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This week we invite you to think about the Body Positivity movement, and being comfortable in your own skin while we confront the topic of body modification and elective surgeries that involve implants. If you are considering a physical modification to your body It’s important to understand the risks, the inflammatory conditions that can erupt, and how these problems can erode your health so you can identify the root cause of these issues if they arise for you.
One Woman’s Incredible Journey
To navigate this difficult conversation I was joined by Candice Barley on Nutrition Without Compromise. She shared her reasons for getting breast implants (4 times over), and her ultimate decision to remove them through explant surgery “en block” because she was so sick for so long.
But No One Believed Her
She talks about the incredible health challenges she faced for years and how she suddenly just knew that her sickness was caused by her breast implants. Sadly, no one believed her.
Becoming A Patient Advocate
She had to learn to advocate for herself – and now she does the same for other women who need help on their health journeys related to Breast Implant Illness (BII).
There’s A Better Way
There is a better way to increase your breast size – using your own body’s fat stores. Breast reconstruction and breast augmentation can both be solved naturally. Candice shares about these options. The doctor she advocates for, Dr. Robert Whitfield, recently expanded on these methods in his guest appearance on Dave Asprey’s The Human Upgrade (hotlinked from our episode page). You should definitely give that a listen after this show.
About Candice Barley
Candice Barley is an actress, producer, and mother of three sons who turned into a Patient Advocate as a result of being incapacitated from the effects of her breast implants. She began sharing her journey first on the red carpet and now uses her different platforms to share resources, products, and interviews with expert doctors, to help educate and empower women with breast implants.
Key takeaways from this episode:
- Candice’s awakening as a patient advocate
- What it is like to undergo breast explant surgery
- Effects of breast implant surgery
- The recovery process from breast explant surgery
- Alternatives for breast augmentation
Guest Social Links:
How Breast Implants Compromise Your Health and Make You Sick, Rob Whitfield, M.D. on Dave Asprey’s The Human Upgrade (ep. #1043)
YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR BODY: Body Positivity, Implants, and Recovering From Breast Implant Illness
As someone in my mid-40s, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on body image, insecurities, and how augmenting or changing our physical appearance can hold a promise, fulfilled or not, that we might feel just a little better about ourselves. This could come in many forms. Some choose to get body wraps and use waist trainers to get that curvaceous and sexy look. Others train vigorously to attain the physique of their dreams. And some turn to doctors and medical practitioners to spruce themselves up with injections and fillers to look more like their vision of a beautiful person. And then there’s the world of plastic surgery, from rhinoplasty, to all kinds of implants.
But what is at the root of these desires. Is it a quest to forever be a little more perfect than you were before? Is it to battle some mean-spirited comment you overheard in your formative years? Is it the result of media, and an overactive comparative nature? You know what they say, comparison is the enemy of joy. But even that – that discounts the human experience doesn’t it?
I think we all have moments where we feel insecure, where the comments or whispers get to us. I know I heard plenty as a young girl. Thunder thighs and Co-rhinocerous were two of the most common insults. OK. I don’t have the smallest nose. I even broke it once as a kid. Possibly even twice – but I have managed not to take the rhino out of this Co-rhinocerous. No rhinoplasty for me.
Does that mean I’m not insecure about my nose? No. It just means that I’ve accepted it. Sure, I have my “good side” from which I pose for pictures, but mostly, I’ve worked through my insecurity about my nose. I know it’s not straight, and won’t ever be. I know I have a little hump at the top of the bridge. And it’s mine.
I’m not sharing this to criticize someone for choosing to get plastic surgery, to correct something that dissatisfies them, to change their body. But today, I’m opening this uncomfortable discussion that sits at the intersection of body positivity and a desire to be a little better or different at the same time. I’m therefore bringing you a conversation I har with Candice Barley a little while ago on Nutrition Without Compromise.
Candice is an actress, a ballet dancer, and someone who has been working her whole life in a performative capacity. She also happened to be naturally svelte and relatively flat-chested. In this episode she shares transparently about her entire experience, about how after nursing her children, she lost what little breast tissue she had. Many women will relate to that. So being an actress who is subject to a different kind of scrutiny than most of us – and wanting to look and feel more feminine – she got breast implants. But here’s the thing about implants. They are made of material that is foreign to your body – so your body tries to protect you from them. Inflammation ensues. In some individuals this can make you very sick. That’s what happened to Candice.
