Former Sports Illustrated and Playboy model Angie Everhart and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills phenom and heiress Eden Sassoon have revealed they have both suffered from the mysterious breast implant illness.
Eden told The Doctors that her three sets of breast implants each left her with progressively worse pain, while tearfully recounted how hers burst, her subsequent battle with thyroid cancer, and the symptoms she is still left with.
‘I have pain in my body on a constant basis,’ Angie said.
Breast implant illness is not yet recognized by official medical organizations, but it’s disparate painful symptoms – including everything from pain to brain fog and hair loss – are very real to Eden, Angie and some 50,000 women in the US.
Eden and Angie laid bare their struggles with wanting to meet standards of beauty, suffering through breast implant illness, and processes of healing and feeling like their whole selves again on the CBS show.
RHOBH star Eden Sassoon got her first implants at 19, but ended up with mismatched ones and breast implant illness, she told The Doctors (left). After several different sets, supermodel Angie Everhart’s (right) implants burst during childbirth. She later developed thyroid cancer and still suffers chronic pain she believes is linked to scar tissue from the implants
Daughter of the hair and beauty icon and mogul, Vidal Sassoon, Eden confessed she felt the pressure to fit in.
‘As a young girl, being a Sassoon, it was like, “you don’t look good, we don’t look good,” she said on the doctors.
‘It was like, “we all look like that, why don’t you look like that”…I realized my boobs are never going to look like that unless I got these.’
The 46-year-old then held up two silicon implants that had once been surgically placed in her chest.
The daughter of beauty mogul Vidal Sassoon, Eden, 46, said she felt she needed to get implants to fit the family standard
‘Which, I ended up with two different ones.’
Eden got her first breast implants – a silicone pair, as she described to Glamour – around age 19.
It’s not clear what type her surgeon used to replace one years later, or for her third breast surgery, but the two that Eden had removed in 2017 are visibly very different.
‘These are my third set, and I just progressively got worse and worse and worse and then the last time I was was sick, my thyroid went out, I thought I was dying,’ Eden said.
‘I had pain [in my] neck, down the shoulder, through to the finger consistently, I had head fog, I’d visit my chiropractor every day…So I’m like something is not right.’
It wasn’t until she joined the cast of Real Housewives season 7 that Eden realized that it might be her breasts making her feel ill.
She didn’t wait for a diagnosis – not that there was likely to have been an official one to give – but quickly had her doctor remove the implants in the early part of 2017.
‘I’m on thyroid medication and I will always be, but for the most part, everything is amazing,’ Eden said.
It was during her time on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2016 (pictured) that Eden realized her breasts might be the thing making her feel like she wasn’t herself – and in pain
Older studies, dating back as far as the 1990s, have suggested a link between leaky breast implants and certain thyroid conditions, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Other studies have suggested a higher incidence of a rare immune system cancer among women with breast cancer.
But symptoms like Eden’s – chest pain, fatigue, hair loss, headaches, rashes, chronic pain, problems sleeping, brain fog or neurological disturbances – may be autoimmune or related to the effects of the implants on connective tissues.
They are both more common and harder to prove, and have been loosely termed ‘breast implant illness.’
Women suffering these symptoms are often unsure where to turn.
‘I went to 40 different doctors and I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling bad,’ said 50-year-old Angie, a former Playboy cover girl, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model and actress who’s become an advocate for women’s rights.
Posing on the cover of Playboy, Angie Everhart holds her augmented breasts (left). The supermodel went through several sets of breast implants before the popped and had to be removed in 2009 when she gave birth to her son (right)
‘I went to an autoimmune specialist, I went to a brain specialist, I went to a cancer specialist – I have seen every specialist in this town [of Los Angeles] to figure out why I feel the way I feel, and I’ve never been diagnosed.’
Angie, too, has gone through several different pairs and sizes of breast implants and, ultimately, four surgeries to remove them, she said.
Finally, when her son, Kayden, was born in 2009, Angie’s implants ‘popped,’ she said.
‘Right after that, a year-and-a-half later, I got cancer.’
Angie developed thyroid cancer a year-and-a-half after her implants popped. Even after four surgeries go remove the implants and beating cancer, she still suffers pain that she now believes may be from breast implant illness and linked the ‘caspulations’ of scar tissue left
Although there is a well-established link between breast implants and some thyroid conditions, there’s less data to suggest a connection between them and her cancer.
By March 2013, Angie had beat the cancer.
‘I’m cancer free, but I still have the same symptoms – shoulder pain, brain fog, pain in my body on a constant basis.
Dr Ritu Chopra, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and a guest on The Doctors, thinks that the lingering symptoms may be because – though the implants themselves are gone, the body forms a capsule of scar tissue that can become hard and inflexible causing pain.
‘When the were finally removed, I still have the capsulation in there, and I feel horrible,’ said Angie, who added that she wants to see Dr Chopra about having the scar tissue removed
But, equally importantly, Angie said: ‘this is a women’s issue that needs to be talked about,’ rather than ignored and dismissed.