Mum and daughter toxic implants.
MARGARET HALL and her daughter Tracey Ahmet do everything together.
But the tradition backfired when the boob jobs they had turned into a nightmare, ending up costing them £19,300 and a host of health worries.
Traumatised Tracey, 45, whose new boobs exploded twice, says: “We just wanted to treat ourselves and share the journey together. I wish we’d booked a holiday instead.”
The pair had operations to boost their B-cups to Ds.
What they hoped would be a great family experience ended in them being fitted with faulty and toxic implants, which destroyed their health and savings.
They got caught up in the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) scandal that caused a health scare across Europe and South America in 2012, affecting 300,000 women.
The French firm’s implants were made from unauthorised silicon filler with double the rupture rate of other implants.
With their money gone, they have been left in limbo with other PIP victims until the compensation court case concludes, which could take many months.
Both had the implants replaced after their health deteriorated and news of the scandal broke.
But Tracey’s new boobs exploded twice and one had to be removed in bits.
She has undergone seven operations and says: “It’s been a living hell. Our lives have been ruined.
“I’ve been left deformed and have had to accept I will never fully recover. Watching Mum suffer too has been horrendous.”
Retired care worker Margaret, 64, who still has her replacement implants because she is too scared to go under the knife again, says: “It’s been horrific.
“Watching Tracey go through what she has broke my heart.
“We’ve had each other to lean on but other women won’t have.”
Margaret first confided in her daughter that she was considering a breast enlargement in 2004.
Former care worker Tracey, who has two children aged 24 and 13, says: “Mum had been unhappy with her boobs for a long time and knew I felt the same after having the children.
“We both joked we hated our granny boobs and decided we’d look into it together.”
Tracey, from Romford, Essex, says: “We did our homework and spent a long time looking into the risks and surgical providers.
“We wanted to be safe, so we decided to stay in the UK and pay more rather than go abroad for cheaper surgery.”
They attended consultations and eventually decided on matching D-cups with different providers.Tracey had her operation first, followed by Margaret two weeks later at a different clinic.
Tracey says: “It was fun going shopping together for clothes we couldn’t have worn before.
“We were both very happy with our new shapes and enjoyed our new-found confidence.”
But just months later, both noticed their health started to fail.
They suffered chronic fatigue and regularly caught colds, but their GP could not find any cause for the sudden decline in health.
Tracey says: “We had lovely new boobs but we were both too sick to go out and enjoy them most of the time.
“The amount of pain I was in, I was sure I must have cancer or some other serious illness, but tests were always clear.
“I didn’t think it was possible to be in so much pain and nobody be able to tell you why.”
Tracey’s right implant had started to deflate slightly, but she did not link it to her symptoms.
Then a UK report published in June 2012 revealed the problems with PIP. Tracey says: “I heard it on the news and went straight to my paperwork, which I had kept.
“When I saw PIP, my heart sank. I just knew that was it. I felt sick to think there was toxic silicone mattress filling in my body and then I really started to panic when it hit me that Mum might be affected too.
“Telling Mum was awful. I just hoped and prayed that hers were not PIPs.”
Days later, Margaret’s surgical provider confirmed she had been fitted with the faulty implants.
The women contacted their GPs for advice and were told to go back to their surgical providers.
Margaret’s clinic offered to remove and replace her implants free of charge, but Tracey’s wanted £3,200.
She says: “Even when I was examined and they said there was a problem with my right implant, and they suspected it might have ruptured, they still refused to do anything unless I paid. It was money I didn’t have.”
Margaret vowed to help, using her savings to fund the operation.
They found a different clinic to swap Tracey’s implants, costing £3,800, in May 2013.
She was told her right implant had crumbled.
After the operation, Tracey was taken to hospital following a fit. A month later she woke to find her right breast had burst.
She needed to have the cavity washed out and the implant replaced again. The op was covered by aftercare but 16 days later surgeons warned it was dangerous to replace straight away. They wanted to remove it for six months to give the breast a chance to heal.
Tracey says: “I was crying at the thought of living with one breast for six months, but what choice did I have?
“There was nothing they could do. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone seeing me.”
She developed growths in her neck and under her arm.
One of the growths in Tracey’s neck got so large she had to have surgery to have it removed — and other PIP patients have reported similar experiences.
Tracey says: “I’d had the op to boost my confidence but I feared I would never be happy or confident again with one boob.”
She had it replaced in January 2014, but her body reacted badly and she then developed painful lumps in her armpit.
Her immune system was so weak that she had to give up her job.
Tracey says: “I loved my job and so I hit my lowest ebb.
“Some days I did not want to carry on but Mum was there for me. She understood how I was feeling and with her support I kept going.
“My surgeon told me my immune system was now so low that I was at risk of organ failure and death.
“I couldn’t get them out quick enough.”
She started working as a dog groomer and sold her belongings at a car boot sale to help raise the £3,800 needed for the operation.
In July last year she underwent her seventh breast operation and had all remaining breast tissue taken out at the same time. Tracey is now part of a group seeking compensation from the private clinics that treated them, that have so far refused to pay out.
She says: “I look worse than I did before the first boob op.
“I’d love to have the boobs I started with.
“Now I just have scarred little flaps of skin, but it’s not important to me any more.
“I’ve lost my job and my savings are gone. It’s so frightening. Why are we growing lumps? I wish people would tell us what is going to happen to us.
“I’ve accepted I will be ill for life, but what I cannot accept is how little support and advice we, the victims of this scandal, have had.
“Innocent, hard-working women like me and Mum have suffered and nobody seems to care.
“Yes we chose to go under the knife, but that doesn’t make it right that we were unknowingly poisoned.
“We live every day waiting for more bad news — all because of toxic breast implants.”
Price to pay for getting PIP implants
Tracey’s first boob job – £4,300 plus insurance of £300.
Margaret’s first boob job – £4,300.
PIP scandal breaks.
Margaret’s removal and replacement op – no additional fee.
Tracey’s removal and replacement operation – £3,800.
Tracey’s right breast implant removal and replacement – no additional fee.
Tracey’s right implant removed, leaving her with one breast – no additional fee.
Tracey’s right implant replaced six months later – no additional fee.
Five-inch lump removed from neck – NHS treatment.
Tracey’s final removal – £3,600.
Margaret’s implant removal not yet performed – £3,000.