For the second time in four months, a woman has gone viral for revealing that her breast implants had grown moldy.
Both women had saline breast implants.
Both women attributed ill health conditions to their breast implants.
And both women say the sickness they suffered through all but disappeared after explant surgery.
“These things were close to killing me.”Melissa Lima, October 14, 2020
For 49-year-old Melissa Lima, dark mold swirled within her right breast implant while it was still implanted in her body.
Ms. Lima got her first set of breast implants in 2002, because being in front of a camera made her feel insecure about her body, she shared in a viral TikTok since seen 5.4-million times.
Eight years later, by 2010, she started to get ill, she says, “with severe joint pain, depression and unexplained inflammation.”
She had her breast implants permanently removed 18 years after first getting them.
In the interim, she had them replaced out for a new set.
Upon having her breast implants removed, she would discover that the right-side replacement implant had large amounts of dark mold growing within it.
After seeing “100’s” of doctors and still getting no answer, she says she gave up.
“As a single mom, I couldn’t get out of bed to cook for my boys and would often wonder if they would be better w/o me,” she shared.
That’s when a friend suggested she look into breast implant illness.
She made the decision to have her breast implants removed, in October 2020.
It was a decision she now says saved her life.
Her face and eyes changed within hours of explant surgery, she says.
Two years later, she says she’s living her best life and that her sons have their mom back.
Ninety percent of her symptoms resolved after having her breast implants removed, she told Insider, in early October.
Though saline breast implants are filled with a sterile salt water solution, mold can grow inside of them.
Visible mold growth inside of breast implants is extremely rare, relative to the total number of women with them.
(In the four months that the two women have shared their stories of mold growth in their implants, roughly 160,000 U.S. women have undergone breast augmentation surgery.)
Unlike their silicone counterparts, saline breast implants are typically placed inside the body before being filled to reach their intended size.
The upside of doing so is that smaller surgical incisions are required.
The downside is that the valves through which the implants are filled can become faulty.
Beyond the fill valves that are a part of all saline breast implants, the silicone shell that surrounds and holds the saline solution is semipermeable.
Without a full rupture ever being present or suspected, tiny particulate matter and fluids may enter a saline breast implant over time.
The medical grade saline solution that should be sterile may then become anything but, as blood, bodily fluids, and bacteria enter it.
If mold spores—which range in size from 2-100 microns—enter a breast implant, conditions within the body, including its temperature and darkness, can create a near-ideal environment for its growth.
@melissalima713 This is your sign. #breastimplantillnes ♬ CHANT (feat. Tones And I) – Macklemore