Breast Implant Illness is Real, Not Rare, with Robyn Towt & Amanda Porta

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Breast Implant Illness Awareness Day is February 13, and I thought this would be a great time to introduce you to Robyn and Amanda.

It’s shocking how little information there is about this topic. You don’t see it in the news or hear people talking about their symptoms. It’s hidden and covered up.

Well, we’re here today to shed light on breast implant illnesses and start to change the narrative.

In This Episode:

  • Robyn and Amanda’s Stories

  • Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

  • Ingredients in Breast Implants

  • Informed Consent

  • Cancer Caused by Breast Implants

  • Does this happen with all implants?

  • Interested in an Explant?

  • Healing Process after Explanting

Robyn and Amanda’s Stories

Robyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, and she chose to have a double mastectomy. She had breast reconstruction with mentor silicone breast implants, and as soon as those breast implants went into her body, she became very sick. Robyn didn’t do any other treatment for the cancer, like chemo or radiation, so there was no reason for her to be that physically ill.

She experienced:

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Heart palpitations

  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing

  • Joint pain

  • Hair loss

  • Skin rashes

Robyn started trying to figure out what was wrong with her. She came across another breast cancer patient, and she had told Robyn that her breast implants made her sick. She started listing her symptoms, and Robyn could check every box. Robyn only had her implants in for four months, and she chose to take them out as soon as possible. The first week she had them out, everything went back to normal. But then, she got angry because none of her doctors told her this was a risk. That’s what led her to get involved in the patient advocacy work that she does today.

Amanda got saline breast implants in 2003 for a minor breast deformity. A year later, she got a capsular contracture in one, so it needed to be replaced. She had to go to a new surgeon because her original surgeon was on maternity leave. He was working with the manufacturers and doing studies, and he suggested replacing the saline implants with silicone. Amanda didn’t do any research when getting breast implants. She asked him, “Isn’t silicone bad?” But he reassured her that what he uses is new and improved, all of the women will be getting them, you’re a great candidate for it because you’re so thin, you’ll be tracked in a study, blah blah blah.

He’s a doctor and has been studying implants, so she believed him and thought that was best for her. When she had them replaced in 2004, there was a moratorium on silicone breast implants. So many women were sick, and they were focused on the ruptures that these breast implants were having in women getting sick.

After nine months, Amanda got hormonal disruption, which seemed like pre-menopausal symptoms, but she was only 25 years old. Her gynecologist was already gaslighting her saying it was normal, but Amanda stuck to her guns. Her body was fighting these things the entire time. At one point, she had over 40 symptoms, including:

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • Hormonal dysfunction

  • Hair falling out

  • Difficulty breathing

In the meantime, Amanda started working in plastic surgery to help other women feel better about themselves who had the same condition. She always went into it with the right idea but was as clueless as everyone else. She would have never stopped to ask what kind of chemicals are in these implants. Amanda didn’t know enough about heavy metals at the time or how all these systems in her body weren’t working optimally.

When she figured it out at the end of 2018, Amanda decided to explant. Within three weeks, she made a full recovery, which is kind of shocking considering all the symptoms she had! She became a health coach and decided to help other women. Amanda saw through her research in support groups how many sick women there were.

She never heard her coworkers or friends complaining about the symptoms. It’s because they’re going to doctors who specialize in the pain they’re feeling, not the source of the problem (which can be found in the plastic surgeon’s office). Plastic surgeons think all their patients are happy with their implants, and yet, they’re going around to 22 different specialists trying to chase a diagnosis because they have no idea what’s wrong with them. That’s the real problem.

The FDA and the plastic surgeon industry keep it very well hidden. It’s not talked about. They wait as long as possible to disclose these things to the public. That’s why Robyn and Amanda are here to raise awareness about it.

Symptoms of Breast Implant Illness

After meeting Robyn and Amanda, I joined a couple of support groups on Facebook, and there are some really big groups of women suffering from the same thing. One of the groups I joined was 186,000 women, and they all talked about the exact same set of symptoms.

