scorecardChrissy Teigen is getting her breast implants removed for 'pure comfort.' Thousands of women say theirs are making them sick.
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Chrissy Teigen is getting her breast implants removed for 'pure comfort.' Thousands of women say theirs are making them sick.

Julia Naftulin   

Chrissy Teigen is getting her breast implants removed for 'pure comfort.' Thousands of women say theirs are making them sick.
LifeScience5 min read
  • When Chrissy Teigen shared that she'd be getting her breast implants removed after having them for 10 years, celebrities and fans alike chimed in to support her decision.
  • Some women including Ayesha Curry said their implants made them feel sick until they had them removed. One fan told Teigen her now-removed implants gave her "breast implant illness."
  • Breast implant illness is a mysterious disease the medical community doesn't recognize.
  • Some women say they get chronic pain, nausea, fatigue, and rashes, after getting implants, and that the symptoms have disappeared after they were removed.

On Tuesday, model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen revealed that she would be undergoing surgery to get her breast implants removed after having them for 10 years.

"They've been great to me for many years but I'm just over it. I'd like to be able to zip a dress in my size, lay on my belly with pure comfort! No biggie! So don't worry about me! All good. I'll still have boobs, they'll just be pure fat," Teigen wrote in her post.

Teigen follows many other women who have undergone "explants" in recent years — many of them high-profile, and many of them citing more negative side effects.

Ayesha Curry, a Food Network star and wife of NBA player Stephen Curry, is one. She commented on Teigen's post, saying her implants made her feel sick so she got them removed. "Life-changing, you're gonna love it. I got mine out last year," Curry said.

Another Instagram user commented: "I just had mine removed too! Still healing and feel much better. No more worrying about breast implant illness."

Though Teigen herself didn't say she experienced "breast implant illness," it's a term that has shifted into the mainstream in the past decade. Thousands of women have complained of unrelenting pain, chronic fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and rashes after getting breast implants. Manufacturers have also failed to disprove the link between breast implants and breast implant illness, and one type of breast implant manufactured by Allergan has been linked to a rare cancer.

Teigen's post has reopened the conversation around breast implants and the risks that come along with them, big and small.

Thousands of women have complained that their breast implants are making them sick

Since the 1990s, women with breast implants have complained of a mysterious "breast implant illness" that causes chronic symptoms that keep them bed-ridden, Insider previously reported.

Curry, Michelle Visage, and many Playboy playmates have also spoken out about the health problems they experienced after getting breast implants.

But doctors haven't been able to find medical evidence that the cluster of symptoms known as "breast-implant illness" exists, and so the plastic-surgery community at large continues to operate as usual.

Their complaints have been largely ignored, but a recent hearing underscored the dangers of implants

In March 2019, the FDA held a hearing on the safety of breast implants. The hearing was not about breast-implant illness, but about hundreds of reports that women with breast implants had developed a rare form of cancer called breast-implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL.

The vast majority of BIA-ALCL cases were linked to Allergan's textured Biocell implant, which have since been recalled. The hearing exposed an uncomfortable fact: There's a lot the medical community doesn't know about the long-term effects of breast implants of any kind.

"It makes me question whether I should have gotten implants in the first place," Kim Horner, a woman who has the recalled implants but no symptoms, previously told Insider.

A handful of surgeons in the United States are now refusing to offer breast implants to their patients, but other surgeons say there is not enough "credible" evidence on breast implant illness.

"There are more people walking around with breast implants than any other medical device, including cardiac pacemakers, so if 'breast implant illness' was a cause for concern, we'd know about it already," Dr. Daniel Maman, a board-certified plastic surgeon, told Shape magazine.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons doesn't have a stance on breast implant illness, but ASPS President Dr. Alan Matarasso previously told Insider the organization is "concerned and speaks regularly with the FDA, women's groups, and manufacturers about" about the risks of implants.

Social media has allowed women who say they have breast implant illness to advocate for each other

Though Teigen, a social media powerhouse with more than 29 million followers, didn't cite breast implant illness as the reason for her implant removal, her post acted as yet another outlet for women who have concerns about their breast implants.

In addition to Teigen's post, there are more than 250 online groups, pages, and communities dedicated to supporting women with breast implant illness, according to one advocacy organization's running list. One group alone has more than 96,000 members.

Susan Barrow, a woman who had her implants removed in May 2019 after years of chronic fatigue and breathing problems, previously told Insider she noticed immediate health improvements after surgery.

"My eyes looked whiter and less swollen and I was less puffy in my face" a few days later, she said. Barrow added that in the months since her explant, the name for the removal procedure, her energy levels were the highest they'd been in a long time.

These days, Barrow spends her time advocating for other women who say they have breast-implant illness. She said multiple women contact her weekly through support groups to discuss their struggles with the illness and seek Barrow's advice.

"I encourage them that they'll get through this," Barrow said. She even goes with some of them to interview doctors. Until the broader plastic-surgery community changes course, many women with breast-implant illness find their best advocates are each other.

Read the original article on Insider