Viral video footage from a Miami plastic surgery clinic shows an old set of saline breast implants filled with alarming amounts of mold.
Explant surgery specialist Dr. Dev Vibhakar of Aqua Plastic Surgery removed the implants for a patient in March 2020.
Mold was present upon explant, but has grown exponentially in the three years and seven months since, according to images and video shared by the patient with the Times.
The patient whose implants they are, Amanda Despino, spoke with the Times extensively on Friday, detailing a physical and emotional battle with breast implants that spanned years.
Not including the cost of explant surgery, her efforts to heal herself cost her years of vitality and more than $30,000 in testing, a surgical procedure prior to explant, and other healing protocols, she said.
Turning ever closer to God, she was eventually led to have her breast implants removed.
She had had them for nine years.
Testing she had done prior to explant showed elevated levels of certain heavy metals in her body, which have since returned to more normal levels post explant.
Despino says the mold particles and discoloration were visible in her implants the day they were removed, but that it has continued growing in the 3½-years since.
Explant surgery with Dr. Dev Vibhakar marked the difference between her feeling “like death” and “the beginning of life again,” she told the Times.
“It took me about 2.5 years to feel myself again and to feel alive.”
“They still had particles in them and as she had them around, they kept getting worse and worse. But they did come out with particles in them,” she told the Times.
The microbial growth hasn’t been formally tested but looks like and is believed to be mold.
Zuluaga says the patient presented with a list of physical symptoms, some of them extreme: Fatigue, weakness, a lack of appetite, anxiety, and others.
“And then they did heavy metal testing and that was off the chart. So that was the most interesting because after the implants were removed, everything was normal.”
Despino had heavy metal testing done independently of the plastic surgery practice.
She says her elevated heavy metal levels were “definitely the implants.”
“If it were based off of tattoos or anything else, then how did the numbers drop?,” she asks.
“God saved me,” Despino told the Times.
“And many women who are hopeless and don’t know the root of sickness [and] who have implants, may really need to know it is real! I pray I can share awareness.”
Up next, the story of Amanda Despino’s years-long struggle with breast implant illness.
For more on why and how mold grows in breast implants, see:
- Moldy Breast Implants Came Close to Killing Me (October 2022)
- 30 Months Removed, Woman’s Breast Implants Are Full of Mold (May 2022)
- Dropping, Driving Over, Blending, Biting Breast Implants Doesn’t…. (February 2022)
Updated 12:15 pm to add postoperative and other images.