“I just decided that I was done having kids and now I can finally get my implants,” explained Tara Wood.
It was something that was supposed to make her feel better about her body, but instead caused her more harm than she ever imagined.
“I remember there was all this pressure on my chest. I just thought it was probably because you were cut open,” Wood said.
Wood lives in Fenton. She said she's always been athletic and considered herself in good health. In 2012, she decided to get implants. Soon after, the problems began.
"The body pain, my hands and feet would go numb,” she explained.
That’s when Wood said a series of health problems started to plague her life
“I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s. I have Lupus markers, cystic acne like crazy, chronic swelling," she said.
The health issues worsened over the next six years. Wood said weight gain, body pain, swollen hands and feet were a part of her new life.
She said doctors couldn’t figure it out either, until one day she heard about breast implant illness.
"I thought, that's crazy. The doctor said they were safe," Wood said.
Wood started connecting the dots, and after a few months was certain her health issues were from her implants. She decided to have a procedure, known as an explant, or en bloc, done.
The procedure removes not only the implants, but the scar tissue around them, according to Dr. Amy DeRosa, a plastic surgeon.
“I don’t feel comfortable putting them in on a cosmetic level,” DeRosa said.
The doctor performed Wood’s explant last year. The procedure has become so popular, DeRosa said she does a half dozen removals a week in her metro Detroit office.
“It’s been amazing. The improvement that we find. Some women say that within one week they feel an immediate clarity to their brain, to their head. Their eyes are brighter, they have improvement in their skin tone,” DeRosa said.
But why did these women have so many issues in the first place?
“We don’t have any reasoning behind it yet. Some women have a baseline autoimmune disorder to begin with. So, there’s a little bit of clarity there with no autoimmune reaction, but many patients. Many, many of them have no autoimmune disorders,” DeRosa explained.
In the last few years, DeRosa said she decided to stop performing implant surgery all together.
She said it will stay that way until the FDA can figure out why so many women are having adverse reactions.
“All implants, no matter if they’re filled with silicone or filled with saline, the shell is a silicone shell. So that’s what the body comes in contact with, and what it would react to," DeRosa explained.
Wood just celebrated her one-year anniversary from getting her explants. A day she calls the “breast day ever." Although her health problems have vanished, she wanted to share this very personal story to help others who might not realize their implants may be hurting them.
“Not everyone has issues immediately, not everyone has issues ever, but there are a lot of women out there that are having issues,” Wood said.
According to the FDA, some women with implants may have experienced health problems such as connective tissue disease, such as Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, trouble breastfeeding, or reproductive problems.
However, there is currently insufficient evidence to support an association between breast implants and those diagnoses.