So today, you’re going to hear about her journey, about walking away from those implants, about the dramatic health improvements she saw, about coming to terms with your own body, and about building back naturally – using your own tissue – when augmentation and reconstruction is wanted or needed. After you listen to today’s episode, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from her doctor too. Dr. Robert Whitfield – who performed Candice’s explant surgery was a guest on Dave Asprey’s the Human Upgrade on 4/20/23. I’ll link to that episode in show notes so you can find it and listen to it, after first hearing Candice’s story. You’ll learn why she became a patient advocate for his office – and why she chose him as her explant surgery – in just moments. Now, for the formal intro I gave on Nutrition Without Compromise.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m thrilled to offer the stage to one woman who is no stranger to the silver screen and who has shifted much of her focus from her life as an actress to patient advocacy for women who suffer from Breast Implant Illness, also known as BII. Her name is Candice Barley. She’s an actress, producer, and mother of three boys who had to become a health detective as a result of the incapacitating effects of her own breast implants.
After recovering from explant surgery back in 2019 and spending the next two years healing from that trauma, she began sharing her story, first on the red carpet, and then with all of us on her Instagram channel @OlisticoLife. There, she offers daily updates in her morning vlog where she educates and empowers women with breast implants.
Candice works as a patient advocate for one of the leading BII specialists and explant surgeons, Dr. Robert Whitfield. She uses her platform to share resources, products, interviews with expert doctors, and healing protocols that work for her and her community. As we dig into this particular episode, we’re bound to get a little graphic, so this may serve as a trigger warning for some. We’re also bound to talk about the specific things that worked for Candice.
It’s important that all of you understand that what we talk about on this show is offered for informational purposes only. If you have a specific health condition, if you have out-of-context inflammation, something that you need support with, you should seek medical care from a qualified professional.
We’re happy to bring this content to you each episode, and if you like the content that you read, I would encourage you to follow the show, follow Candice, and engage with us deeply. You can send your questions always to us at Orlo Nutrition and also through our email to Hello@OrloNutrition.com. Without further ado, I’m going to bring Candice right up. Candice Barley, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m very happy to be here.
You have been through a lot over the last few years and in the midst of a pandemic at the same time, when I can imagine it must have been doubly hard to get to a diagnosis and solutions. I wonder if you could share a little bit about your journey. What landed you at that conclusion of needing to get an explant surgery?
It was a very long road that started many years ago. I got breast implants when I was 24 years old. I had children young, at 20 and 22, and never had much in the way of breasts, but I was like a lot of young girls bullied in middle school and high school. I was a very serious ballerina, all throughout elementary and middle school. I was fine with the way that I was built. It wasn’t until I was in a locker room with a bunch of girls in middle school that the tormenting began and I didn’t understand it. I was like, “I guess something’s wrong with me. The tribe, my peers, don’t accept me. There’s obviously something wrong.” That continued.
Eventually, you get out of high school and all of that stuff. I clearly hadn’t healed from that trauma. After breastfeeding, once I was flat again, I was like, “Now, I can do something about it. I’m going to get breast implants.” I got a very small set of saline implants. From the first moment I woke up with them, they felt foreign. I was like, “Okay, but this is what I’m supposed to look like.” I had them, and two years into having them, one of them ruptured. I’d been doing yard work. I called the surgeon in a panic. They said, “No worries. Come in. We’ll exchange them.”
They put in another set of saline. They told me I had to go bigger because the skin stretches and you have to go bigger. I was like, “I don’t want to be big.” “No. We’re the doctors. We know.” I had another set of implants. Two years later, I was riding a rollercoaster for my son’s birthday, and another one ruptures. Same thing, another exchange. They put in bigger ones. All this time, I’m having these symptoms that start to show up, never, ever putting together that they all started after my first set of implants.
Those are things like chronic fatigue to the point that I was going to the doctor and saying, “What’s going on? I feel like maybe I have thyroid issues. I’m so tired. I shouldn’t be this tired at 25 years old.” They said, “No, it’s because you have two kids under four.” I’m like, “Okay.” I started having things like a restless leg and other nerve things and overall feeling not well. Whenever I would go, they would say, “It’s fine. You’re stressed. You’re tired from being a mom.”
