Good Morning, My name is Sharon Schwengler. And I’m standing here today because I am sick from saline breast implants. I understand your focus is on silicone gel implants. But since the research that the companies are doing compare the risks of silicone gel implants to saline implants, I feel you need to know saline implants also can cause serious health problems.
I was implanted in 2005 and explanted 2 months ago.
When I was considering implants, I asked my plastic surgeon what complications could occur. He simply said capsular contracture or they could rupture or leak. And if they leaked, it would only leak saline into my body and if the scar capsules got hard, the doctor would simply take the implants out. When I asked my plastic surgeon if mold, fungus, or bacteria could grow in my implants, because it is water in a moist enclosed dark area just sitting there, he said absolutely not! He said the reason was that the water will be in a closed sterile environment. He was wrong, because I had aspergillous niger and fungus from my saline implants.
In addition to my plastic surgeon denying the possibility of fungus or mold growing in or around my implants, I was never told I could develop endocrine disorders or autoimmune problems. I asked my plastic surgeon about all the women filing law suits previously who said they had immune disorders from breast implants, and he said studies have found those women had predisposed medical issues, and anyway that was with silicone implants and these are saline.
Well, I was perfectly healthy before I was implanted, and never was I told if for some reason I had to get my implants removed, my breasts would or could look deformed. I was also was never told that the outer shell of the implant is silicone!!!
I could not make an informed choice about getting implants because I was only told the pretty about the implants: how it would enhance my figure and balance me out. No one ever told me the ugly truth about saline implants.
If I had known I could get sick, I would never have gotten the implants. I was never given the booklet that is on the FDA web site, which the FDA supposedly requires to be given to each patient. I was just sold the beautiful story of the glorified saline breast implant, which I bought hook, line, and sinker.
Before my implants, I had ran 3 marathons, 4 half marathons, and many 5Ks. About 3-4 years after getting my implants, I got very sick. I could not work out anymore. My hair was falling out, I had memory problems, I had terrible fatigue, and aches and pains in my knees, hips, neck and back. I was bloated, had frequent fevers resulting in chills and shakes, throwing up, constipation, vaginitis, candida issues (which was showing up in my blood and sinuses).
I missed a lot of work. Thank goodness I work for a fabulous company who worked with me when I was sick.
I have spent a total of $32,000 in the past 2 years on doctors, supplements, medications and procedures just to get better. I thought my implantation would only cost $6500.
I still have some fungal issues, but I am 80% better than I was! I had not been able to work out for a year and a half, whereas thanks to God, I can now weight train and work out on the elliptical.
I don’t know how often these kinds of health problems are caused by breast implants in others, but guess what, neither does anyone in this room. The reason we don’t know, is because the studies have asked the wrong questions. I don’t think this is coincidental. I think when implant companies and plastic surgeons pay for or conduct studies on breast implants, they ask questions which make implants seem safe.
I’m here to say it is time to find out what the real risks are of breast implants, which includes saline and silicone gel implants. Meanwhile, even if doctors think the kinds of problems I had are rare, it should be mandatory for doctors to disclose some women get very sick from their implants to patients who are thinking of getting breast augmentation.
Why isn’t there a warning label on breast implants like there are on most every other drug or medical procedure/surgery out there?
I know the truth, based on my experience and also because I have talked to many other women with similar experiences with their implants.
It is time for the FDA to require studies of women who are sick from their implants to see if they recover when their implants are removed.
Once I figured out my implants were the cause of my sickness, I joined a couple of online forums to seek other women who were experiencing the same thing. It was amazing how many women all had similar reactions and health problems — over 3,200 on one forum and 4,200 on another. To me that is just not a handful or a few.
Many of these women weren’t as lucky as I was, because they couldn’t afford to get their implants removed. Instead, these ladies are getting sicker and sicker. Some have died, some have organs shutting down, making them too sick for surgery, and some have committed suicide. Speaking of suicide, I wonder how many women have committed suicide because they didn’t know what was wrong with them and they didn’t know how to get better?
Almost all the women had similar stories with their plastic surgeon denying breast implants cause such problems. That’s another reason why so many women got sicker and sicker, going to doctor after doctor to find out what was wrong since they were told implants were NOT the cause of their symptoms
I am asking you to do something about it, so that other women won’t go through this.
There are doctors who don’t know how to help their implant patients so they feed them antidepressants to get them to go away.
Even if women are told their implants will not last a lifetime, they don’t realize this means implants might only last 10 years. And mammography technicians have told me they are told implants only last 5-6 years.
I plead with you to not ignore this growing epidemic of women with aging implants and serious health problems. Not everyone gets sick, but those of us who do pay dearly.
Please use my example to advise the FDA they should not be using saline implant patients as a “control group” to study the risks of silicone gel breast implants. The local complications are similar for all breast implants, and even the autoimmune symptoms can be similar.
Studies comparing silicone patients to saline patients might conclude they don’t differ, but it does not mean either type of implant is safe. Studies should compare implant patients to women who do not have implants, to find out how many are likely to be seriously harmed after 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years.
I thank you for your time today.