In recent months as breast implant related illness is gaining more public awareness and media attention, plastic surgeons are coming out swinging. We are a threat to their gravy train practices.
The plastic surgeons objecting the loudest are invariably on manufacturer payrolls.
A blog post by plastic surgeon, Dr Lisa Lynn Sowder, was brought to my attention this week. It’s well written and I felt she’s sincere, but it reflected the defensive position taken by most plastic surgeons in regard to breast implant illness. They don’t believe it exists except through psychosomatic manifestation.
From her blog:
Dr Sowder starts her blog post writing that in 2016 she removed implants from 44 women; more implants than she put in. Twenty-seven women had them removed for non-medical reasons, while 17 believed they were ruining their health. Later in her post she says that most, but not all of her patients recover after explant.
Breast implant removal is on the rise, while breast augmentation using breast implants is decreasing. I’m happy to read more of her patients had their implants removed than were implanted. This should tell her something.
Dr Sowder continues, saying she’s given the topic of breast implant illness ‘a lot of investigation and thought’ and highlights her 25+ years of practice. She recently presented a paper on breast implant illness for the Northwest Society of Plastic Surgeons.
She then gives a brief history which includes breast implants coming under scrutiny in the early 1990’s for their alleged role in causing autoimmune illnesses, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. This led to silicone breast implants being taken off the market (though they continued to be implanted over the next 10 years through studies, of which she was an investigator).
She mentions Dow Corning claimed bankruptcy as a result of a class action lawsuit, with a seeming insinuation that an injustice had occurred. Poor Dow Corning. I’ve had a local doctor literally spitting mad as he expressed his anger that a good company was ruined for nothing. I suspect most doctors feel this way.
The class action of the 90’s caused Dow Corning to claim bankruptcy with bloody good reason! The Dow implants I had were deliberately ‘rebaked’ to make them appear normal, though they were knowingly defective. And then Dow created a committee whose sole purpose was to find and destroy damning documents. At least one key player from those early Dow Corning days has served jail time for commodities frauds.
At explant I learned my implants had been recalled, but I was not notified.
Approximately four hundred thousand women joined the 90’s class action law suit, which included other manufacturers besides Dow Corning. Doctors tend to believe these women were mostly opportunistic, money-grubbing fakes vs having been genuinely harmed by their implants and seeking justice.
Continuing with her account of the history Dr Sowder states that gel implants were re-approved in 2006 after ‘exhaustive analysis’ of many implant studies.
In 2006 silicone breast implants were ‘conditionally’ re-approved, with manufacturers having to complete long term studies.
She seemingly doesn’t realize that the trials she refers to in the 1990s were skewed and stopped at 6 years, which is precisely when most women started presenting with complications. Women who’d had their implants only 6 months to 3 years were included in study results! The studies didn’t include the types of autoimmune illness women were developing.
Many had no idea they were even part of a study. Those that were followed up on weren’t followed long, and if they presented with complications they were dropped from the studies. The exact same scenario is playing out with studies since 2006.
Breast implants were not reintroduced to the market because they were found to be ‘safe’ after ‘exhaustive analysis’. They were reintroduced amid much conflicted opinion and because scientific studies had failed to conclusively prove a link to autoimmune illness. At the same time it had not been proven there was no causal effect of autoimmune illness. Breast implants have NEVER been proven ‘safe’! They were reintroduced to the market in 2006 as a continuing experiment, using unwitting guinea pigs.
Finally something we can agree on, Dr Sowder says she always found it odd that through the 10 year moratorium gel implants were available for post-mastectomy patients. If they were deemed unsafe for a healthy woman, how were they ok for patients with a history of cancer?
I couldn’t agree more. If breast implants are not safe for a healthy population they sure as hell aren’t safe for women with breast cancer! This was a blatantly callous, inhumane experiment, using a demographic they believed would die anyway. When my sister-in-law was going to get implants after mastectomy two doctors told me it didn’t matter, she’d be dead within 5 years anyway. Sickening. I wonder did Dr Sowder speak up about her concerns with cancer patients getting implants unsafe for a healthy population?
She writes also that she found it odd F.D.A. didn’t recommend removal of gel implants that were deemed unsafe for use.
Again, I agree. If breast implants were removed from the market for being potentially unsafe HOW was it OK to leave them in millions of women that already had them! And again, I wonder if she spoke up?