Eventually, they released silicone again and said that it was safer than the old-school silicone. It was a cohesive gel, and if you have ruptures, then this is what you should switch to. I was like, “Okay. That’s what I need to do so I don’t keep having ruptures.” I switched to the gummy bear silicone implants again. They went even bigger. The reason I keep mentioning that is because as a patient advocate and as someone who talks with hundreds of women a week, this is very common.
Every woman asks to have a certain size, like a B cup, and they are all made a D or a double D cup across the board. That’s a real issue in itself. Anyways, I switched to silicone, and after that, I started having major hormonal issues. I went to the doctor, and the doctor was like, “You need to be on birth control.” I’m like, “Okay.” At this point, I’m so desperate and so busy as a mom that I just want to feel better.
You want a solution, and you trust them.
Fast forward to seventeen years with implants, I am finally bedridden. I am so sick that I have full-body tremors. My liver is failing. I’m diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. I eat all organic. I don’t drink alcohol. I try to work out, but I was too exhausted to work out anymore. I don’t drink out of plastic. I do all the things, take all the supplements, and I’m sleeping eighteen hours a day. My cholesterol’s through the roof because my liver can’t process fats anymore.
I finally go to a functional practitioner and they start running all these tests. They’re like, “Your body’s falling apart.” I’m like, “Why?” I do food diaries. I do all these things and they can’t figure out why. I am a spiritual person, but I was so fed up. I was sitting in a chair in the corner of my room and I was home by myself. My mom had to take care of my youngest son. In desperation, I was crying and saying, “What is wrong with me?” I heard in my ear, “Breast implants.”
At this point, I’m 41 years old and I’ve never heard a voice in my entire life. It was my higher self, whatever you want to call it, God. Something intervened because I wasn’t getting the message. I immediately picked up my laptop and typed in, “Can your breast stem implant make you sick?” I found thousands of stories exactly like mine.
I’ve got pins and needles all over my body hearing that part of your story. I felt the chills run down my spine because there is a moment in most people’s lives when they feel like they suddenly know something. It would take that level of conviction for you to go to your doctors and say, “That’s it. These have to go.” They’re sitting there probably looking at you and saying, “It’s not the implants. It’s all these other things, but it’s not the implants.”
I was scheduled for a liver biopsy because my liver enzymes were doubling and tripling every 3 to 4 weeks. They’re like, “It’s time to biopsy your liver.” At this point, I’ve found these groups and stuff with all these women who have breast implant illness. I had never even heard of breast implant illness. They get their breast implants removed, and they get better. I’m like, “I have nothing left to lose at this point.”
I said, “Let me get my breast implants out before we do the biopsy.” They rolled their eyes and were like, “Okay, whatever.” I found a specialist who performed breast implant removal on block, which means that they remove the entire scar capsule that forms around the implant. Any foreign body in your body, your body forms a capsule around it to protect your body from whatever it is that shouldn’t be in there. It’s very important that that capsule be removed as well.
I had my surgery, and my blood work was taken from my liver enzymes the day before, and they were even worse. Mind you, I’ve had general anesthesia and narcotics and all these things, my liver should be even worse. Four weeks after, my liver enzymes had reduced by half. They already were outside of the safe ranges, but they had reduced by half. They let me hold off on the biopsy and said, “We’ll test again in four weeks.” I tested again in four weeks, and my liver enzymes were completely normal.
This is also speaking to the power of the human body to regenerate. The fact is that the liver is one of our most vital organs in many ways. You need your heart first in a way, but you can’t live without your liver. People who get liver transplants often only get a portion of the liver, and it can then fully regenerate into a full-fledged organ, which is a unique attribute of our organ systems. That’s still surprising that it would be that fast.
That was one of the issues. That was the measurable issue that they could see on paper. The other things that I personally was experiencing were hair loss, full body tremors, extreme brain fog, chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, and heart palpitations to the point that I did have to wear a heart monitor for a while and they couldn’t figure out why that was happening. There are rashes, hormonal imbalances, and weight gain. I could not lose weight no matter what I did. It wasn’t normal weight. It was inflammation. It was water weight, puffy all over.
