A mother went blind after a breast correction.
Danielle Sheehan, now 32, got implants in 2010 at the age of 19 after winning a beauty makeover.
In the years that followed, the ex-model suffered from hair loss, fatigue, eczema and inflammation — but couldn’t figure out why.
“I felt like I was slowly dying, and I just wasn’t feeling well at all,” Danielle said.
She saw her doctor multiple times and even went to the emergency room when she lost her sight.
Danielle, from Norwich, Norfolk, said doctors suspected she might have an autoimmune condition or was overly stressed.
But she now believes she has breast implant disease (BII) — after her problems resolved within weeks of her implants being removed.
“I stumbled across other people talking about BII and saw they had the same rashes around their eyes as me, it was like a lightbulb moment,” she explained.
The doctors she spoke to had not heard of the condition but sent her for an ultrasound to check the integrity of the implants.
The implants were intact, but Danielle decided to have them removed anyway.
Within a few hours after the operation, she noticed an improvement in her skin condition.
She said: “I now feel secure in my body, I feel emotionally stable, the rash around my eyes has gone and the eczema is now reducing.”
“My hair looks better – it had gotten really thin and was falling out.
Now she wants to raise awareness about the condition and believes doctors should ask women if they have breast implants before testing for autoimmune diseases.
She said: “GPs need to take it seriously and ask about implants – it should be a mandatory question for girls who have an autoimmune disease.”
“I don’t think anyone would know – you would never attribute hair loss and skin rashes to implants.”
Tens of thousands of women claim to have BII on online forums, for which there is currently little scientific evidence.
Surgeons, including the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), have previously called for more research.
According to the MHRA, more than a million breast implants have been performed in the UK and surgeons say most patients are happy with the results.
What are the symptoms of breast implant disease?
Symptoms of breast implant disease can vary from person to person.
The most common symptoms include:
- joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Muscle weakness (myopathy)
- anxiety and depression
- brain fog
- memory loss
- difficulty concentrating
- Symptoms or diagnosis of an autoimmune disease
- chronic pain
- Dry eyes or poor eyesight
- hair loss
- Skin problems such as rashes