My Health Update After Explant Surgery

posted in: Functional Medicine | 21

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Last updated on September 27th, 2017

My Health Update Explant SurgerySince many of you asked me to write an update on my health after the explant surgery, I am happy to do it. I am not one who usually likes to talk about myself, but if it helps others, I am all for it.


There will be some good news so keep reading and please let me know in the comments what you’d like to learn more about or what your thoughts are.


As some of you know, in January of this year I had explant surgery to remove breast implants that I dearly regretted having done in the first place, 9 years ago. To read more about why decided to explant, visit here.


The decision to augment my breasts in the first place was emotional, and I relied on the cosmetic surgeon to inform me of any possible risks. The surgeon said that saline breast implants were much safer because, if they ruptured (which never happened, according to him), the saline water would simply get absorbed by the body. Problem solved.


However, now cosmetic surgeons recommend replacing saline breast implants every 8-10 years because saline water may grow harmful bacteria, so if they rupture (or leak without rupturing), the bacteria may make a woman very sick, to say the least.


What the cosmetic surgeon did not tell me is that the explant surgery is more complicated, much more involved, and more expensive than implanting. When they implant, they inflate the capsules after they have put them into the body so they need to make only tiny incisions in the hidden areas of the body. When they take breast implants out, big incisions have to be made under the breasts to have enough room to take out inflated implants along with their capsules.


Over the years, tissue grows around the breast implants. This tissue is called capsules, and the capsules may make it challenging to take out implants. The surgeon has to be able to help you make a decision whether to leave the capsules in or take them out. Both options do not seem to be ideal.


In my case, the capsules were taken out to remove tissue that might have been contaminated with silicone. This type of surgery is called En Bloc. The problem is that since extra tissue is taken out, the breasts may end up smaller than if the tissue was left in.


My left breast looks almost normal with a small indentation on the bottom but my right breast is smaller (before the implants my breasts were of equal size). Unfortunately, it has a visible indentation across the bottom part of the breast. Coincidently this is where my explant surgeon placed a bandage after the surgery.


My sweet husband, by the way, says that the indentation is not a big deal, but I’m a little self-conscious about it.


I was unable to receive any answers as to why I have these indentations and whether over time the shape of my breasts will get back to normal. Every time I asked my plastic surgeon these questions, she said that this could be easily corrected with fat transfer/grafting.


I also asked other breast surgeons about why I have these indentations. One of them suggested a fat transfer and the other said that she recommended waiting a year before doing any surgery.


Nowadays, fat transfer/grafting has become a popular alternative to breast implants. While it might seem to be a natural way to make breasts bigger, I’d like to share with you what I have learned. Now I know better – always do your own research!


First of all, in order to inject fat into the breast area, liposuction has to be performed, which is a surgery under general anesthesia. (My husband offered to be a fat donor!)


Second, since fat grafting has been available only since 2009, there are no large clinical studies with long-term follow-ups.


Some doctors are concerned that fat injected into the breast area may stimulate the growth of cancer cells. (source) Moreover, in this study, 16.7% of patients developed cysts where the injected fat calcified. On the mammogram, it would be hard to tell if the cysts are benign or cancerous and biopsy would be needed to make this decision.


To me, all this sounds like a nightmare. And most importantly, why should I go through all this? And I need to mention that the injected fat may get absorbed by the body over time, making further surgeries a very expensive hobby.


With this said, let’s talk about the good news now.


Despite the fact that my breasts do not look as good as before the breast augmentation surgery, I am happy to have my natural body back. Now I understand that beauty comes in different shapes and forms and I don’t have to look for the beauty industry to dictate their ideals. By the way, with some techniques I have been implementing, there have been some improvements.   And I believe over time my body will settle into its natural forms soon.


As you might remember from my previous posts, I had been diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions after I had had breast augmentation: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Addison’s. With the help of a very skilled physician, Dr. Myrto Ashe, MD, I was able to heal Hashimoto’s and a recent appointment in April to my endocrinologist confirmed that my thyroid works as intended. (Doctors had previously told me that there s no cure for Hashimoto’s.)


I am also determined to heal Addison’s. There is only one documented case of spontaneous recovery from Addison’s though, without any explanation why that happened. And if you have adrenal insufficiency of any type and are reading this, please don’t try it at home as going off medication can result in coma or death.


The approach of functional medicine is to find the root cause(s) of chronic illness. The thinking is that once the cause is eliminated, the body will heal itself. The common root causes of autoimmunity include infections, harmful bacteria, allergic foods, toxic chemicals, and stress. (source)


Two months after the explant surgery, I re-tested 4 markers that are associated with mold illness, inflammation, and autoimmunity. The great news is that 3 of them are way down, with one improving by 50%. And that’s in the context that I have been grieving because my mom passed away in February.


