If you’re one of the 3.6 million people who follows Crystal Hefner on Instagram, you’d think everything in her life was status quo. That’s because the 30-year-old Playboy model has been posting old photos of herself to maintain “a façade of normalcy,” as she put it, while she battles breast implant illness, which she claims caused a whole host of debilitating complications, including cognitive dysfunction, incapacitating fatigue, burning bladder pain, and recurring infections.
On June 15, Hefner had her breast implants removed, claiming they were “slowly poisoning” her. She confirmed the procedure on Instagram and Facebook just yesterday with a post-op picture of herself and a long caption explaining and bringing awareness to her crisis. She says that at first, she ignored her symptoms, “labeling myself a hypochondriac, despite truly worrying that there was something wrong with me.” Hefner had chalked up her aches, pains, brain fog, and fatigue to Lyme disease and toxic mold, which she’d been previously diagnosed with. But when she talked on social media about her intolerable pain, stomach issues, and night sweats, comments from her fans started flooding in.
My Breast Implants Slowly Poisoned Me Intolerance to foods and beverages, unexplained back pain, constant neck and shoulder pain, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog, memory loss), stunted hair growth, incapacitating fatigue, burning bladder pain, low immunity, recurring infections and problems with my thyroid and adrenals. The mildest of those symptoms started a few years back. The aches, the bladder pain, brain fog, fatigue. I ignored it, labeling myself a hypochondriac, despite truly worrying that there was something wrong with me. I joked about losing my memory to age, and about getting “lazy”. I began to cancel appointments and shoots because everything exhausted me. Before everything went downhill I was at the gym five days a week, and always shooting and working. I’ve had days in 2016 when I couldn’t get out of bed. I’ve felt such despair knowing life was happening all around me but I couldn’t participate. I had to miss my Summer DJ residency at my favorite Vegas spot, the Rehab pool at The Hard Rock Hotel. The fatigue was so severe that I could barely leave the house or drive. I was afraid to get up there in front of a crowd and go blank with brain fog. I had a bunch of spare photos that have enabled me to stay active on social media for the last six months. I’ve tried to keep a facade of normalcy while working to figure out what was going on with my body. Once I became allergic to most every food, had intolerable pain, developed stomach issues and night sweats, I began to research. I found a holistic doctor (Dr. Farshid Rahbar) and was tested for everything. After I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and toxic mold, I posted about it on social media. I began to receive comments saying that my symptoms resembled “Breast Implant Illness.” I found a Breast Implant Illness website and Facebook group with almost 3,000 members. My symptoms matched theirs. Over time, implants (both silicone and saline) break down and wreak havoc on your body. The shell on silicone and saline implants is comprised of silicone and over 40 other toxic chemicals… (continued in link in bio)
A photo posted by Crystal Hefner (@crystalhefner) on Jul 19, 2016 at 9:13am PDT
A number of people told Hefner that her symptoms sounded a lot like breast implant illness. That led the Playmate to the Internet, where she researched her ailments and found she had an alarming amount in common with sufferers of the little-known affliction. “Over time, implants (both silicone and saline) break down and wreak havoc on your body,” Hefner explained on social media. “The shell on silicone and saline implants is comprised of silicone and over 40 other toxic chemicals: tin, zinc, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, formaldehyde and talc to name a few. Your immune system is constantly fighting them, leaving you vulnerable to other illnesses.” Hefner says she felt better immediately when the implants were excised, but that she knows it will take some time to feel like her healthy self again.
According to the National Center for Health Research, more than 38,000 people had their breast implants removed in 2015. That’s a little more than a 10th of the 300,000 people who received implants — yes, a whopping 300,000. Still, it’s a significant amount, and “explant” procedures are only on the rise. According to Health, which cites data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the procedures increased by 10 percent between 2010 and 2014. (Hefner claimed explants are the 10th most performed surgery in the United States, but she didn’t name her source.)
A few days ago, Hefner debuted her implant-free figure on Instagram in a post promoting nutritional supplements. And yesterday, she posed looking healthy and happy in an American flag-patterned bikini.
A photo posted by Crystal Hefner (@crystalhefner) on Jul 20, 2016 at 9:18am PDT
“The new me. Happier and healthier. Using 2016 to reclaim my health and embrace and love myself for the real me. Thank you for the overwhelming support on my post yesterday, I love you,” she captioned the image. Commenters lavished her with support. “So much better. Perfect. Natural. Gorgeous,” wrote @heathermeeker. “You look so much younger! Beautiful inside and out! Thank you for bringing awareness to implant poisoning, it has made me think twice about it!” @emilyanne.22 chimed in.
Hefner didn’t reveal whether she had silicone or saline implants, but silicone implants have become notorious for the complications they allegedly cause. According to WebMD, in 1992 the FDA restricted the use of silicone breast implants to only people having reconstructive surgery, but reversed its decision in 2006 “after reviewing research and finding no connection between silicone implants and disease.” The site says that according to the latest research, though, ruptures are a risk with both types of implants, and there aren’t any significant safety differences between the two.