Tonia Rossington, a mother of three from Skegness, has described the moment she cut out her own breast implant. Tonia, 49, had her breast implant operation in Brussels back in 2004 and hoped that increasing her bust from a B-cup to an F-cup would help raise her self confidence. Her husband paid for the procedure, which apparently cost £2,400, but Tonia struggled to pay for the private removal of them after her anxiety set in.
Privately, the procedure for removal cost £3,000 so Tonia wrote to her GP to talk about her anxiety and depression from her large cup size, only to find that they would only be removed through the NHS if the implants were ruptured and causing severe pain or if there was capsular contracture, where extreme scarring forms a hard shell around the implant.
Understanding the stringent NHS rules, and refusing to burden the health service with the cost of the removal, Tonia decided to take matters into her own hands and remove the implants herself. Shockingly, she looked up the operation on YouTube and followed the steps exactly to ensure she didn't rupture any important veins. She apparently used a 99p painter and decorator's blade to emulate a scalpel, and waited until her husband was in work so he couldn't talk her out of it. Due to the nerve damage from her previous surgery, her pain receptors had stopped working and the removal was mostly quick, easy and painless.
Tonia said: "I was still trying to talk myself out of it. I kept saying to myself. Don’t be crazy. You’re not thinking straight. Anyway it got to teatime and I got some ice cubes out of the freezer and put them in a plastic sandwich bag and tied it up like an ice bag. I went upstairs, I got the mirror in front of me. I sat there for a while and thought I’d just cut a little bit to see if it hurts. I put the ice underneath where the original scar is. I lifted my boob up and held the ice there for five minutes until I couldn’t bear it any longer. After a bit I pinched the skin and I couldn’t feel anything. I just got the knife and I did a tiny little incision on the original scar tissue and I couldn’t feel a thing. I thought “Oh, this doesn’t hurt. Great”.’
Tonia traced the scalpel along the line of her 14-year-old scar, being careful not to go any further so she wouldn’t hit any major veins or arteries. The procedure seemed straightforward until one of her implants broke as she tried to pull it out, rupturing and splitting in her hand. In her panic, she was forced to cut through fat and scar tissue and get herself to a hospital as soon as possible: "I got some gauze and I grabbed the implant and that’s when I realised that it was ruptured," Tonia said.
"As I pulled it a chunk of it came off in my hand and that’s when I panicked. There was silicone everywhere. As I was pulling it it was just turning to mush. I didn’t want to end up costing the NHS loads of money and I just hated them so much I wanted them out there and then. Now they’re gone I just love it. I’ll be honest, they don’t look pretty, there’s a lot of saggy skin. But I would never have implants again. They were the worst mistake I ever made." Tonia took herself to hospital where they took a look at her breasts to make sure she hadn't further injured herself, and though she was lucky doctors have urged others not to follow her example.
Plastic surgeon Dr Naveen Cavale, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said performing an explant at home was extremely dangerous, with a risk of hitting arteries, infection and excessive bleeding and "[Tonia] has been amazingly lucky to get away with it."