Personal trainer, 33, claims doctor refused to remove her breast implants as it would ruin figure | Daily Mail Online

by fitness journalist

A personal trainer who had her breast implants removed after a series of illnesses has revealed that doctors were hesitant to do the procedure as they worried it would ruin her figure. 

Bec Donlan, 33, a fitness trainer and entrepreneur who is from Australia but lives in New York, was born with pectus excavatum – a concave chest wall – and decided to get Biocell textured implants at the age of 22 after a series of comments about her appearance left her feeling self-conscious. 

However, when the fitness influencer began waking up on numerous occasions with her breast inflamed, she considered getting the implants removed. 

‘Doctors told me they wouldn’t do it because it wouldn’t look good,’ she told Real Self. ‘One even said, “You’ve got a Sports Illustrated body and I’m going to leave you looking terrible, so I’m not doing it.”‘

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Bec Donlan, who lives in New York, had a breast augmentation at age 22, after comments about her ribs being visible in her chest made her feel self-conscious (pictured before having the implants removed)

Bec (pictured now) says she had her Biocell textured implants removed after experiencing a series of illnesses that were 

Bec – who is the the founder of Sweat With Bec – says she chose to have a breast augmentation after seeing her brother, who also suffers with the same condition, have ‘barbaric’ metal rods put into his body.  

However, after making the decision to get implants, and living happily with them for three years, Bec awoke one morning in agony and discovered that one of her boobs had swollen up. 

‘Everything was good for three years, and then I suddenly woke up one morning with an insane amount of fluid around one of my implants—that breast was twice the size of the other,’ she explained. 

Struggling to determine the cause and believing it could possibly be due to a bacterial infection, doctors sent Bec away with antibiotics. 

However, she was again plagued by the same issue just a few years later, along with some stomach problems. Once again, doctors pointed to an infection, which was treated with more antibiotics. 

Over the next few years, Bec’s health continued to worsen; she experienced chronic fatigue, hair loss, weight gain – despite working out twice a day – and periods so bad that she was unable to get out of bed. 

She was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that damages the thyroid, causes weight gain, and fatigue.   

However, Bec never thought to look at her breast implants as being a potential cause of all of these symptoms – even while trying all manner of detoxes, diets, and fitness regimens to try and get her body back to a healthy place.

Born with pectus excavatum, Bec (pictured before), said she was happy with her implants for the first few years but then began to experience problems including chronic fatigue 

The 33-year-old (pictured before) grew concerned that her health problems were related to her implants, after learning that they had been recalled 

And when she eventually did consider Breast Implant Illness, she says she refused to believe that it was responsible for every health concern she had, admitting: ‘To be honest, I didn’t care, because I really loved my boobs and didn’t want to give them up.’

Then, in the summer of 2019, Bec discovered that her breast implants had been recalled by pharmaceutical company Allergan after the FDA discovered that they were putting women at severe risk of lymphoma. Even then, doctors urged Bec not to have them removed.

Breast Implant Illness

  • BII is a term used by women who have breast implants and who self-identify and describe a variety of symptoms that they feel are directly connected to their saline or silicone, textured or smooth breast implants.
  • Symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, hair loss and headaches chills, photosensitivity, chronic pain, rash, body odor, anxiety, brain fog, sleep disturbance, depression, neurologic issues and hormonal issues.  
  • There is no current definitive epidemiological evidence to support a direct link between breast implants and any specific disease process. 

‘In July 2019, I found out that my implants had been recalled,’ she explained. ‘ I reached out to my original plastic surgeon, and he was like, “You’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with them, don’t take them out for no reason.”‘ 

Months later, Bec again woke up with an inflamed breast, and she went to the ER to try and treat the problem. There, doctors ran a number of tests to try and identify the cause of the issue, only to tell Bec that there was ‘no medical explanation’, despite the fitness star asking whether they thought the issue could be related to breast implant illness. 

‘Doctors in the ER said that medically there was nothing wrong with me, because [breast implant illness] is not recognized,’ she told ‘But one doctor told me, “If you were my daughter, I would tell you to get them removed tomorrow.”‘

And despite being told that BII is not ‘medically recognized’, Bec soon discovered that the health issues she had suffered from for years – from the chronic fatigue to the hair loss – were all listed as symptoms of the illness. 