All of these things slowly started to resolve. I had so many other things going on that I had to run my own detox protocols and figure out what worked, what didn’t work, and all those things. The only thing that had changed from the time that I had seen the liver specialist to them finally canceling my liver biopsy was removing my breast implants.
You spoke of them briefly. This is why your body would build vasculature and encapsulate it. Almost like it’s working to protect you from whatever is there.
It does the same thing with tumors in your body. The way they remove tumors is they remove it all intact in one piece.
At this point, you’ve gone through three breast implants, if I counted that correctly.
There’s my original surgery, then the exchange for the first rupture, then the exchange for the second rupture, and then silicone.
That’s four, plus the explant surgery. Each of these has risks and also recovery time. Many people have this assumption that, “Breast implants are elective surgery. It’s not that big of a deal.” There’s a lot of pain associated with going through this 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time. I imagine the explant surgery may have even been worse in some ways.
The implant surgery is most definitely on a whole other level because most breast implants are placed behind the muscle. As you’ve had implants for years and years, your pectoral muscle atrophies. They have to go back in and remove the capsule from the ribs, and all that is a very intricate procedure. It has to be performed by a specialist.
Sometimes they have to do muscle repair, and it’s a much larger incision because everything has to be removed in a certain way. Recovery is a lot different than normal breast augmentation. There’s the whole emotional side of that, of having large breasts and then going back. It’s not even back to exactly what you looked like before because whenever you surgically alter something, it’s not going to look like it did before. There’s that whole aspect to it as well.
The way that you can break down and explain what breast implant illness is for everyone is it is out-of-control inflammation from a foreign object in your body. For a while, your body can try to deal with it and then eventually, it becomes out of control for most of us. The doctor that I work with understands and was very interested in trying to pinpoint why certain women get sick from their breast implants, why there were a few that seemed to be okay, and then why there were some that didn’t get better immediately after explant.
There are a lot of different factors. It’s not that you remove your implants and then everything’s fine because of so many different things. So many other fires have started in the house during this long time that you were not aware that it was your breast implants. You have to address all of those. A big part of it is genetics and your immune pathways.
For instance, now that I’ve done my genetics, all four of my main immune pathways, which are my antioxidant, my Vitamin D, my glutathione, and my methylation pathways, don’t function optimally and genetically. I supplement all of those now and I feel great, but I wasn’t supplementing those when I had implants, and my body couldn’t kick everything out.
For those that are already doing exploration into some of these fine-tuning details around your health, you might be familiar with the MTHFR insufficiency, which I believe is what you’re describing when it comes to the methylated vitamins. You’re told, for instance, that you need the methyl form of the B vitamins, like methyl folate, methylcobalamin, so that you can absorb those nutrients. Otherwise, they aren’t getting in, and because they aren’t getting in, your hormones then fall completely out of whack too. The hormones regulate so many systems within the body that when that cascade starts to occur, it’s like you’re in a super-aging spiral.
That’s the whole other thing. If your body’s in a chronic state of inflammation, you are aging faster. Everything is not operating the way it should be. Everything that you’re trying to do to counteract doesn’t have a chance because your body’s running a race that it can’t win for most women. There are very few.
I would say all the time that working with Dr. Whitfield, there have been maybe two women who have come in and been like, “I’m done with my implants. I’ve had them for twenty years. I feel fine. I have no symptoms,” and they don’t. We get their genetics back, and they’re perfect. Their family, like their mom and grandma and everyone lives to be 105. There are some people that are fine genetic specimens that can deal with the inflammation. For most of us, no.
That’s the people that drink and smoke until they’re dying days and they still live to be 90.
It’s like saying smoking and everything is safe because this person can do it. Most people can’t.
I’ve shared on this show before. I have one representation of APOE4. Now, research is coming out that shows that people, even if they don’t have the MTHFR insufficiency, being of this genome type may impact how you absorb fats into your tissues, like your brain and your eyes. Now they’re investigating the pathway to say this is the reason, for instance, that people of the APOE4 genome type with one representation or two.
