A mother-of-two says her burst breast implants have ruined her life – after undergoing ten operations in 16 years to correct them.
Julia Edgecox, 55, went under the knife in 1991 to boost her bust from an A cup to C cup after breastfeeding left her with a saggy chest.
But five years later they burst and poisoned her body with liquid silicone – and the replacement implants also ruptured.
Since then Julia has undergone eight operations to drain silicone from her lymph nodes and is now dependant on antihistamines to control her body’s reaction to the poison.
She said yesterday: “They are my greatest regret – they have ruined my life.
“When my first implants burst it was awful, they were liquid silicone so it went everywhere.
“Doctors tried to mop up what they could but they couldn’t get out what they couldn’t see, it’s like an oil spillage in sea.
“The rest of the silicone migrated around my system, there was no going back from then onwards.”
Housekeeper Julia, of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks., had her first implants fitted at Warwick Hospital in 1991 after she was left unhappy following breastfeeding and the hospital felt her case was strong enough for the operation.
But five years later she experienced a searing pain through her left breast so she returned to Warwick Hospital, where she was told her implant had burst.
She then underwent another operation to replace the burst implants, but was left with a “crisp packet” shaped mark appearing through her skin, and unhappy with how it looked begged her doctor to replace them.
The doctors at the hospital refused however and she was transferred to the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warks., where a surgeon was prepared to replace the implants eight weeks later.
It was then discovered that once more the left implant had also burst and doctors were forced to give Julia a full breast reconstruction after it was decided she no longer wanted implants.
But Julia then noticed mysterious lumps appearing under her arms and went under the knife in Warwick Hospital again to have them removed.
Doctors discovered they were also leaking silicone and have told her she may face the problem for the rest of her life.
The lumps have returned every two or three years ever since – her body’s attempt to rid itself of the silicone – and has Julia has to undergo repeated operations to drain the fluid.
In 2009 she had the lymph nodes under her arms removed completely but the lumps still appeared.
Doctors have recently diagnosed Julia with silicone granuloma, a skin condition that occurs as a reaction to liquid silicone.
But medics are baffled as to how they can rectify the problem and Julia underwent two MRI scans at Warwick Hospital to enable doctors to work out why the silicone is migrating to her arms.
She is now due to undergo another operation at Coventry Hospital, Warks., to remove yet more silicone, and doctors hope to use the MRI results to stop the problem.
She said: “I feel a little bit like an alien now. I just feel like my body is not mine any more.
“It’s hard to explain to people because nobody knows. Some days I feel ok and some days I feel like I have run a marathon.
“My body doesn’t like itself any more it is so confused, I have to take antihistamines to stop it attacking itself.
“I get lumps every two to three years now. My body is desperate for these to be removed it is a foreign object that they don’t like at all.
“Doctors have removed most of my lymph nodes now but now the silicone has no where to go any longer so it is depositing itself into tissue.
“I have two MRI scans scheduled to plan what they need to do to stop this, I don’t quite know what they are going to do though, it is a bit scary.
“I am just sick and tired with the pain under my arm, it is just constant.”
Julia also believes that the stress of what she has been through has not only ruined her health but has also cost her her marriage of 25 years to husband Peter.
She added: “My husband decided to walk out on me after 25 years of marriage with not even an acknowledgement that I was sick.
“I don’t know if he was fed up with me because I got this problem. I had no support from him or his family.
“It was absolutely awful. At the same time I lost my sister and then my mother. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it.”
Julia hopes her case can act as warning to others in light of the PIP breast implants scandal.
“It is really quite scary,” she said. “The PIP scandal opened the issue up for a lot of woman, why should I keep silent forever? Why shouldn’t people know about this?
“I really feel they should have some sort of warning on this – a post like on a packet of cigarettes so they can tell you.”
“I don’t even dream of going swimming, I can’t do things like I did before, it has effected my life entirely.”