Preventive Mastectomy: Breast Implant Illness and Textured Implants

Posted April 9, 2019 by Prairie Wife - 15 comments

Note: Before we dive into this post I want to say the following…Through my entire mastectomy journey, I have been sharing the REAL ups and downs of my experiences. My hope was to allow other women to educate themselves and make the choice that is best for them and their families. I want to emphasize that these are MY experiences and the choices that are best for me and my family. While my story is not what every woman on this journey has dealt with, it is the only thing that I can share. This post may not reflect the feelings of other women on this journey or even the doctors that work with them. As with all of our content, I encourage you to take what is helpful to you and leave the rest behind. Please feel free to use the comments to express your thoughts and share YOUR experiences. If any of you choose to share an opinion that does not align with my experience I hope it will be in a way that respects and honors my choices. Per our mission statement, the only comments we will delete are ones that are vulgar or rude.

“If one more person sends me an article about how my breast implants are going to kill me I’m going to punch them in the face!”

This is a direct quote.

And something that The Cowboy has heard me say many times.

Yes, I know their intentions are good. That these well-meaning people want me to know that the surgery I had to try and save my life may, in fact, end up killing me.

But, really…what do they expect me to say?

“Oh my gosh, I had no idea! I’m going to get these things out now?”

woman screaming

Anyone that knows me (in real life or through the blog) knows that I put months of research into my decision to undergo a preventive mastectomy.

The first thing I did when I met with my doctor was to ask him about Breast Implant Illness (BII). The information he gave me helped me to feel confident in my choice to use implants for my reconstruction.

Note: Other options are going flat (no reconstruction) or doing tissue flap reconstruction (using tissues removed from your body to create breasts).

When it came time for us to pick what size and type of implants to use for my exchange surgery, my plastic surgeon mentioned that he wanted to use Textured Implants. He felt that with my active lifestyle and the way my skin and chest reacted to the expansion process, it was the best fit. He explained that with Textured Implants there IS a risk of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (an extremely rare form of Cancer).

variety of breast implants

The risks of contracting ALCL from the implants he was planning on using is 1/200,000

For those of you that are math challenged like me, let me put it this way.

It is more likely that I will be hit with lightning 3 times than I will get ALCL from my implants.

We chatted a bit more and I felt comfortable with moving forward and following his advice.

Fast forward almost three years later. Every month or so I come across an article about BII (because it is shared in a mastectomy group or because of someone sending it to me) and per usual I always scrolled on by.

I am confident in my doctor and my choice.

Recently the Today show covered this topic and the fear that resulted was tangible in the mastectomy groups I am in.

You can watch the video clip below.

To sum up the video…yes the implants are linked to a rare cancer (I knew this). While some of these implants are banned (meaning no longer available for use) in Europe they are still approved for use in the US. The FDA decided to hold a panel to discuss the information they currently have about this connection.

In this discussion, they specifically addressed the exact brand and style of implants I have.

That information….that shook me up…I couldn’t just scroll on by.

So I did what anyone else SHOULD do when they have concerns.

I reached out to my doctor.

I did not google “textured implants and cancer.” I did not reach out to women that have had or still have implants but do not have a medical degree. I did not call my mom or a friend.

I reached out to my doctor.

patient and doctor

The first thing he said was that he was so happy that I had reached out to him.

He explained that his office phone had been ringing off the hook all week long because of this press.

And then he said that even after the FDA panel meeting, nothing has changed.

My risk of contracting this rare cancer is still determined to be the same, 1/200,000.

He still advised his patients to keep an eye out for any changes in the feel or appearance of their implants.

The exact advice he had already given me.

My Plastic Surgeon still feels that unless your implants rupture or there are cosmetic changes that make you unhappy, you DO NOT need to switch your implants out every 10 years.

The FDA does not recommend switching out textured implants when there are no issues. They simply say to keep an eye out for any changes (they mentioned this in the video).

I was so relieved after talking to my doctor that I cried.

As I waited for his response to my call I had visions of having to undergo another surgery, and going back to square one.