It was then that Bec chose to have her implants removed, explaining to that she finally realized ‘health is so much more important than aesthetics’. But after making the monumental decision, Bec still struggled to find someone who would take her implants out, revealing that more than one medical expert refused because they said it would ruin her figure.   

The personal trainer was eventually introduced to Los Angeles-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. T. Y. Steven Ip, who she describes as being ‘so understanding and supportive of her decision’, while also being honest about the expected results of the procedure. 

She said he was entirely supportive of her desire to prioritize health over aesthetics, but that he warned her ‘it wasn’t going to look great’ in the months immediately following her explant surgery. Still, Dr. Ip gave Bec some options for the future, explaining that she could be a candidate for fat transfer options instead of having to get implants again.  

A post shared by BEC DONLAN 🍑 CAKEMAKER (@sweatwithbec) on

Bec (pictured after surgery) said some of the doctors who she consulted were hesitant to remove the implants because it might ruin her figure

Bec says that she noticed her eyes got brighter and her skin improved within hours of having the implants removed

Bec (pictured four days after having her implants removed) has documented her recovery on Instagram in the hope of helping others in similar situations

‘Seeing myself after the explant was… a lot. It’s not cute—it’s a very deflated-looking situation. But it was crazy how much better I felt right away,’ she said.

Bec claims her skin improved and the whites of her eyes got brighter within hours of removing the implants – despite doctors saying it could take months for her to heal.

Now, she has shared her experience on Instagram with her 56,000 followers in the hopes of helping others in the same situation.

Many have offered reassurance in response to photos Bec has posted following the removal of the implants.  

‘So amazing! You look fantastic! I noticed in your stories how healthy your eyes, skin and overall face looks. No more eye drops!’ praised one, while a second penned: ‘You look as fabulous as ever! And so glad you are recovering well. Strong woman!’

A third added: ‘Gorgeous! Way to stand in your truth and beauty!’

A spokesperson for Allergan, the company that produces Biocell implants, told MailOnline that ‘patient safety is Allergan’s highest priority’.

The spokesperson continued: ‘The safety and quality of our breast implants is something we monitor very closely, through post-approval and surveillance studies, as well as patient-reported data, and we report these data directly to global regulatory authorities.’ 

A flood of responses on Instagram have come from those offering reassurance to Bec and wishing her a quick recovery


1960s: Breast implants were first sold in the US, before the FDA regulated medical devices.

1976: Law changed, meaning that every medical device would be categorized into class I, II or III.

Those in the highest class (Class III) would require the most stringent checks – mainly: human clinical trials.

Breast implants, growing in popularity, were allowed to stay on the market while the FDA decided which category it should take. 

But doctors started raising concerns in that the devices seemed to trigger side effects.

1978: An FDA advisory panel suggested breast implants should be Class II.

1982: The FDA decided breast implants should be Class III. They called on industry to conduct human studies to investigate a few main concerns: 

1990: Congressmen berated industry for failing to present human trials. The only trials to date were silicone injections in rats and rabbits.

1991: Industry submitted human studies but they were deemed poor quality. One only lasted three months.

1992: Internal documents from people inside the industry leader at the time, Dow Corning, were leaked to the press, showing that manufacturers had concerns of risks to human health.

That was the nail in the coffin. The FDA decided to ban silicone implants for women unless they were part of ‘adjunct’ trials to assess their safety. 

2003/4: The FDA rejected the data presented by Inamed (now called Allergan) and Mentor (now part of J&J), saying they were poor quality. Seventy-five percent of women dropped out of the Mentor trial before their first follow-up. 

The FDA then published guidance on what the trials should consist of. They needed to answer why implants break, leak, and how long implants last. 

2005: Mentor and Inamed submitted three-year-long studies, which were criticized as inadequate by the FDA.

2006: The FDA re-approved silicone implants, but ordered device makers to conduct six trials spanning 10 years with at least 40,000 women. 

2011: No data had been published. The National Center for Health Research, a patient advocacy group, lobbied congress for answers. The FDA published data online later that year, showing the studies were not completed. Three-quarters of women dropped out of the Mentor study, and 40 percent dropped out of the Allergan study.

This content was originally published here.

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