Testimonial: Alejandra Gonzalez 

Alejandra Gonzalez always had small breasts that she wanted enlarged. Many of her family members had had breast augmentation surgery, and in 2016, the 22-year-old from Medellin likewise underwent a procedure with a well-reputed doctor.

The first day after her breast surgery, Gonzalez felt pain and inflammation in her right breast. She said her doctor told her it was normal, but over the next week the inflammation worsened. Her doctor ordered massages and an ultrasound, but after the appointment, Gonzalez only felt worse. She began to have fevers and general malaise.

Holding a hand across her chest, Gonzalez hunched over and said that she always had to hold herself in that position because of the overwhelming pain.

Her doctor continued to insist that her condition was normal but operated on Gonzalez again to remove excessive inflammatory fluid. She said she felt better for a day or two, but the pain returned and worsened.

Her doctor suggested having the implants removed, and Gonzalez underwent a third surgery. However, the pain and inflammation persisted, even after the surgery. Gonzalez said she was also allergic to one of the medications she was given, which exacerbated the inflammation.

“I was in a state of complete crisis. I couldn’t handle my sickness anymore,” she said. “I always felt like I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t wash myself, I couldn’t pick up my phone, I couldn’t hold my son.”

Gonzalez was in agony while her husband tried to contact her plastic surgeon without success. Finally, they went to the emergency room. After reviewing her test results, a specialist told her that she had an infection in her chest that travelled to her shoulder and that her spine was at risk.

Gonzalez also saw a pain specialist, an infectious disease specialist and an internist who prescribed a mix of antibiotics. If the drugs didn’t work, the doctors would have to intervene with surgery on the spine.

 “It was overwhelming because a surgery for my breasts resulted in requiring surgery on my spine,” said Gonzalez. “It was a complete disaster.”

After ten days on the medication, the pain subsided, and Gonzalez began her recovery without requiring the spinal surgery. She still feels chronic pain in her chest and can’t pick up her young son.

“When I was in the hospital I asked God ‘If you save me, I’ll tell everyone what happened to save anyone from suffering the same thing as me,’” she said. “I don’t want to fall silent. Talking about this isn’t easy, but the sadness that I keep is overwhelming.”

Alejandra Gonzalez’s right breast became infected and inflamed after receiving breast implants. Her doctor later removed the implants, but Gonzalez still suffered from a chest infection. 
(Photo | Alejandra Gonzalez)