She then fast forwards to the past few years when she’s been seeing women convinced their breast implants are ruining their health. She describes a demographic younger than her average breast implant removal patients, and makes the observation that they ‘tend to embrace alternative medicine and distrust the medical establishment’. They all, according to her, are part of online breast implant support forums.
She states she finds it odd that ladies claiming a list of symptoms related to their implants all look so healthy and want to know when they can get back to their regular physical activities after explant.
Given she’s a medical doctor it’s unforgivable that she’d doubt someone being genuinely ill based on how ‘healthy’ they look. I’ve had friends diagnosed with terminal stage 4 cancer that looked the picture of health. It is a stunning contradiction that this is the case, but it’s common and as a medical doctor she should be well aware of this fact. I find this an irresponsible and calloused comment.
IF doctors had BELIEVED I was as ill as I truly was in the top photo instead of leaving me till I was weeks away from dying HOW DIFFERENT my prognosis could have been!
From there she goes on to say that the symptoms women present with are vague and common to other things, like menopause, hypothyroidism, depression, anxiety, and general aging – as though this diminishes the legitimacy of the symptoms we all experience once ill. She quotes Dr Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine: “These much discussed but elusive disorders remain entirely speculative .. they are variously said to consist of just about every symptom imaginable in biologically improbable and shifting combinations. Since they have yet to be objectively and consistently defined, it is impossible to study whether they have anything to do with breast implants.” She recommends Dr Angell’s book, ‘Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in Breast Implant Cases’.
Though she quotes Dr. Marcia Angell I believe she’d find her of a different opinion now since realizing that the ‘science’ used in the study of breast implants is corrupted. Dr Angell subsequently wrote a book entitled, ‘The Truth About Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It’. When she authored the afore mentioned book on science and breast implants she was seemingly convinced with the integrity in science. “There were some prominent scientists which wrote there wasn’t evidence for illness. But, today there is more and more evidence, that COI’s influencing science. And sadly, authorities all over the world are still referring to conflicted science.” (Quote: Meldpunt Klachten Siliconen)
Cigarette smoking creates symptoms that could be consistent with other illnesses; it’s only through the acceptance that smoking is harmful that cigarettes are suspect when a smoker presents with such symptoms.
Many things can cause autoimmune symptoms. THIS does NOT negate breast implants making women sick in this way. It was confirmed that my onset of autoimmune type symptoms coincided precisely with the point of rupture of my silicone gel implants.
I was literally on death’s doorstep when I was explanted but, nobody realized until I was opened up. My surgeon confirmed that if I’d not been explanted at that time I likely wouldn’t have made it to another surgery date. ALL of my blood labs were normal range. Until my explant doctors determined I had somatization. My health is permanently ruined (though many things have improved or resolved since explant). My surgeon told me my prognosis is poor. Don’t even try to tell me it was not my breast implants that made me ill.
It took decades for admission that cigarette smoking and asbestos are harmful. People in those industries, as well as those that profited from them, engaged in the same tactics used by those with vested interests in breast implants and their use today.
THE JIG IS UP!
We’ve reached a point where it’s pretty hard to ignore the reality that breast implants make women ill. We now have our photos and scan results that prove the impact of implants in our body.
The wrong standard of measure is being used to determine breast implant related illness! The tests my doctors relied on were inaccurate 100% of the time!
Dr Edward Melmed, is a plastic surgeon that no longer implants women and has presented to F.D.A. about the dangers of breast implants. “All these women from all over the world didn’t say, “You know what? Let’s tell the same story.”” (Quote: Dr Ed Melmed)
Women around the world have become ill with the same exact symptoms since breast implants were introduced in the early 60’s. No coincidence. Doctors that deny the reality of breast implant illness are starting to look really foolish given all of the evidence surfacing that proves implants are really bad for one’s health. There’s too many of us to sweep under the rug.
In a full out statement of arrogance Dr Sowder writes, “If a patient goes to enough alternative health providers, they will eventually find one willing to take their money to tell them that they have one, two or more of these disorders and that it’s their implants that are at fault. They may even offer $50,000 worth of testing and treatment (as reported by one of my plastic surgery colleagues). I have one patent who saw seven naturopaths before she found one who told her what she wanted to hear. Did she ever go at an actual rheumatologist for her autoimmune symptoms? Of course not. She could not trust a rheumatologist.”
