Cautionary tale

Woman says her moldy breast implants nearly killed her

The footage of a moldy saline breast implant that Anne Ziegenhorn keeps on her phone. (Courtesy WEAR-TV)

Anne Ziegenhorn will tell anyone who’ll listen about a lesser-known danger associated with silicone breast implants. The resident of Shalimar, Florida, even carries images on her phone, to show anyone who’s interested. Ziegenhorn told WEAR-TV that she began to experience ill health in 2011, suffering from burning pain, unexplained weight gain and loss of vision. Sores began to appear on her body and she suspected she was suffering dementia, so affected was her mental capacity.

Doctors misdiagnosed a variety of maladies before removing her saline implants, also discovering they were covered in mold. “Silicone sickness in and of itself is one entity,” Ziegenhorn said. “And then you add the mold to it that we had, and then you’ve got two illnesses going on.”

So-called “silicone sickness” remains a controversial area of medicine. In June 2011, the FDA issued an Update on the Safety of Silicone Gel-Filled Breast Implant. This report provides a clinical update on the two silicone gel-filled breast implants available in the U.S. Further information about silicone implants can be found on the FDA’s website.

Anne Ziegenhorn says mold on her saline breast implants made her deeply ill. (Facebook/Anne Ziegenhorn)

Anne Ziegenhorn says mold on her saline breast implants made her deeply ill. (Facebook/Anne Ziegenhorn)

The mold growth in Ziegenhorn’s implants was likely from defective valves, said Dr. Susan Kolb, author of The Naked Truth About Breast Implants. Kolb, who has implants herself, cautions that women should have them replaced every 8-15 years, to be safe. “My experience in doing this for 30 years is that eventually everybody will become ill from their breast implants, unless they die sooner from something else,” Kolb said.

Channel 3 inquired with the FDA whether they had received reports of illnesses from mold in saline implants or from the silicone shells. Their spokesperson said he is not familiar with any such reports but the agency confirms most women will eventually need to have their implants replaced.

Read the full story at WEAR-TV.


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