By Sarah Francis
A former Playboy model had her breast implants removed after claiming they were making her sick.
Stunning Karen McDougal, 45, had a boob job in 1996 to ‘enhance’ her appearance when she was 22-years-old.
She was told the saline implants would last a lifetime and despite frequent illness, which she put down to allergies, went on to have a successful modelling career.
However, 12 months ago the bombshell brunette’s health took a turn for the worst as she began to experience vision loss, black outs and severe migraines.
The Playmate of The Year was increasingly unable to work or socialise and by October was confined to her bed.
Last month, Karen had her implants removed and since then her health has dramatically improved.
Now she is calling on the industry to add warnings to their implants so that other women don’t go through the same ‘living hell.’
Karen, from Los Angeles, California, said: “I think, like every girl, I wanted to enhance my appearance and I wanted my chest to be bigger and feel more womanly.
“I was told they were safe and they would last a life time.
“Apart from being slightly more painful that I had imagine, everything with the initial surgery went fine.”
Although Karen suffered mild allergies that she now thinks was related to the implants, it wasn’t until January 2016 that she become very sick.
She said: “I started noticing something weird was going on with my body in January.
“I was getting blurred vision and would pass out a few times a day.
“Severe migraines, light and sound sensitivity – even the own sound of my voice was painful. It was very emotional and so painful.
“Then I started having panic attacks as I was worried to leave the house in case I passed out.
“By October I was pretty much in bed. I prayed every night because I thought I was going to die.”
Three different doctors and neurologist assessed Karen without a diagnosis.
She said: “Everyone said there was nothing wrong with me.
“They thought it was all in my head.
“I’ve lost friends over this as I have to keep cancelling plans.”
After hearing about Breast Implants Illness (BII) and speaking to other sufferers, Karen decided to have her implants removed.
She said: “In the end I gave up on the doctors and I just made the appointment.
“I was in living hell and was convinced it was my implants. It was hard, as I wish I had larger breast naturally but in the end my health was more important.”
Since having the surgery three weeks ago, Karen has notice her health is considerably better.
She said: “I actually feel great.
“I’ve noticed I have more energy, my light sensitivity is gone, my hearing sensitivity is gone, severe migraines gone, joint pain gone, blurry vision gone, dizziness and blacking out gone.
“It’s a long process to heal and will take time, but I am feeling better already.”
Karen has gone public with her story in a bid to ensure breast implants come with a warning of potential side effects.
She said: “It should be the same as with smoking where there’s a health warning issued.
“I was so scared I thought I would die any minute. I was scared for my life.
“We can’t let that happen to other women.”
She added: “It’s important to do your research, study and try to find hidden information.”
Dr Rankin, from Aqua Plastic Surgery in Florida performed the operation 31st January.
He said: “The surgery went very well. Because Karen had implants long term the tissue had stretched so we were also able to perform a bust lift.
“For Karen aesthetics are important and everything came out well and she looks great.
“When we first met, she was complaining of illness, not being able to get out of bed and muscle fatigue – a lot of the symptoms went away straight away so I was very pleased.
“I do a lot of ex-plants. At first I was skeptical of breast implants illness, but I am seeing a lot of women getting better right away, I think there’s a susceptibility in some women and their body fights the foreign part.”
To follow Karen’s recovery visit online @karenmcdougal