Woman shares story of health issues and breast implants

Amy Novitzke says for several years her health declined. She was tired all of the time.

"I had pneumonia that turned to post-viral asthma that made my thyroid not work," she said.

An endocrinologist suggested the problem could be her breast implants. She had them for 16 years.

"She and I talked about many of the different symptoms and she was quite knowledgeable on some of the other people; hard as it is to find information about people suffering with autoimmune complications relative to breast implants," Novitzke said.

So she turned to Dr. Fredric Barr, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Though he says most people are fine with the implants, some have reactions that show up as health problems.

"The rule of thumb is at least every 10 years to come in to sit down and to really go over between mammograms, studies, whatever it is and encourage them to probably change out the older implants and put in one of the newer implants that's been FDA approved," Dr. Barr said.

He says it's important to let your doctor know how you feel. "I've had patients come in and I don't have an answer at this point. And the FDA does not have an answer. I think we need to look further at the genetics."

As for Amy, she recently shared her journey at a seminar with Dr. Barr. She chose to have the implants removed 6 weeks ago without replacing them.

"I sleep, I really sleep well. I have energy," she said.

Dr. Barr says women need to speak up to their surgeon and to the FDA if they have problems with their breast implants.

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