Florida woman says breast implants grew moldy

Imagine mold sewn up inside your body, festering undetected for years causing a debilitating litany of disorders. A Florida woman says it happened to her after breast-implant surgery, and she’s warning the thousands of women who get implants each year that it could happen to them, too.

“It’s not a story a multi-billion dollar industry wants to get out,” Anne Ziegenhorn, who lives in the Pensacola area, said.

Ziegenhorn was a picture of health suddenly in 2011 started gaining weight, lost her vision and experienced burning, unrelenting pain. She had sores all over her body. Her thinking was so cloudy she thought she might have Alzheimer’s. She was misdiagnosed with everything from lupus to arthritis to thyroid problems. Finally, a saline breast implant, covered with mold, was removed from her body.

“Silicone sickness [by] itself is one entity. And then you add the mold to it, and you’ve got two illnesses going on,” she said.

The diagnosis that Ziegenhorn believes saved her life came from Dr. Susan Kolb, author of “The Naked Truth About Breast Implants.”

“My experience in doing this for thirty years is that eventually everybody will become ill from their breast implants, unless they die sooner from something else,” said Dr. Kolb.

Dr. Kolb says she’s seeing lots of women with mold in their saline implants, often from defective valves. She says in 25-30 percent of the population, it’s debilitating.

The doctor is not anti-implant — she has them herself — but she believes for safety, women need to get their implants replaced every eight to fifteen years.

Through Dr. Kolb, Anne Ziegenhorn met other women suffering the same frightening symptoms. “All the neurological symptoms,” explained one patient, Amanda Gilcrease. “Burning, numbing, stabbing, shooting, electrical shocking pains throughout my body.”

They formed the Implant Truth Survivors Committee to educate women and doctors, and to force the FDA to listen.

CNN affiliate WEAR asked the FDA if they had heard reports about illnesses from mold in saline implants or silicone shells. A spokesman said they had not, but the agency does say most women will eventually need to have implants replaced.

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