CHICAGO (CBS)—Women who claimed their breast implants made them sick demanded the Food and Drug Administration this week take new precautions to protect consumers.
An FDA advisory panel was pressed to implement new recommendations for bans or restrictions on certain products and an improved informed consent process so women can better understand the risks and benefits of implants before opting for surgery.
Like many other breast implant recipients, Amanda Savage Brown is trying her best to shed her memories of the health problems that began as a result of her surgery.
She finds comfort on Facebook, where she connects with other women sharing similar experiences of pain and complaints about autoimmune and connective tissue problems.
Today, the psychological counselor is comfortably at work—her years of compromised health now a memory, but she’ll never forget the pain.
“I started to have a really really painful experience in my arms that was literally a disability,” she said.
The pain started to limit her physical fitness and the things she could do with her family.
“I could not pick up anything,” she said. “I couldn’t move blankets off my body at night, (and) I couldn’t open the shower door. I never in a million years thought it was related to my implants.”
One day, she decided to take action and had her implants removed. Since then, she says her life has been mostly pain-free.
For women with certain types of implants, the symptoms are hard to ignore. Common complaints involve fatigue, pain, headaches, sweating and other symptoms.
Savage-Brown says the medical community hasn’t taken concerns seriously.
But the FDA may have started listening.
The agency admitted in a statement released earlier this month that a small number of patients may have biological responses to certain types of materials in implantable or insertable devices.
An unrelated cancer scare had Savage Brown removing her implants, but she kept an open mind to a possible improvement in her physical condition.
“Being a scientist, I felt I was running an experiment,” Savage Brown said.
But she kept an open mind.
“I didn’t go into it thinking that that’s what I had (and) that was my explanation,” she said.
Within weeks, the pain left her arms the changes continued.
“I started to see my stamina was back and I could do things all day for long periods,” she said. “I feel completely different now.”