I know I could do it if I had to but…I REALLY didn’t want to!

I continue to be 120% happy with my decision to have a preventive mastectomy and reconstructive surgery using textured implants.

textured implants

I am thrilled with my final results and I am so so so thankful that not only can I do everything physically I could do before…I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed of.

Going through this process taught me that I am #strongenough.

I used those weeks of healing to dream up new goals and challenges.

Anyone that is struggling with their decision to have a preventive mastectomy, or is living in fear of BII I would encourage you to talk to your doctor.

If you had a good relationship with them before, listen to what they have to say and trust them.

If you have struggled with your doctor in the past and do not have faith in them, I would encourage you to find a doctor that you trust.

That being said, if you ask enough people, you can always eventually find someone to agree with you. It scares me when I see women that have gone to dozens of doctors until they find one that “finally is right” which to me means one that agrees with them.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I can only share my story, my thoughts, my experiences, and my opinion.

My choice to happily keep my textured implants is just that, my choice. 

Feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and experiences.

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15 thoughts on "Preventive Mastectomy: Breast Implant Illness and Textured Implants"

  1. Monica says:

    Thank you for writing this. It may give me the courage to tell others “thanks but no thanks”…. I too did tons of research and like anything there is always a risk. Guess we shouldn’t eat because we may choke

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I 100% understand what you mean, this was a scary post to write because of how outspoken so many people are about the “dangers” of implants.

  2. Laura says:

    100% agree with you previvor sister! So many have provided their input into my journey with NO research of their own nor any understanding of MY actual situation.

  3. Mony says:

    I wish all women can come together and truly discuss this in an open forum. I mean all women from all walks of life, women who choose augmentation to women that are breast cancer survivors and Previvors. I’m a Previvor with smooth implants. I did have textured but changed due to pain and discomfort. While I 100% understand what you are saying, there are 80,000 members including breast cancer survivors in the breast implant fb page who claim they are suffering from implants and are better after explanting. Something is happening the question is what and how can this be happening. While I support my dr and I feel it is important to do so, I don’t trust the FDA at all. Keep in mind the FDA approves drugs that side effects are determinental and in some cases death. From personal experience the women in the breast implant page are very aggressive. I’m not sure why. I think this topic is not No where near ending. I just wish there can me more positive discussions like you just did without us killing each other with words. I can say I’ve been diagnosed with inflammation and antibodies post surgeries ( implants ). Could it be too many surgeries, removal of breast tissue, implants who knows. My hs crp levels are high now and I’m pretty good about my health. I can say the women suffering from this are not letting this go and more research needs to be done. It’s not only about the new lymphoma but other things too.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Mony, this is exactly what I wanted from this post. I know my experience is NOT the only one. Thank you for sharing your experiences so that other women can educate themselves. I think both patients and doctors would agree that there is nothing “bad” that will come from looking into this more. Hugs and strength to you as you move forward and I pray that a solution can be found for you!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Ditto sister

  4. Kendra says:

    I understand this 100%! I’ve had family members, knowing I have the gene that killed my mom, knowing the pain I went through watching her die for 6 years, tell me that I was insane for mutilating myself just because I “might” get cancer. No…no…there’s no might…and it’s MY body, MY choice. Yes, I’m nervous about the news that the textured implants might cause problems. However, my risk of illness from these is a fraction of what my risk was with my natural ones.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I love that you pointed out that you clearly understand the risks and have made the best choice for YOU! as you said, it is your choice not theirs.

    2. Mony says:

      Kendra.. I loved your statement ” my Risk of illness from these is a fraction of what my risk was with my natural ones. ” This truly hit me hard. I have been dealing with some antibodies and inflammation lately and drs are trying to rule out what is the cause of all of this. I truly appreciate your comment.

  5. Cindy says:

    I have texture in Implants can I have the manufacturer paid happen removed and put new ones in

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I am thankful you were able to find a solution that worked for you Cindy!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have followed your journey and read various testimonials by you and appreciate your candor and telling it from your point of view. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for putting it out there for others.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you for your kind words xoxox

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