I definitely have more energy now than after the explant surgery. And I am able to work long hours helping people reduce exposure to toxic chemicals while performing the duties of a stay-at–home mom.


But wait, there’s more! Back when I started working with Dr. Ashe, I took the Nutreval test, which provides insight into one’s overall biological profile: mineral and vitamin deficiencies, gut health, ongoing exposure to heavy metals, digestion, and ability to convert food into energy, to name a few. This test includes a marker for oxidative DNA damage (which itself can indicate a predisposition to cancer. Three years ago, this marker was high for me. I am happy to report that it is normal now!


It was also handy to find out that I am unable to convert fat from foods into energy, and my body relies on carbs for energy. No wonder I was fatigued when I tried a low carb diet awhile ago. Now I am taking a supplement for that.


Some other steps I’ve been taking or am planning to take in the near future to achieve optimum health include:


  1. Heavy metals chelation therapy (after 5 months of this therapy, my stored lead and mercury went down)
  2. A fast-mimicking diet (studies show that this diet has great anti-aging, anti-autoimmune, and anti-cancer properties)
  3. Finding and eliminating sources of an ongoing exposure to antimony, a heavy metal
  4. Continue with mold detox until I am tested negative for mold
  5. Strategically provide my body with minerals, vitamins and amino acids it needs to heal
  6. Continue to eliminate exposure to heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances in my environment.


In conclusion, I am happy that I explanted. And I am also grateful that I discovered the world of functional medicine where taking control of your health is encouraged and healing is possible. I am looking forward to the time where I am not dependent on any medication to live and when I feel sustainably vibrant – even with age.


If you’ve read this far, stop stalking me! No, I’m kidding. Thank you for your prayers, energy, and support. I hope others thinking about implants or explant surgery might learn from my mistakes and experience. Thanks for reading!


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21 Responses

  1. Maggie

    Thanks for sharing. Your post was very interesting to read for me, I have had implants for 20 years. I had them replaced at year 14. The surgeon (who was not the same as the one that put them in) assured me that they looked good as new and were intact when they were replaced. I have had no health problems related to them or otherwise (that I am aware of) so I have elected to keep them in for now. I really do wish I had never gotten them in the first place though. They are completely unnecessary. If only I knew then what I know now about health.

    • Renee

      I’m right there with you…wish I never had them done as well. Purely a mid-life emotional reaction. The explanation of Irina’s surgery scared me. I have saline, probably for about 12 years now…no health issues. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Elena

    Irina, so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. Hugs, hope the time will help to cope with losing your parent. Happy to hear you are feeling better after the surgery, you are a beautiful girl inside and out, don’t let anybody make you doubt yourself or any of the decisions you’ve made.

    • Irina Webb

      Thank you, Elena. When my son was a baby, my mom was already sick but helped with him so I can work on this blog. She did everything she could help me create our wonderful community. 🙂 ~Irina

  3. kamila

    what are the 4 tests for the 4 markers and which labs offer them? Prices?

  4. Shana

    Sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. May you find comfort with family and friends. I am sure she is very proud of the compassionate daughter, wife, mother and friend that you are!

  5. Beverly

    Bless your heart, Irina, you have been through the wringer. I am so happy for you that your health has shown so much improvement in really what has been a short time since explanting. The results have to be incredibly uplifting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing your journey. You have a lot of courage and persistence. And thank goodness you have such a supportive partner!

  6. Lori

    Thank you for your story. My daughter has been contemplating prophylactic double mastectomies with implant reconstruction due to strong cancer history. But I am concerned about the implants after reading your story along with others that show auto immune problems. She already has rheumatoid arthritis and is sickly. What functional medicine doctor do you go to? Also so sorry for the loss of your mom. 🙁

    • Irina Webb

      Dear Lori:

      I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. This is a very difficult situation. Do you want to look into fat transfer instead? ~Irina

  7. Lori

    That would be ideal but she is 100 lbs soaking wet. She has no fat lol

    • Irina Webb

      So sorry to hear. This is probably not my place to ask and I am sure you have considered all your options. But is there a way to wait for her to heal and gain weight before doing breast reconstruction? ~Irina

  8. Tara

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Irina! I hope you continue to feel better and better everyday!

  9. Rocio Gow

    You have another angel in heaven taking care of you…The most important is be beautiful in your heart Irina, always remember that you can do all with God. 🙂

  10. Marisa Wiener

    I’m sure you’re already plant based by now, given your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy!

  11. Melanie

    I’m so happy you are getting back to good health! Do you by chance have a list or a link to all the tests you took for your detox? I’m having my explant surgery in June and I want to make sure to be properly cleared of everything! Also, did you experience hair loss while you had implants? If so, did your hair grow back? I’m asking because that is one of my main issues right now and I’m scared to death it won’t grow back. Thank you for sharing your story. It has been most helpful!

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