Stephanie March shared her breast enhancement story. (Photo: Getty Images?
Actress Stephanie March is being candid about the most painful role of her life. The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit alum penned a personal essay for Refinery29 about the harrowing health experience that began in 2014 when the actress, now 41, decided to have breast augmentation surgery.
At the time, she was dealing with a number of emotionally draining situations, including job frustrations, healing from two previous back-to-back surgeries (appendectomy and endometriosis surgery), and the end of her marriage to celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
“I could not fix it — any of it,” she wrote. “My job. My relationship. My life. Not a damn thing. But not being one to sit on a problem (after all, as Joan Baez said, ‘Action is the antidote to despair’), I decided to try one last thing. And what I did next was exactly what you are not supposed to do when it comes to plastic surgery. I decided to change my body because I couldn’t change my life. The previous health issues and surgeries had left their mark, and I was down about 15 pounds. Down and sad and tired. You know what doesn’t look so great when that happens? Your breasts.”
However, March’s pick-me-up turned into a terrifying series of events. About two months after receiving her new breasts, she woke up one morning to the sight of mucus dripping down her chest.
“It was everywhere, soaking my shirt and the sheets. My right implant was infected and the seams of the scar on my right breast had burst. I raced to my surgeon’s office. He shot me full of anesthesia, deftly removed the entire implant, cleaned and packed the wound, and immediately sent me to an infectious disease doctor.”
For six weeks, she was left with a hole in her breast while her doctor prescribed rounds of antibiotics before replacing the implant. After more failed attempts, she decided to have the implants removed, writing that she was “allergic to the implants,” and returned to her natural state.
“She is using the term ‘allergic to the implants’ incorrectly,” Norman M. Rowe, MD, a plastic surgeon based in New York City, tells Yahoo Beauty. “She was not allergic to the implants. She had an infection of the implants. These are two different things.”
Rowe explains that implants (whether filled with saline or silicone) are constructed with a silicone shell, “and silicone is inert, meaning the body does not reject it.”
He adds that infections can occur in up to 4 percent of implant patients. “Most infections occur due to contamination at the time of surgery,” adds Rowe. “However, I have seen women get breast implant infections after dental work and urinary infections.”
(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
While any patient is at risk for an infection, he agrees with March’s doctor’s course of action. “Two to 4 percent of breast augmentation patients get infections that require antibiotics, and if the antibiotics don’t treat the infection, removing the infected implant is the only option,” states Rowe.
“Given the fact that her surgeon elected to remove her implants right away after she presented with the infection, her infection must have been advanced,” he continues. “Also, given the fact that she again had an infection after the implants were replaced, her initial infection must have been severe.”
“All that I had, all that I was, from the beginning, was all I needed to be,” concluded March. “And now, I anticipate summer of 2016 with great joy. I will be poolside, beachside, and swimming — and perhaps, in a more daring moment (with a margarita nearby), I will be topless. I have nothing to hide.”