If you get it from both parents, you’re even more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, dementia, and brain and eye disorders as you age. Now that they’re seeing this, they’re saying, “What form of fats do we need so that we increase our chances of not developing these late-stage diseases as we age?” One such researcher I interviewed on this show a while ago, her name is Melanie Plourde.
We talked about this connection and how the APOE4 allele can potentially keep you from getting the most out of even your omega-3s. This is why taking an Omega in the polar lipid form, like those produced by Orlo Nutrition, is that much more helpful for people who have a representation or both of that particular allele.
Regardless, it’s better absorbed by anybody. That’s like if you’re trying to do something to impact your inflammatory health and it’s not doing anything and your system’s still attacking a foreign body, in this case, a breast implant, then even if you had taken a truckload of omega-3, it probably wouldn’t have solved that because there was too much of an inflammatory assault in our system.
My heart goes out to you because I can imagine what this was like. I didn’t have my kids until I was 39 and 41. I don’t think I ever slept eighteen hours in a day. Mine were both under four at the same time. I still had energy. I was tired because I wasn’t sleeping through the night, but nobody ever said to me, “It’s just you’re a tired mom. That’s why.”
This is what I hear time and time again from women who have been like, “I’ve been going to the doctor for years. I’ve been having these same issues.” They’ll tell them, “You just have anxiety. You are not getting enough sleep. You need to work out.”
You might have that too. You might develop anxiety from something like that.
Anxiety is a big problem. Depression rates go up a lot with breast implants because of neural inflammation. Dr. Whitfield has one of the biggest studies of EEGs on women with breast implants of anyone in the world that we know of. He kept hearing over and over, “I have this incredible brain fog. I can’t remember words. I can’t remember my kids’ birthdays. I feel like there’s a veil over my mind.” He was like, “Okay, we got to figure out what’s going on.”
That could also sound like a hormonal issue because that’s what women often complain of as they go through menopause.
Yes, but you have women in there as young as 23 who have had implants since they were 18 saying this. Doctors looked for patterns. The only pattern he could see was they all had breast implants. He started using a medical EEG device and measuring women before their explant surgery 1 week after, 1 month after, and 3 months after. He was being able to get quantifiable data showing that their neural inflammation was going down and that the response times to the brain tests were going up. It wasn’t them saying, “I feel better. I can think more clearly. I feel like the veils been lifted.” He could show it.
Could you test it out?
It’s neural inflammation.
You alluded early in our conversation to the fact that you already had healthy eating habits, that you didn’t drink, and that you were setting yourself up for the best possible success. You’re a former ballet dancer and you’re physically active. All of these things together, you have healthy habits. I imagine you also probably took some supplements too. They weren’t helping you. You needed to go through this.
What I’m coming to is twofold. One is we do have some societal constructs that say, “This is what a woman looks like. An attractive woman, especially somebody who’s working to be in Hollywood, needs to look like this. Here’s a surgical solution. Go for it.” Here’s my question, and this might be surprising to some if they haven’t thought about it.
Do you go through any psychological screening as you’re getting ready to perform breast implants or get augmentation in some way here? I’m wondering if there’s a connection in a way to the expectation from the person that’s going to commit to having surgery that alters their body and whether or not they’re mentally prepared for the change. If they had to go back, what that would look like?
No, and nothing like that is ever discussed. Now, they go into more detail about some of the risks because they legally have to because the FDA forced them to put a black box warning on the device. They technically have to have women briefly sign something. As far as that, there’s not. There should be because the level of depression, anxiety, and even suicide rates that happen with women with breast implants increases significantly.
I wondered if there was some screening because we know now, too, that people who decide to go through gender reassignment or official gender surgeries, gender-related surgeries, they’re required to go through a laundry list of psychological assessments before a surgeon can sign off on something like that. To me, this seems like it could be somewhat connected because it is dysmorphia with how your body is structured.
You’re saying, “I’m not happy with the way that my body fits, so I need to change it.” I would imagine, too, that even if you didn’t have a physically negative reaction to the breast implants, if you had an expectation that you would feel a certain way after the implants and that you didn’t get that feeling or you somehow didn’t feel at home in your own skin still, that might also increase the incidence of depression and things along those lines because the bandage didn’t work in a way.
