KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - There is a growing number of women who believe their breast implants are making them sick. They are coming together and connecting with each other through social media.
They believe they have what’s being called Breast Implant Illness although it’s not a condition that technically exists. Lynn Milam, of Kannapolis, thought her breast implants were making her sick. It took her years to figure it out and eventually have them removed.
Her reason for getting them in the first place was because of gastric bypass surgery. She lost more than 120 pounds and with that came several reconstructive procedures. Milam was exercising around the clock and arguably in the best shape she had been in in quite some time but she didn’t feel great.
“I was having muscle aches and spasms,” explained Milam as she listed through the symptoms she was experiencing. She went to her primary care doctor. Tests, scans, blood work all followed but there was no definitive diagnosis.
Fast forward a few years and Milam’s symptoms seemed to get worse. She started to lose her hair and was experiencing migraines, ringing in her ears and extreme fatigue.
“The best way to describe it is if you’re in the shower and it’s steamy. I’m walking through my days in a fog,” she said.
Frustrated she turned to social media and the internet. She found that she wasn’t alone. Milam discovered support groups filled with other women who believe their implants were the cause of similar issues.
“I wept. I had started to think that I was going crazy but to be validated by thousands of women who don’t know me but have the same symptoms,” said Milam.
One Facebook group that Milam is a part of has more than 65,000 members.
“Breast implant illness has received increased attention over the last few years but it’s been around. We as plastic surgeons are willing to place them in and we should be willing to take them out,” said Dr. Jospeh Hunstad. Hunstad works alongside his partners Dr. Bill Kortesis and Dr. Gaurav Bharti.
Breast augmentation is one of the most popular procedures for their practice and many women don’t experience what Milam went through.
Hunstad is on the board of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He’s not Milam’s doctor but knows about the issue she feels very strongly about.
“As a board member we are very in tune with BII we understand the meaning and sensitivity,” said Hunstad. The association has launched a breast implant illness task force.
Milam hopes the discussion about gets louder. She had her implants taken out in October of 2018. She felt so sick leading up to the operation that she feared she wouldn’t make it through the procedure.
When she woke up, she felt like a different person.
“The person I am today compared to the person this time last year I don’t even think you can compare the two,” explained Milam. Her symptoms are gone and she feels like her normal self again doing the things she loves with her family.
The FDA is meeting March 25th and 26th and will cover a range of issues including breast implant safety.