Judy Kemecsei

California

My name is Judy Kemecsei. I am 51 years old and live in Los Angeles. I had silicone breast implants in 1980. I was never told of the risks or warnings of the dangers. I asked the doctor if they were safe and he said “yes, I would not have put them in my wife if they were not safe.”

I went to a doctor a few years ago and told her that I didn’t have any problems with my implants but I have read that they all eventually leak. I asked “wouldn’t it be better to take them out now?” She said they look and feel great, and they are not ruptured, so I shouldn’t do anything. I left them in.

I had no health problems for 20 years, and then 3 months ago I started to feel a lot of pain in my chest, burning and having a hard time breathing, and numbness and pain down my arms. I was always very fatigued, had to stop exercising, and going to work was very difficult.

Within 2 weeks I started calling plastic surgeons to make an appointment to get them taken out. I was sure all the symptoms were related to my implants, and I thought they were leaking. I had no idea I had a full blown rupture. I spent a lot of money going from one plastic surgeon to another, and each told me that my symptoms were not related to my implants, and they wanted me to get complete physicals, tests, and mammograms.

The doctor said my breasts looked and felt great, but when he opened me up my implants were totally ruptured, it was a mess. The silicone gel went up to my clavicle and into my armpit areas. That is why I was having the pain in my chest. It is very hard for me to believe that most of the plastic surgeons don’t know that the classic symptoms I had were caused by ruptured implants.

I feel like I had a time bomb ready to explode at any minute. Mine took 23 years, but most women are a lot sooner.

The doctor got out what he could – unfortunately, it can’t be all mopped up since it is like glue.

This has changed my whole life. I had never been sick, but now I still have the same numbness in my arm. I was cut open and scraped, not to mention that the top of my breasts are indented now and my breasts will never look normal again.

If plastic surgeons had told me the truth, I would never have put in my implants. It is pathetic how plastic surgeons take out so many leaking and ruptured implants every day and then put in new ones, like changing tires on a car.

If I can make a difference by talking about what happened to me, maybe my horrific experience was worth it. Put yourself in this situation. Would you take that chance?

This story was presented on behalf of Judy as testimony before the FDA in October 2003.