Are My Fake Breasts Safe?
Former Miss Great Britain - Gemma Garrett
In 2008 I had implants because I had asymmetrical breasts - one was a bit bigger than the other and I was very self-conscious about it. However the implants were far too big for my small frame – and even worse they were PIPs (Poly Implant Prothese). I soon became ill and discovered that they had ruptured and had to be removed. I opted not to have them replaced as my faith had been shattered.
The French implants hit the headlines in 2010 after it was revealed that they contained industrial silicone and were more prone to rupture than others. They were banned and the French government recommended that all women with PIP implants have them removed, although the British Government have not gone this far.
I like to keep the implants to show people how “glamorous” they are. It makes me feel emotional looking at them, thinking that they were inside me. Unfortunately the rest of them are still in my body. Who knows what lasting effects they are going to have?
When I was approached to make this programme, (Are My Fake Breasts Safe? - Monday 9pm) I was anxious and excited. The past year had been so hard for me and I didn't know if I was strong enough to take on the challenge. I'm now so glad I did!
But what about the other 50,000 women in the UK and almost 400,000 worldwide who have been fitted with implants made from industrial grade silicone? With no-one taking responsibility, they are left desperate. Making this film, I met women affected by the PIP scandal who felt like they had a "ticking time bomb" in their chest.
I’m always quick to complain that women with breast implants are stereotyped but I realised that I’m no different. When I started filming, I fully expected to meet glamour model wannabes and self-obsessed prima donnas. Instead I travelled the country meeting a whole range of women of different ages who have had implants for many different reasons.
Most shockingly, I spoke to young school girls who are simply undeterred by the PIP scandal. My younger friend, Carly, seemed dead-set on having breast surgery even though she knew about my experience. I’ve told her that there’s nothing wrong with her boobs and that she would be putting herself through a major operation every decade perhaps for the rest of her life. It has left me wondering if enough information about the risks of plastic surgery is out there.
I met mothers who just felt it was the confidence boost they needed after having their children. Other women saw themselves as "deformed" when one breast didn’t grow. One twenty year old I met had implants – not PIPs - because one breast had grown much bigger than the other and the surgery has since caused her major problems.
Many of the women had thought long and hard about surgery and had come to the conclusion that the benefits outweigh the risks. Vicki had PIP implants because she felt totally flat-chested. When she decided to have them taken out, I went with her to the surgery. The implants were removed just in time - they were starting to rupture.
The programme sees me tackling the question, “Are my fake breasts safe?" With more women signing up every year for breast implants, I can’t help but wonder where this pressure to look perfect comes from and if the only safe way of having bigger boobs is to wear a padded bra?
Are My Fake Breasts Safe? is on Monday 21st May at 9pm.