How arrogant to implant toxic devices into women, placing them over vital organs, and dismiss them as head cases when they present to her, ill!
Western medicine doctors happily made money from years of office visits and diagnostic testing. Women with breast implants cost the health care system four times the average. And yes, I’ve put some doctors’ kids through college in 16 years of being misdiagnosed!
I laughed out loud reading that we should trust medical doctors that don’t believe us because they went to med school! Oh right!! Sure, the doctors that missed 16 years of undiagnosed rupture .. and 19 years of a bone infection .. and 5 years of hypothyroidism .. and 3 agonizing years of acute inflammation in my bladder due to a systemic fungal infection .. riiiiight!!! The doctors that had NO CLUE I was on death’s doorstep until they opened me up in my explant surgery! The doctors that missed my son and best friend had life threatening conditions and treated them as though they were drug seeking!
Alternative practitioners, those to-her-estimation ‘quacks’, kept me alive until explant as ALL of my western medicine doctors had dropped the ball! Being ‘med school educated’ doesn’t mean one isn’t ignorant. In fact it’s that very ignorance that blinds doctors to the truth of breast implants. They’re too caught up in defending a STORY that doesn’t hold up. Not all doctors come out of medical school as critical thinkers – they can come out brainwashed sheep. There are good doctors of course, and not saying she’s not a good doctor, but too many are unthinking sheep. Ones blinded by an agenda are the worst.
Doctors that didn’t believe my symptoms could have been related to my implants missed 16 years of undiagnosed rupture … to my great peril.
Western medicine has lost its way and could learn a lot from alternative practitioners. Integrative doctors are absolutely the best, IMHO.
According to Dr Sowder she regularly visits breast implant illness websites, Facebook groups and Instagram, and finds much of the content outrageous. She says she has patients that only decided they were ill from their implants after visiting these online communities. Though having stated that most of her patients improve after having their implants removed she questions why some have their implants removed but, remain ill for months or years, as though it evidences that it wasn’t their implants making them ill to begin with.
Those of us that don’t improve after explant often have silicone in our lymph system and elsewhere; myotoxins; biotoxins; and exhausted, confused immune systems, just to name some contributing factors that impede restored health. There can be issues that do take years to resolve, and some that will never resolve. The silicone within us continues to migrate and we will suffer consequence for the rest of our lives.
A Dutch woman in her 50’s that knew she was dying and believed it was her implants killing her donated her body to science for the reason of finding out what her implants had done in her body. Despite the fact that she did NOT have rupture silicone was found in virtually every part of her body, including her vital organs. HOW is it even possible that regulating bodies are getting way with licensing these high risk devices that can, and DO, leave silicone in us that cannot be removed. It’s truly unthinkable. And probably criminal.
Posthumous testing of women that had, or have breast implants at the time of death, should be offered to anyone who wants to do it. Our families deserve to know the truth.
Dr Sowder is annoyed that women who are not medical doctors are giving advice, and that “there is the dismissal of surgeons like me who spent their youth training in medicine and surgery (I completed my residency training at the tender age of 35), took the Hippocratic Oath and devote most of their waking hours doing their best to provide competent and conscientious care to patients. I take it a little personally when someone is more receptive to the advice or opinion of someone on Facebook who posts photos of themselves having a coffee enema that to the advice of a fully trained and experienced plastic surgeon.”
Though doctors have taken the Hippocratic Oath I can assure you it doesn’t apply once a patient becomes a medical liability.
If it wasn’t for women in breast implant support forums that walked this road before me I’d unquestionably be DEAD. It really says a lot that we have to find the medical information we need in forums because doctors haven’t got a freaking clue about breast implants.
Please don’t insult the intelligence and intuition of women harmed by breast implants!
Dr Sowder apparently gets ‘cranky’ thinking about women, like myself, that would like to see breast implants banned.
I get cranky that anyone can even attempt to deny that breast implants are ruining women’s health. To be approved the risk / benefit ratio must favor benefits over risks, but this is NOT the case with breast implants. The risks far outweigh benefits and they can have fatal consequence. There are no real benefits from implants. They are a temporary distraction from the deeper inner work that one ultimately needs to do, and they come at a very high price in every way.
