Breast implant disease: Houston woman Melissa Lima says health problems started after she had plastic surgery

Breast implant disease: Houston woman Melissa Lima says health problems started after she had plastic surgery

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A Houston woman believes she had breast implant disease (BII).

Melissa Lima, who was once married to former Houston star Jose Lima, first got breast implants in 2002. She said she was self-conscious about her breast size.

“It was the early 2000s, and it was about, you know, the Baywatch look. With the big boobs, the little butt, and the little waist,” Lima recalled.

In 2005, her implants were replaced with a smaller set. Both times, she said she went to board-certified, accredited surgeons.

She started feeling sick in the early 2000s, but never found out why.

“The end of 2019 is when I really got sick,” the mother of two said.

His face swelled up a lot, as did his feet. She couldn’t fit them into her shoes. She had rashes that would develop into abscesses. Lima documented her symptoms in photographs.

“Just general depression, anxiety and brain fog,” Lima said. “I couldn’t work. I couldn’t think about working. I’d call in sick all the time. I’d tell my boss, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I can’t even focus or have any interest in organizing my schedule.'”

He went to doctor after doctor for answers, but said none could identify what it was.

“Not significant, kind of alarming, ‘This is what’s going on. You have to deal with it,'” Lima said.

One of Lima’s friends saw a social media influencer post a video about breast implant disease. She started looking into it and thought that she was probably suffering from the same thing.

Lima contacted Dr. Charles Polsen, a plastic surgeon in League City, and scheduled an appointment to get them out in October 2020.

Polsen said explant surgery is not uncommon for him. In recent years, he has begun to do more explants than implants.

“Patients come to me with symptoms their doctors can’t otherwise explain,” he said. “For the most part, these are nondescript symptoms. They range from fatigue to joint pain to inflammation to hair loss and have no other explanation than to be related to their implants.”

He called it a diagnosis of exclusion, even though it’s not a formal medical diagnosis, and there’s no way to tell if someone has it.

The National Library of Medicine reports that more than 4 million women worldwide have breast augmentation, but BII is still being studied. There isn’t much research to explain who gets it and why.

“We’re putting in about 300,000 implants a year in the US alone, so even if 1 or 2 percent of people have a problem, that’s a huge number of people,” Polsen said.

Immediately after waking up from the anesthesia of her explant surgery, Lima said she saw and felt a change. She continued to take the thyroid medication prescribed before her surgery, but she stopped taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

“I would say that in about half of them, we see changes in the first week, but in the other half, it takes several weeks before we start to notice an improvement,” Polsen said.

The implant Polsen removed from Lima’s right breast was brown with black particles floating inside. She hasn’t tested it to determine what it is.

Polsen said that is rare.

Lima hopes that her trip can provide answers to other women who suffer without answers.

Neither she nor Polsen want to discourage women from getting implants.

“I would never want to discourage someone from doing something they want to do just because it happened to me,” Lima explained. “There are women for whom this will never happen, so I’m not saying breast implants are bad. They’re just bad for me.”

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