TAMPA, Fla. - She just wanted to look better, and for 4 years, Johana Rodriguez says she did.
"Right there," Dr. Bart Rademaker said, examining Rodriguez in his Tampa office Wednesday. "That hurts?"
The pain started a couple weeks ago, along with a fever and swollen lymph nodes.
"With pain right here in my arm," Rodriguez remembered. "I started getting scared."
She had no idea the pain was from industrial grade silicone leaking through her body, after her breast implant ruptured.
"I feel like I'm too young and I never thought this would never happen to me," she said.
Rodriguez traveled to Colombia when she was 18-years-old for breast augmentation surgery. Her doctor used PIP breast implants, recently banned after medical professionals realized they contained commercial silicone.
"Gets into the bloodstream, gets into other organs," Dr. Rademaker said. "Your organs can actually shut down."
PIP implants were widely used abroad for cheap surgery. Rodriguez paid just $3,000 -- half the cost of the procedure here in the US.
"They think it's going to be less expensive for them. The truth is very different," Dr. Rademaker said. "Forty to fifty percent of people who go abroad end up with various types of problems that then cost them a lot more money."
Industrial silicon is used for paint and waterproofing. Some 30,000 French women were affected, another 40,000 in the UK.
In January, PIP's founder was charged with involuntary injury.
"I don't know what to think. I'm just really scared," Rodriguez said. "I just want to take them out, to be honest. Just take them out."
Symptoms of a faulty breast implant that needs to be removed include pain, fever, and loss of energy.
Dr. Rademaker recommends anyone with PIP implants to have them removed.
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