If you have implants and are suffering from any of these symptoms, you may have breast implant illness:

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain

  • Anxiety

  • Brain fog

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Hair loss

  • Depression

  • Rash

  • Headache

  • Weight fluctuations

  • Chronic infections

  • Vision problems

Here is a full list of symptoms from their website.

Women are all talking about the same symptoms. It’s been going on for 60 years that breast implants have been making women sick. Amanda and Robyn had to push hard to get that information out there. They went to the FDA meetings in 2019, and it was enlightening to see all the information that came forward. That’s why they’re here to get things done and bring awareness. They want to hold the FDA accountable for holding manufacturers accountable and give proper informed consent to patients.

No one is judging anybody for wanting to get breast implants, but it needs to be an educated and informed decision, and that’s not happening. If people know that these symptoms can happen when they get breast implants, then they don’t have to suffer for a decade like Robyn and Amanda did.


After getting her implants out, Amanda spent three and a half years working for the surgeon who removed hers. She knew she could have a big voice in this problem. Because Amanda worked in the beauty industry before knowing she had breast implant illness, she thought she should have known about it sooner. Her colleagues were some of the people lying to her and saying it didn’t exist, even though they had worked during the moratorium and knew how sick all of those women were.

She wanted to help make things better again. Amanda wanted to be a support for other women who had the same experience she did. Through her followers, she’s met women at different points in the journey. Nobody’s saying to rush to make any decision, but they want people to be aware of the symptoms.

Amanda has never had a patient who didn’t either fully resolve all of her symptoms or very much so. She’s never had someone disappointed after explanting.

Amanda saw 67 practitioners in seven and a half years of having implants. Even some functional medicine doctors at the time didn’t have that on their intake forms. Now, she’s seeing it more and more. Nobody wants to talk about it, and you don’t even have to be a plastic surgeon to not want to not want to talk.

Ingredients in Breast Implants

Robyn, like me, is interested in what’s actually in breast implants. As we suspected, it’s mostly ingredients we can’t pronounce.

  • Acetone (a neurotoxin)

  • Siloxanes (endocrine disruptor)

  • Nickel

  • Arsenic cadmium

  • Chromium

  • Cobalt

  • Copper

  • Lead

  • Magnesium

  • Mercury

  • Tin

  • Zinc

Heavy metals take our body a long time to detox, if ever. Basically, implants are a chemical soup that they use to make this cohesive gel and to make the shell of implants. Even saline implants have a silicone shell. They’re all in the same type of shell, which is using those chemicals in our body.

Informed Consent

Informed consent should be a conversation. It’s not a piece of paper. It’s not a list of things. It should be a conversation between the patient and the doctor, but, that’s not happening. The way doctors present the information is very biased and skewed because of the leadership in the plastic surgeon community. They’re passing down this narrative that plastic surgeons are just regurgitating in their offices. They’re brushing over the risks, complications, and symptoms by saying that it’s rare. They’re saying the women in those Facebook groups are crazy and sensationalizing their stories.

It would make a little more sense if the surgeons were being a little dismissive if we didn’t know what was going on, but this has been happening for the last 35 years. Nothing has changed in the breast implant world.

Informed consent in Arizona means surgeons are mandated by state law to give the patient an information booklet that is supposed to come with every single set of implants. Women in other states are not getting that information.

GPAC developed a patient decision checklist to help people understand in layman’s terms what those diseases look like. Most people don’t know what “connective tissue disease” looks like, so listing out the symptoms is important. They see those things on the informed consent list and just initial. So if they start developing all these symptoms, it’s much easier for them to figure it out. They can take their implants out and get their health back quicker.

Let women choose. If you give women a list of symptoms and explain all the things associated with breast implants, some people will walk away, and others will still choose to get them. But at least they’re informed, and if they do start to have symptoms, they’ll know exactly what it’s from. Don’t lie to people about it.

Cancer Caused by Breast Implants

Most of the cancers caused by breast implants develop in the capsule. If you think of an orange, the part of the orange we eat is the breast implant, and the peel around it is the capsule. Gel bleed happens when the chemicals we’ve been talking about leach into the body. It’s right in the manufacturer’s literature and all their safety studies. These chemicals are leaking out into the body. The body recognizes that there’s a foreign object, so it builds scar tissue around the implant to protect our body from it. Unfortunately, that’s where the cancers are developing.