I get cranky thinking of the manufacturer ‘fox watching the hen house’ funded studies which have been skewed from the start.
I get cranky knowing that if not for ‘hands deeply in pockets’ there’s NO WAY breast implants could be still on the market.
I get cranky knowing that silicone is getting into our lymph system.
I get cranky that so many have lost their health to these ‘safe’ devices.
I get cranky that we have ALL been UNWITTING GUINEA PIGS.
She believes breast implant technology has improved, but does acknowledge that breast implants can cause problems such as capsular contracture; displacement and distortion; pain; can leak or rupture; cause silicone granulomas of the breast, chest and abdominal wall; calcification; acute inflammation; and BIA-ALCL.
I’m glad she acknowledges that breast implants do cause problems.
But, newsflash .. breast implants today are based on the same 60-70 year old technology as older implants. Implant construction has in many ways become even more dangerous with the addition of other toxic chemicals, and textured surfaces. Each tweak to breast implants results in hundreds of thousands more unwitting guinea pigs. And FYI, many women are walking around with black market silicone in them because manufacturers resorted to street suppliers as demand for breast implants increased and their approved suppliers couldn’t meet demand.
I wonder did she report adverse events when women presented with capsular contracture, calcification, necrotized tissue, silicone in lymph nodes, and other complications?
Or, did she report adverse events when women presented to her believing their implants were making them sick even if she didn’t believe them? Though reporting is NOT MANDATORY it would be very valuable information. A doctor’s judgement call should be irrelevant to the reporting process. And she should encourage her patients to report their adverse events also. What a different picture would be presented if ALL adverse events had been reported since breast implants were introduced in the 60’s. If ALL adverse events had been reported breast implants would be BANNED OUTRIGHT!
She says “if a woman has breast implants she will likely need an implant related procedure sometime in the future.” As breast implants are time-limited devices ALL breast implants WILL FAIL at some point. No ‘likely’ about it. Unless a woman dies she WILL require at least one surgery to remove or replace her implants. It conflicting messaging to say ‘likely’.
She talks of placebo effect in having breast implants removed, and says some women fret every day about the effect of their implants on their health. She admits she doesn’t know if women become well after explant from placebo effect or the source of their worry being removed, or if it’s more than that.
She acknowledges the presence of inflammation. (It’s an acute inflammation specific to silicone in breast implants.) Breast implants can trigger both regional and systemic inflammation which absolutely has negative impact on health. And it hurts! She’d bloody fret too if she was loaded with inflammation.
Patients that fret everyday have become aware they’ve got TOXIC devices sitting within 2-3 cm of vital organs. And the vast majority know their implants are making them ill. Many so ill we knew that our very life depended on removing our implants!
She says she gets all, or as close to all, of the scar capsules as she can. Does she offer ‘enbloc’ removal? I don’t know, but every single plastic surgeon should be doing this. It’s ridiculous that most implanting ps’s aren’t skilled at properly removing breast implants.
She writes that patients don’t come crawling back to her sick, yet to her own admission some actually do, but they are dismissed as NUTS – psychosomatic illness. Remember the 17 that presented to her in 2016 believing their implants were ruining their health?
In general most women don’t return to their PS when they’ve become ill. They usually present to other doctors as they try to figure out what’s making them ill. They’re typically punted from one in-denial doctor to the next. They don’t end up back in a ps’s office until the connection to their implants is made and they want / need them removed.
Breast implants impede quality of life and lead to loss of health; they shave years, even decades off of our lives. Women with breast implants are playing Russian Roulette and the doctors defending the safety of breast implants need to take a sober look at how they’ve become so blinded. Breast implants are a massive experiment that has FAILED.
EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IMPLANTED HAS BEEN A HUMAN GUINEA PIG and we are entrusted to the care of doctors that have put their faith in skewed, manufacturer funded study results. Most in fact have been ‘bought’ by manufacturers. WE ARE THE STUDY RESULTS! It’s actually really scary knowing that doctors can’t comprehend that toxic devices over vital organs are a REALLY BAD PLAN.
