Plastic Boobs

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It’s high time Plastic Doll Heads had a post on plastic boobs. Breast augmentation, boob job, whatever you want to call it.I wrote the bulk of this last week… But after having explant surgery today I will add my thoughts.

I am writing about the recovery process over at my other blog.

I have felt very self conscious when I am standing at the front of a lecture theatre speaking about the beauty myth, media and the body, and unrealistic beauty ideals and expectations. Because I have 2 bags of silicone sewn inside my chest. I feel like a guilty fraud, I feel I should know better.

Why are we mutilating ourselves? Why aren’t men cutting themselves open at the rate women are?

This isn’t a judgement piece as many of my friends and readers also have breast implants for a variety of reasons, and that must be respected. At nearly 32 years of age I have grown in self-acceptance and confidence, and really hope I value myself for more than my chest size.

Many women have contacted me saying they too want removal It’s becoming a popular procedure. In fact I was told yesterday that at the hospital I attended, almost as many women are having them removed as put in. Age, pregnancies, lifestyle changes being reasons.

I like big boobs, I like small boobs, but when we are confronted every day with large ‘perfect’ breasts, it is little wonder than in the USA some 300,000 women per year succumb to breast implants, with some 10,000 annually undergoing the procedure in the UK.

It is far too simplistic to call us vain, or stupid, or shallow, or passive victims of a plastic surgery Selfie culture where anyone can morph into a model on Instagram. For many of the women getting a boob job there are medical reasons, and for the majority it is a private procedure that perhaps only spouse and close friends know about. We are made to feel like small breasts, or saggy breasts are a failure of our womanhood, and certainly breast size is conflated with femininity.

To have small breasts you are made to feel like a girl, a failure of womanhood. Our identities are massively connected to our breasts.

I am getting them removed for a variety of reasons. Mainly times change. I got implants to have big breasts: I don’t have big breasts, I just have silicone inside my chest. I hate having a foreign body inside me. I don’t like the look or feel of fake breasts; no matter how well done they are in no way comparable to real breasts. I fell off a horse in August and have been in pain with one breast ever since. They get in the way of yoga, horse riding, and most other pursuits. They are heavy and give me back pain. I can’t get a heart scan because they are in the way. I cannot feel my left breast anymore and I am starting to lose feeling in my right breast. I have constant pain in my armpits. I can’t lift my arms over my head.

When the theatre manager handed me my implants today…I could not believe the weight of them!! My poor back hauling them around.

And although I am 90 percent better from M.E, I am too aware of the alleged links between silicone and illnesses such as M.E. I appreciate to advocates of cosmetic surgery this is nonsense and ‘hysteria’, but I have read too many journal articles and spoken to too many women suffering to ignore the links. I personally do not think breast implants are safe, nor do I think they are lifetime devices, as the FDA clearly echo. Women need to be able to make an informed choice with ALL experiences and information presented to them.

“Dr. Michael Zenn, vice chief of plastic surgery at Duke University Medical Center. “This requires almost lifetime maintenance when you have a breast implant in. If you’re not telling patients that, you do them a disservice.”

Too often women are still being told implants are lifetime devices, despite the manufacturers saying 23 years max. The lifetime guarantees are for the lifetime of the product, not you. It is a lot of surgery and money to be potentially having your implants maintained for life. If you are cool with this, that is fine, but it needs careful consideration.

“Wednesday’s update on breast implant safety is the latest chapter in a 20-year saga. The FDA banned silicone-gel implants in 1992 amid fears they might cause cancer, lupus, and other diseases. But when research ruled out most of the disease concern, regulators returned the implants to the market in 2006 – with the requirement that manufacturers continue studying recipients to see how they fare over the long term”.

The ‘long term’ so far has been implants 5 years and younger. Studies have not followed woman at 10 years, 15 years, 20 years. Often women do not correlate their health problems with the possibility their implants may be causing them. Or they are told this is impossible.

This below is from the NHS website. If you think that sounds safe, great go for it. I know several women personally who have had their lymph glands removed due to silicone gel rupture.

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All in all, I have had 400 cc Eurosilicone implants since 2003, a top surgeon did them and I was very happy at the time. They gave my body confidence that as a skinny 18 year old I didn’t have. But silicone does not last. I want my body back and I see removing them as reclaiming my body. I feel it will be an empowering thing to do and a step forward in my life. What was right for me at 18 years of age isn’t right for me now. I personally believe you should have to be 21 to make such a life changing decision.

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For those considering implants do your homework. Then do more. Then some more again. Do your own independent reading, from journal articles and health sites to forums. Consider internal uplifts and fat transfers instead of implants. If you still want implants, choose the best surgeon you can.

I have learned a lot from having implants. Post-Ph.D I wish to embark upon research that examines the health implications and self-identity of women who have breast implants and removed them. Not enough research is being done on the topic.

I had mine removed this morning and am very happy with how they look and how I feel. I feel this is the beginning of a new phase in my life. I could not have done this without the support of my husband, mum and friends. Thank you so much x x x

If you want to contact me to discuss this issue please do. Leave a comment or tweet me @princessjack

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