The same surgeons who said breast implants don’t make us sick are also saying if you take your breast implants out, don’t take the capsule out. You don’t need to, but the cancer grows in the capsules. So why would you leave it in there? You don’t want that in your body knowing it can develop cancer.

This cancer migrates out of the capsule. It metastasizes very quickly and spreads to bone and nearby tissue and organs. It has such a high mortality rate – about 50% of patients die within six months of being diagnosed with this cancer.

Does this happen with all implants?

A lot of these symptoms cross over into all implants and surgeries where other things are being put in your body. It’s basically anything your body would deem a foreign object.

We aren’t just seeing patients with breast implants going through this. It’s a surgical mesh, it’s dental implants, metal pins, and rods, etc. Why aren’t doctors telling their patients? Many of these things are needed, but at least patients can be on the look out of symptoms start to develop.

Mesh surgical implants can have similar symptoms. Surgeons like to tell patients that it incorporates into your tissue, but it actually disintegrates, dissolves, and migrates to other parts of your body. They can perforate your organs and bowel. They can migrate and strangulate your bowel to cause blockage and a rupture. These are complications that patients are not being told about.

Medical devices are a big business. People don’t realize how deep the conflict of interest goes. And this happens in all kinds of businesses and industries.

There are breast implant manufacturers at the top of the hierarchy, and it trickles down to surgeons, who take hundreds of thousands of dollars from these implant manufacturers. These people have positioned themselves in positions of power and influence. They are key opinion leaders in the industry, so they go to their medical conferences every year and they give speeches talking about these products. Their colleagues and peers are listening to their presentations and taking it at face value because they did a “study” on it. What they don’t know is they also took $1.2 million from one breast implant manufacturer alone. The surgeons who are speaking out about the dangers of implants are being harassed by their colleagues. The narrative is being controlled by the wrong people.

Robyn and Amanda are trying to look out for other women. There’s no judgment. This is not the fault of women. Women should be able to do what they want. There needs to be a better job of respecting a woman’s right to make that decision with informed consent.

Interested in an Explant?

Robyn always recommends looking for support groups where women have been through this experience, used those doctors, and are sharing their experience with those doctors. There are the big Facebook support groups we mentioned, but there are also local ones. You can look for local doctors that women in your area have used.

Robyn also recommends at least 2-3 consultation appointments. Just because someone had a good experience with a doctor doesn’t mean you’ll like them. Do your research on the doctors and interview your surgeons. Connect with other women who have been through this. Talk to them about their experience.

Amanda had to have multiple consultations with several doctors before finding the right one who believed in her symptoms. Trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Go to a surgeon who does explants on a routine basis.

Healing Process after Explanting

Even after removing the implants, there may be lingering issues. Amanda sees it as an opportunity to heal not only on a physical basis but on an emotional and spiritual one, too. It’s up to us how far we want to take that healing. She helps all of our patients pre-surgery by getting their bodies prepped. That might include a lymphatic massage because our lymphatic systems, in many cases, are stagnated from the breast implants. Start opening up your detox pathways so the toxins can get out when your body does start detoxing.

Amanda also helps patients in the weeks after their explant. She took her healing slowly because she wanted to see what started improving on its own and what was directly correlated to the breast implants. If you start doing too much, you won’t know what the breast implants cause. Amanda noticed the inflammation starting to drop off pretty quickly. Every body is different, and how these breast implants affected you is different from Robyn or Amanda.

Amanda was sick for 7.5 years, and it took about 1.5 for her body to get back to normal and for her to start feeling and looking like herself again.

I want to thank Amanda and Robyn for taking the time to educate us about breast implant illness. If you or someone you know has had implants without being properly informed, please share this episode with them! You could save someone a lot of time suffering from unknown symptoms.

About Amanda and Robyn

You can learn about the advocacy work Amanda and Robyn are doing on the GPAC website. GPAC is committed to working collaboratively to endorse, support, and empower our global patient advocates by implementing positive changes in each country, utilizing the skills and network of each of our amazing colleagues.

Follow Amanda on Instagram

Explore GPAC resources

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