In recent years, having breast implants has gone from the world of movie stars and models to a common procedure undertaken by literally millions of women. While the reasons for undergoing surgery to get implants is a very personal one, many women say they hope that it will boost their self-confidence and make them feel better about themselves.
But the backlash against breast implants is gaining momentum, with a search showing explant surgeries, where implants are removed (and the original breast tissue also often lifted) are on the rise. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen has been open about regretting her breast augmentation, which she undertook after breastfeeding her two children. High-profile fitness trainer, Sydney’s Cassey Maynard, underwent the surgery two weeks ago, documenting her experience on Instagram. She told Sporteluxe she had succumbed to the “plastic fantastic” trend when she was working as a flight attendant in Dubai in her 20s.
“I just want go back to the true me and what I was born with. And I want to love and respect my body just the way it is meant to be. I don’t want my boobs to be the first thing people see. I want them to see my eyes, my smile and my soul,” Maynard told Sporteluxe.
We spoke to Perth woman Melanie about her experience with implants, and why she is now getting them removed.
Ok, first things first. What made you get implants in the first place?
I had a consult with a plastic surgeon in Perth about having abdominal surgery to correct the separation that had happened after two pregnancies. It was then my surgeon suggested I get implants so as to lift my natural breast tissue.
It was sold to me as one lot of surgery, and one lot of recovery. I just went with the suggestion thinking ‘why not’.
At the time I wasn’t confident enough to speak up about my thoughts of putting something foreign into my body. I trusted the surgeon and her advice.
How old were you at the time?
I was 38 at the time of surgery.
How did the implants change you, and your confidence, when you first got them?
At first they were great! I had lost a lot of weight before surgery and they sat so nicely. I had also recently separated from my husband so having a ‘new’ body gave me a bit more confidence. Not that wasn’t a confident person to begin with but it was just a different perspective.
When did you decide to have them removed? What were the factors that led to this decision? We’ve read a lot about Breast Implant Illness. Is that something you think you experienced?
I had been thinking about explanting for about a year beforehand.
They had changed shaped and my natural breast tissue was so heavy that the implants were no longer doing their job. When I look back I realise I really had a lot of breast tissue in the first place, so the implants were not ever really necessary.
Also, the 18-months prior to having them removed I had started to experience symptoms of what I now know to have been BII: brain fog, forgetfulness, menopause-like symptoms, night sweats, bowel issues, slowed metabolism, inflammation in my body and extreme retention of fluids.
Since explant surgery almost all of these issues resolved themselves almost immediately.
I was fortunate to escape relatively unscathed. I know a few women who were so much worse off with their health as a result of BII. There are online support networks for women suffering BII and there are some sad stories of women who have been very sick.
How nervous were you about the surgery and what was the process like?
I wasn’t nervous. I knew I was making the right choice. And I had consulted with a surgeon who was recommended by a friend of mine. He explained everything and I trusted in the process.
How far post-surgery are you now?
I am currently three weeks post op.
How are you feeling about your new boobs?
I love my natural skin. As well as the explant, my surgeon also lifted my breasts and fixed the damage that the implants had caused.
I can honestly say I have never felt more empowered in my whole life.
What would you say to anyone considering getting the (explant) surgery done?
I highly recommend it. Whilst there are people who do not suffer BII, it is my view that we were not meant to have plastic inserted into our bodies.
Do your research on plastic surgeons and (find someone) who resonates with your views and what outcomes you are seeking to achieve.
Implants are still happening, and that is okay too – as long as you make an informed decision about it and understand all the risks.
I would never say I am anti-implants, but I think you need to go into the process with your eyes wide open about it.
Have you ever considered getting breast implants? Or have you or someone you know had them and rave about them? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.