
A woman I know had just had her implants removed and was having them replaced by a plastic surgeon she recommended me to and when I called them to tell them I had found out they were silicone, the surgeon was confident the insurance company would pay for the removal of the implants, especially since I had a mass growing in my left breast. The plastic surgeon sent the insurance company several letters at their request, explaining the medical necessity of this removal, and explained that I was not having new ones put in, rather merely taking out the old ones that had ruptured and that were a future threat to my health. However, I work for an insurance defense law firm that wrote their own health insurance policy and within that policy they have a clause that excludes payment of any claim that involves voluntary cosmetic surgery or any problems that may ensue thereof. I appealed and was told that if they made an exception for me it would undermine the integrity of their policy. Further, if they made the exception for me then they would have to for all others as well.
The plastic surgeon called me yesterday to let me know if I chose to self-pay for this surgery, they had worked up a quote that included the removal, anesthesiologist and outpatient facility cost, to a whopping total of $4,429. This was followed up by a letter in the mail today from the plastic surgeon expressing how unfortunate it is that the insurance company is not cooperating and how it is medically necessary for me to have these implants removed and have this mass tested to rule out any possibility of occult malignancy. They let me know that over time the problem will only get worse and that the continued leakage of the silicone into my breasts will make it more difficult for future breast exams, including mammograms, for detection of breast cancer and I should try to go back to my insurance company to plead for help.
I have exhausted my ability for appeals to the insurance company as they have given me their final answer. Thus, I have been irrevocably denied coverage for this surgery.
I am now afraid to hug anyone and have to sleep sitting up (the surgeon told me in consultation to not lay on my stomach or any such way that would put pressure on my breast so that they would leak more than they already are. And god-forbid, I should be in a car wreck or fall down, etc.
I now live in pain and fear of what will happen to
me. I found this website in my desperation to find others who may be able to
help me emotionally as well as be able to point me to any foundation that may
be of help to me. I have researched the implant manufacturer, Surgitek (being a
paralegal I have a pretty good ability to do these things) and they have long
since lost themselves as an entity of responsibility. I have no one to approach
and have exhausted all my resources. I need to have these implants removed from
my body. Any advice would be most appreciated.