A while back we documented Lane’s leg implant gone terribly wrong — part one, part two, part three (and it actually continues after that as well) — recently another problem piece, this one on iam:teenagerfrommars, manifested itself. What’s interesting to me is that in “body modification-style” implants on the calf, I’ve seen a very high complication rate — probably over 50% — whereas in the medical community, calf implants are actually a very low risk implant comparatively speaking (usually the ratio is the other way around). I don’t know if this is because they have a larger surface area, or some other factor.
Sarah emphasizes that she doesn’t regret what she went through, and doesn’t want to scare anyone away from implants, but does feel that it’s important that her story be shared, and I agree. This summer she decided on a large crop circle implant, carved from silicone and about 8″ by 3″, to be put into her left calf — this is the photo the artist sent her of the piece prior to implantation.
Continue reading for how the events unfolded.
At first things seemed like they’d be fine — at twelve days it was starting to get definition and she was looking forward to it being healed:
Unfortunately healing was far from easy. Over the next six months it was constantly filling with fluid, then swelling up painfully and enough to make walking unpleasant. She drained it several times which did little but cause her more pain, and she was losing hope that it was every going to settle down. In addition, her incision never healed properly, presumably due to the constant pressure from the swelling.
About three weeks ago she found herself in more pain than usual, but didn’t have any of the typical signs of infection, so she thought it was fine and planned on toughing it out. A few days later, at work, he leg felt “kind of odd — it didn’t hurt but it didn’t feel right either.” It didn’t help that on her way home from work she banged her leg on her car door. When she got home and took off her pants she discovered that the implant had begun to break through the skin.
She made a doctor’s appointment, and within a day a larger portion of the silicon was exposed and looking very unpleasant. Several days later when she had her appointment — her doctor was very understanding and non-judgmental by the way — they referred her to a plastic surgeon two days later, and instructed her to dress the wound and clean and change it daily (a very painful process).
They’d also swabbed her to check for infection, which came back positive. Sarah was put on heavy-duty antibiotics to keep the minor infection from getting worse or going systemic, and after her meeting with the surgeon was scheduled to have her procedure under general anesthesia two days later. This was her first hospital visit so she was quite nervous!
They made quite a large incision to remove the whole implant, and sealed it up with about twenty staples, leaving a drain (the photo above was the day after the staples were removed). Because of sickness from the anesthesia and her pain medication, Sarah mostly just slept for the first week, and describes the checkup three days later as “the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life”. A home care nurse has been helping her, and may continue to for several weeks. She has not yet been able to return to work.
Bearing him no ill will, she may be going back to the same artist to have a scarification piece done to hide the scars left from the surgery, but emphasizes to those considering implants, “just make sure you know what you’re getting into and don’t take the risks of any procedure lightly, you never know.”