Monday, January 21, 2008

NYTIMES: Do My Breast Implants Have a Warranty? BRAVO & Thank You to all who contributed!

Amaranth Productions

BE PREPARED Dr. Edward Melmed, in a scene from "Absolutely Safe," removes an older-model silicone implant that failed.

Published: January 17, 2008

A NAKED woman, her left arm strategically draped over her nipples, grins beatifically at readers in an advertisement for cosmetic surgery that equates breast implants with a more durable commodity: jewels.

Amaranth Productions

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER A patient in the anti-implant documentary film "Absolutely Safe."

Krista Schell needed two follow-up implant operations within five years of her first.
Jamie Schwaberow for The New York Times

Dr. Linda Huang tells patients that implants should be removed within 10 to 15 years.

"My plastic surgeon told me that my saline implants should last forever," said Krista Schell.

Ms. Schell, 29, who lives in Thornton, Colo., and works for the State of Colorado, said she first spent $6,500 in 2003 on breast enhancement surgery with a doctor in California. She had a second operation with that doctor last April to replace a deflated saline implant whose collapse made her left breast look "hollow"; her implants were still under warranty, but she did have to pay for the trip to California and lost a week's pay, she said.

Last November, Ms. Schell had a third operation, which cost $6,000, this time with a surgeon in Denver who removed both implants as well as extensive scar tissue, she said. She also lost two weeks' wages because she had to take time off, she said. The implants had also caused rippling, a lump around one nipple and pain. "If you look at the negatives, you would talk yourself out of getting implants," Ms. Schell said.

"If the envelope has broken down and the silicone has leaked out, you are trying to get out all of that goo," said Dr. Susan E. Kolb, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta who performs three to five explantation surgeries a week. To remove scar tissue, which can adhere to muscles and to the fibrous tissue covering the ribs, some doctors mistakenly remove too much muscle or breast tissue, which can cause chest deformities, she said. Click here for full article.