Health Alert: Moldy breast implants - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Health Alert: Moldy breast implants

Doctors debate the possibility of breast implants growing moldy. (Source: WOIO) Doctors debate the possibility of breast implants growing moldy. (Source: WOIO)
(WOIO) -

A woman claims her breast implant surgery left her very sick, after mold attached to the implants. She wants to warn thousands of other women who have had the surgery, but one local doctor says hold on.

We all know how dangerous mold can be, but imagine it festering inside your body for years undetected. 

One woman says that's exactly what happened to her with her breast implants. It's a big conversation on social media right now after a picture was posted of two breast implants covered in what looks like mold.

Anne Ziegenhorn says that's what was inside her. Her nightmare started in 2011 when she suddenly gained a lot of weight, became very sick and had trouble thinking straight. She received various diagnoses from doctors.

"It's not a story a multi-billion dollar industry wants to get out," says Ziegenhorn. 

Turns out, she says it was her moldy breast implants taking a toll.

"I felt like that was it, I was gonna die, and the doctors were gonna let me die," she said.

It was Dr. Susan Kolb to the rescue, author of a new book The Naked Truth about Breast Implants.

"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," explains Kolb.

She claims she's seeing a lot of women with mold in their saline implants, often from defective valves, and in 25 to 30 percent of the population, it's debilitating.

"Not enough science. It's called pseudo science. I call it pseudo science," argues a well known Cleveland area plastic surgeon.

Dr. Lu-Jean Feng says it's ridiculous. She has also been in the industry for 30 years and says she's removed thousands of implants and only one time was mold present. She blames the doctor who did the surgery.  

Dr. Feng is quick to call out Dr. Kolb.

"She wrote a book, but, she hasn't published a paper that is peer-reviewed that demonstrates mold in these implants and if she wants to convince the rest of the world, she has to do that work," says Feng.  

Feng says the only way mold could develop would be if it is introduced in the operating room or there is a bad valve.

One thing the two doctors do agree on, along with the FDA in its reported response to this, is eventually, most implants do need replaced because they deteriorate in the body.

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