Plastic surgery is becoming more and more commonplace, and everything from injectables to more traditional procedures (like breast augmentations and face-lifts) are on the table. While these procedures can be done safely in the hands of a practiced doctor, unfortunately, there can be rare cases of unwanted side effects — which is exactly what seemed to happen to YouTuber Karissa Pukas after she received a breast augmentation in 2014.
According to The Daily Mail, Pukas revealed in a YouTube video that she struggled so much after getting her breast augmentation with side effects like brain fog, acne, hair loss, and fatigue that she decided to have the implants removed this year. Pukas says her implants made her “feel like I was living in a 90-year-old’s body.”
The video, titled “The Truth About Breast Implants,” is captioned, “My breast implants were making me chronically sick – here is my story.” In it, Pukas mentions that she’s felt sick since she got her breast augmentation in 2014, though she doesn’t often show the pain on social media. The video chronicles the past four years in flashbacks, including one in which she says, “I’ve had on and off blurry vision and I feel like I’m an old woman. I have hip pain, back pain and digestive issues. I don’t understand why I feel so old and debilitated at 26 years old.” She also mentions symptoms like foggy memory, acne, diarrhea, and more — all of which she traces back to her 2014 breast augmentation.
She says in the video that she prides herself on living a “healthy lifestyle,” including eating a vegetarian diet and exercising regularly, but none of these things worked well enough to combat her daily pain. Doctors were telling her nothing was wrong, but she says, “It just didn’t make any sense, given the lifestyle that I lead and the priority that I put it.” That’s why she decided to get her breast implants removed earlier this year.
Since Pukas’s experience with breast augmentation is not the norm, Allure spoke with North Carolina-based double board-certified surgeon Peter Capizzi about Pukas’s. Capizzi, who has over 15 years of experience in the field, says, “I can assert that this is NOT a typical experience for breast augmentation patients,” referring to Pukas’s years-long struggle with unwanted symptoms after her surgery. He continues, saying, “That said, there are steps that patients considering breast augmentation can take to ensure a positive, healthy recovery and the results they desire.”
He has quite a few recommendations for avoiding unwanted outcomes when it comes to breast augmentations. First, Capizzi recommends finding a trusted plastic surgeon with outstanding qualifications for your procedure, scheduling multiple consultations to make sure you choose the right practitioner, and choosing your surgeon based on who is best aligned with your goals rather than cost. He tells Allure, “I’ve treated patients who required repair due to out-of-country plastic surgery. They had gone this route to save money, only to find they need to have their results revised due to inexpert surgery and aftercare.”
He also recommends taking time and care to choose the correct implants for you. He says, “In my opinion, the fifth generation gel implant, known affectionately as the ‘gummy bear,’ is the safest and best available on the market today. I was an FDA co-investigator for these Sientra-made implants, which have the lowest complications rates of any implant, and have what I consider to be the best warranty coverage to-date.” In fact, they’re the only implants he now uses in his practice.
Capizzi also recognizes that many factors are at play when talking about patient recovery, but says that choosing a surgeon with a higher skill set and experience level will lead to a better outcome and thus, a lower risk of infection. Though it’s unclear why Pukas’s experienced the level of complications she did, Capizzi says any patient experiencing difficulties should call the Patint Care Coordinatior assigned by their surgeon’s practice.
While it’s clear that any invasive surgery comes with a risk, many come out the other end feeling “fucking awesome,” so make sure that with any elective procedures you’re asking your surgeon all the right questions, as Capizzi points out.
– Originally written by contributing editor Rosemary Donahue for Allure