Link to Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder’s original blog post: http://www.sowdermd.com/blog/breast-implant-illness/
7 thoughts on “Thoughts On A Plastic Surgeon’s Blog Post”
Thank you so much for this, I read this plastic surgeons blog and found it to be a huge slap in the face to me and all the other women who have been poisoned by our implants. How dare she act as if we all decided to make this Illness up. I was so sick I felt like I was dying , I prayed to God to just take me because I could not live like this anymore. If it were not for these facebook groups I might be dead. I went to my dr, neurologist, rheumatologist, and they could not help me ….they wanted to give me more meds…..tramadol, prednisone, Paxil, plaquenil….on and on. Not one of these drs said it could be from your implants, I spent so much money on MRI, chest X-rays, medications and not one of them could help me. I know God led me to the answer …..I found my online support group and there were so many women who could understand and feel my exact pain. I explanted last November and I no longer am taking any medications, I have arthritis in my neck and hands , I am still having ups and downs and yes I probably will need cervical disc surgery. I can tell you this I am no longer having daily fevers, flu aches, I can carry on a conversation because I can remember words now where as before my mind would go blank or I would mix up words. It is absolutely disgusting these toxic bags are still being used!!
Sarah, thank you for your comments. Your story is heartbreaking. I wish our stories were rare, instead of being SO COMMON! So much needless suffering over greed. What a racket .. put toxic devices in women and tell them they’re crazy when they get sick! I’m so glad you were led to your online support group in time and you’re now explanted. Wishing you continued healing!
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Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.
Hi Motherima, Just stumbled across this. Just a few comments. I have never had a patient that I augmented come back with breast implant illness. All the BII patients I have seen have had their augmentation done elsewhere. And I’ve been in practice a long time -since 1991. If you know my practice well, you would know that I am not a big fan of implants. It is flawed operation but in many cases the only option for ladies who want to enhance or rebuild their breasts. Not that it matters but in 2017 I did a grand total of 11 implant based augmentations. I did a lot more non implant based breast enhancements – fat transfer, lifts, reductions, etc. I really think with future stem cell technology and current fat transfer technology that implants will become less and less in demand. They certainly are for my practice. And FYI I have never received a dime from any medical device company. Sometimes the rep brings lunch for my staff but, hey, they are hungry. And FYI, I do an awesome enbloc resection and offer lots of skill in making an explanted breast look pretty good. I am seeing very few BII patients these days because of my Satan like status in the BII community but I am still doing a lot of implant removals, mostly for baby boomers who have old nasty implants and overly large post-menopausal breasts. I remove their implants, do a lift and send them on their happy implant-free way. You may want to check out my Instagram @breastimplantsanity to see a few examples.
Hi Dr Sowder,
Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Thanks for clarifying you’ve not received payments from manufacturers. Most plastic surgeons who’ve conducted manufacturer-funded studies or who aggressively deny bii are receiving kickbacks. I think you are probably an exception.
Re Satan .. I would agree that your reputation precedes you in the bii community. Its because of the nature of some of your social media posts about women suffering with bii, which can come across as quite condescending and rude. Some who have seen you as a patients are shocked because how you present to them in person seems a stark contradiction to how you present in your posts. Many feel betrayed reading what you really feel about them. That said, each one expresses that as a doctor your skills are great and to your credit, you seemingly present as caring and professional in person.
As patients its difficult to comprehend how doctors can see what comes out of us and not understand that it would make us sick. It seems a no-brainer. Between toxic chemicals; biofilms; chronic, acute inflammation; and migrating silicone I can assure you we are legitimately sick. I think more doctors are now understanding this.
Regarding none of your augmentation patients presenting to you with bii, what do you think that suggests? Presumably you would be using the same devices many other ps’s are using.
Thanks again for your comments. I hope one day you become a believer.
I’m always gobsmacked @ “Implants don’t cause Autoimmune” narrative … except for Lymphoma? A hematology cancer of the lymphatic system. So I’ll rephrase, we will never measure (Studies) what’s not managed (Study design flaws, self reporting questionnaires, whooops we’ve lost our subjects). Do I need an MD to link lymphoma to autoimmune? In the bowels of corporate actuarial departments, I suspect the following Risk/Benefit financial data suggests Implant sales $$$$ vs potential litigation risk $. As a business owner, I respect calculated risk for decision making – it’s a formula for success. Mfg’s have a responsibility to their shareholders 1st. Here in lies the conflict- Patient Safety by Patient standards don’t land on a balance sheet.
I would like to donate my body for the study of BII! How do I accomplish this? Who do I contact? Thx in advance ♡