A personal trainer who had her breast implants removed after a series of illnesses has revealed that doctors were hesitant to do the procedure as they worried it would ruin her figure.
Bec Donlan, 33, who is originally from Australia but lives in New York, was born with pectus excavatum – a concave chest wall – and decided to get Biocell textured implants aged 22 after a series of comments about her appearance left her feeling self-conscious.
However, when the fitness influencer began waking up on numerous occasions with her breast inflamed, she considered getting the implants removed.
‘Doctors told me they wouldn’t do it because it wouldn’t look good,’ she said, speaking to Real Self. One even said, “You’ve got a Sports Illustrated body and I’m going to leave you looking terrible, so I’m not doing it.’
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Bec Donlan, who lives in New York, had a breast augmentation at age 22, after comments about her ribs being visible in her chest made her feel self-conscious (pictured before having the implants removed)
Bec (pictured now), says she’s removed her Biocell textured implants after experiencing a series of illnesses
Bec – who is the the Australian founder of Sweat With Bec – says she chose to have a breast augmentation after seeing her brother, who also suffers with the same condition, have ‘barbaric’ metal rods put in.
‘Everything was good for three years, and then I suddenly woke up one morning with an insane amount of fluid around one of my implants—that breast was twice the size of the other,’ she explained.
Struggling to determine the cause and believing it could possibly be due to a bacterial infection, doctors sent Bec away with antibiotics.
However, the same issue reoccurred a few years later, along with some stomach problems.
Born with pectus excavatum, Bec (pictured before), said she was happy with her implants for the first few years but then began to experience problems including chronic fatigue
The 33-year-old (pictured before) grew concerned that her health problems were related to her implants, after learning that they had been recalled
It wasn’t long before Bec’s health worsened, and she began to experience chronic fatigue, hair loss and periods so bad that she couldn’t leave her bed.
‘In July 2019, I found out that my implants had been recalled,’ she explained. ‘ I reached out to my original plastic surgeon, and he was like, ‘You’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with them, don’t take them out for no reason.”
Breast Implant Illness
- BII is a term used by women who have breast implants and who self-identify and describe a variety of symptoms that they feel are directly connected to their saline or silicone, textured or smooth breast implants.
- Symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, hair loss and headaches chills, photosensitivity, chronic pain, rash, body odor, anxiety, brain fog, sleep disturbance, depression, neurologic issues and hormonal issues.
- There is no current definitive epidemiological evidence to support a direct link between breast implants and any specific disease process.
Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
But after waking up with an inflamed breast months later, a doctor at the hospital urged the fitness influencer to remove the implants as quickly as possible.
She claims some medical experts she spoke to about having the implants removed were hesitant, as they believed it wouldn’t look good.
The personal trainer eventually settled on undergoing the procedure with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. T. Y. Steven Ip based in California.
The person trainer claimed he was honest that ‘it wasn’t going to look great’, but discussed the possibility of fat transfer options instead of having implants again.
‘Seeing myself after the explant was… a lot. It’s not cute—it’s a very deflated-looking situation. But it was crazy how much better I felt right away,’ she said.
Bec claims her skin improved and the whites of her eyes got brighter within hours of removing the implants – despite doctors saying it could take months for her to heal.
Bec (pictured after surgery) said some of the doctors who she consulted were hesitant to remove the implants because she wouldn’t look good
Bec (pictured after) claimed her eyes got brighter and her skin improved within hours of having the implants removed
Bec (pictured after) has documented her recovery on Instagram in the hope of helping others in similar situations
Now, she has shared her experience on Instagram with her 56,000 followers in the hopes of helping others in the same situation.
Many have offered reassurance in response to photos Bec has posted following the removal of the implants.
‘So amazing! You look fantastic! I noticed in your stories how healthy your eyes, skin and overall face looks. No more eye drops!’ praised one, while a second penned:
‘You look as fabulous as ever! And so glad you are recovering well. Strong woman!’
A third added: ‘Gorgeous! Way to stand in your truth and beauty!’
A flood of responses on Instagram have come from those offering reassurance to Bec and wishing her a quick recovery
HISTORY OF BREAST IMPLANTS IN THE U.S.
1960s: Breast implants were first sold in the US, before the FDA regulated medical devices.
1976: Law changed, meaning that every medical device would be categorized into class I, II or III.
Those in the highest class (Class III) would require the most stringent checks – mainly: human clinical trials.
Breast implants, growing in popularity, were allowed to stay on the market while the FDA decided which category it should take.
But doctors started raising concerns in that the devices seemed to trigger side effects.
1978: An FDA advisory panel suggested breast implants should be Class II.
1982: The FDA decided breast implants should be Class III. They called on industry to conduct human studies to investigate a few main concerns:
- the risk of rupture
- the risk of leaks
- scars contracting
- that they are hard to mammogram
- links to lupus
- links to cancer
1990: Congressmen berated industry for failing to present human trials. The only trials to date were silicone injections in rats and rabbits.
1991: Industry submitted human studies but they were deemed poor quality. One only lasted three months.
1992: Internal documents from people inside the industry leader at the time, Dow Corning, were leaked to the press, showing that manufacturers had concerns of risks to human health.
That was the nail in the coffin. The FDA decided to ban silicone implants for women unless they were part of ‘adjunct’ trials to assess their safety.
2003/4: The FDA rejected the data presented by Inamed (now called Allergan) and Mentor (now part of J&J), saying they were poor quality. Seventy-five percent of women dropped out of the Mentor trial before their first follow-up.
The FDA then published guidance on what the trials should consist of. They needed to answer why implants break, leak, and how long implants last.
2005: Mentor and Inamed submitted three-year-long studies, which were criticized as inadequate by the FDA.
2006: The FDA re-approved silicone implants, but ordered device makers to conduct six trials spanning 10 years with at least 40,000 women.
2011: No data had been published. The National Center for Health Research, a patient advocacy group, lobbied congress for answers. The FDA published data online later that year, showing the studies were not completed. Three-quarters of women dropped out of the Mentor study, and 40 percent dropped out of the Allergan study.