A Texas woman says she suffered with unexplainable physical and mental health issues for 10 years — then she got her breast implants removed
- Melissa Lima told Insider that she had been suffering from a series of complications caused by her breast implants.
- Lima's said she had been suffering from serious inflammation and depression, and much more for ten years.
A Texas woman said she was shocked to find out that her breast implants were causing her life-altering health issues for at least a decade.
Melissa Lima, 49, the former wife of the late MLB baseball player Jose Lima, said eight years after she got breast implants she began feeling sick with a series of severe symptoms that impacted her daily life. In 2020, she'd find out the implants were molded.
Lima is among a growing number of women who have spoken out about health complications they've experienced after getting breast implants and the relief. She first spoke about her health in a viral TikTok, which has amassed over 5 million views, in hopes of helping women take action "sooner than later" when it comes to symptoms they may be feeling after getting implants.
"Because the longer you wait, the more damage basically you've done on your body that's irreversible," she told Insider.
Lima received breast implants in 2002, at a time when record numbers of women were undergoing breast augmentation.
"Being in the spotlight and being a wife of a baseball player back in the day, it was really popular to get implants, big boobs, little waist and low hips kind of thing. So I was like, okay, let's do that," she said.
Lima told Insider that in 2010, she started feeling physical and mental health symptoms which included blurry vision, hair loss, depression, fatigue, anxiety, joint pain, inflammation, acne, weight gain, and rashes.
Many of the symptoms that Lima described were reported by thousands of women, and include panic attacks, brain fog, vision problems, insomnia, and other problems.
"And so all the symptoms that I was having, I just thought I was aging and getting older, and maybe my hormones are changing because I'm going through menopause," Lima told Insider, "I'd never associated it with my breast implants."
Lima said she also experienced depression and anxiety, which deeply impacted her daily life and her relationship with her children as a single mom. She would forget to be attentive to her two sons.
"I had such severe fatigue, anxiety, brain fog. I'd forget to make my son lunch, or first of all, couldn't get out of bed to make him a lunch," Lima said, referring to her youngest son, who at the time was in grade school. "It all is bundled into one, and then it just spirals, and you can't function, and it affects your daily life and not wanting to care if you're happy or not, or if you're there for your kids and that sort of thing. It did affect daily activities, just not even caring if I was there for my sons."
In 2020, about ten years after she first felt her physical and mental health decline, one of Lima's close friends told her about another person who'd faced similar symptoms and linked them to their breast implants.
After researching implant-related illnesses, Lima went to a plastic surgeon in League, Texas, Dr. Charles Polsen, for further examination.
Polsen removed Lima's implants to find her right breast implant, which she had for almost 20 years, contained mold.
Polsen said that people who have had their implants in for 20 or more years would most likely need to have them removed.
"Sometimes in surgery, the surgeon can actually put his finger right through the implant — it's almost dissolved," Polsen said.
According to a 2011 update by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, "the longer has silicone gel-filled breast implants, the more likely she is to experience local complications or adverse outcomes. "
"As many as 1 in 5 primary augmentation patients and 1 in 2 primary reconstruction patients require implant removal within 10 years of implantation," according to the FDA.
Polsen said patients can choose to "have their implants replaced at their 10-year follow-up or can elect to have screenings such as ultrasound or MRI to determine the state of the implant."
After Lima's explant surgery, which lasted 3 hours, her face returned to normal almost immediately. But while she recovered from most of her symptoms, Lima said some of them appear to be permanent.
"My inflammation is gone, and my joint pain is gone, and things like that, but my Hashimoto's won't go away," Lima said, referring to an autoimmune disease that impacts the thyroid gland. "And my eyesight isn't the same."
Six months after her explant, Lima said 90 percent of her symptoms disappeared.
While thousands of women have said their breast implants are making them sick, their illness is not officially recognized or diagnosed by the medical community, as Insider previously reported.
Experts have said the illness requires more research before conclusive diagnoses can be made. Meanwhile, the topic has been contentious within the plastic surgery community over the past three decades since the FDA banned silicone implants for most patients from 1992 to 2006.
"Breast implants and the subject of Breast Implant Illness is a topic that has come up a lot recently," Polsen said. "There are ongoing studies in our society, and we are collecting data actively and submitting it."
He added: "I see patients on a daily basis, and many times a patient does not need an implant and can opt to do something called a breast lift and forgo the implant altogether."
Lima told Insider that she is not advocating against implants but wants to educate those interested in receiving them to be aware of the potential consequences.
"My advice would just be if you've already made that decision and you already have them, just listen to your body and be aware. And be open to the idea that it could be the implants," Lima said.
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