A lot of women feel trapped by them because they feel like they have something so foreign. Most of the time, you get used to them. I meet with a lot of women who are like, “I hold my body.” Their whole center of gravity goes off because they feel like they have to cover themselves and hold them and do a little because it feels so foreign in their body. I feel like that’s a lot of women who are already very in touch with their bodies. I wasn’t at 22 years old or 24 years old. Even going through always say I’m grateful I would not ever change all of the horrible things that I’ve been through because I don’t know that I would be grounded now and in touch and in tune with my body like I am had I not been through all of this.
I learned a lot about myself and my body. Now I can tell when a supplement’s working, when a food’s working, and when things that I was so disconnected from before, I now can tune into. I’m grateful because now I’m able to help so many other women who have the same story. My story is not unique. Not everyone has a failing liver, but they have pretty much everything else. They have other things like they are misdiagnosed with MS.
They are diagnosed with Lyme without ever having had a tick bite. They are diagnosed with lupus even though they don’t truly have the markers. They are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. They are given all of these blanket diagnoses that basically have no treatment. No one ever says, “Did you have any of this before you got breast implants?” No one. When you ask them, they go, “No, I didn’t.”
The other thing people who have not had breast implants don’t understand is that even if they don’t rupture, you typically need to get them redone every 10 or 15 years n the outside.
Yes. Truly, it should be every 8 to 10 years because, at the eight-year mark, shell degradation starts to occur. I always remind everyone that all implants are silicone because the shell is silicone. The filler is either saline or silicone, but the shell itself is silicone made of about 38 different types of chemicals, heavy metals, benzene, and platinum, which is a driver. That drives all the other heavy metals into your system. They start to break down and degrade. The rupture rate goes up by 0.5% every year, starting at the eight-year mark. They don’t tell you that. My thing is always, “Where is it going if something’s degrading inside your body?”
All implants are silicone because the shell is silicone.
It doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out. When I first heard about amalgam fillings, half of the mercury in the amalgam filling in your tooth is no longer in the tooth five years later. I had a mouthful of them as a little kid. All of my molars had amalgam fillings in them. I went through the process in my twenties of having each of them replaced. Even that was a big deal because they had to have proper ventilation for myself and for the person performing the extraction.
It’s mercury, and when you drill into it, mercury oxide is formed. You don’t want this stuff in your body. Half of it, at least, is already in your system. Mercury disrupts hormones. It does all sorts of other things that are negative. It can inspire brain fog. If you’re talking about now also having platinum within the system that drives further degradation, and let’s say you have a mouthful of metal, you are set up for failure.
I haven’t even gotten into the other aspect of it. Every single time you have an implant exchange, the risk for bacteria increases substantially. The doctor I work with also has the largest group of PCR testing of the actual capsule. What he has found is in 35% to 45% of the capsules, they come back with biofilms, which is bacteria, micro bacteria, and more fungus. You’re basically harboring a low-grade infection all the time in almost half of the women that have implants.
You’re basically harboring a low-grade infection all the time in almost half of the women that have implants.
The most common bacteria that comes back positive for is cutibacterium acnes, which is something that is on the upper half of your body. A lot of times, shoulder implants will come back positive with that, but not up to 40% of the time. This is an extremely high rate for a particular type of surgery that is in women and that is performed.
If there was any type of skin contact when they were moving or putting in the new implant, that’s how that can get in there. It’s performed so often that I’m not sure that all of the standards that go into placing other medical devices are held. At certain points, you don’t even have to be a plastic surgeon to do breast augmentation. You can just be any type of doctor.
I didn’t know that. You don’t have to be a plastic surgeon. Do you just need to be a surgeon?
I know, at one point, I think there are even cases of dentists doing breast augmentations.
It makes my earlier story laughable too. You could be doing mercury extractions and then breast implants. This is crazy.
There are a lot of different ways that these things happen. The bottom line is they happen, and this is the other essential part of going to get surgery with an experienced explant surgeon because they have the correct tools. It’s the same as removing mercury in a safe way. They have to remove it all in one piece so that if you have textured implants, which is like highly stimulating sandpaper within the body or you have a rupture with silicone spilled all over, even if they’re cohesive gel, which is supposed to stay like a gummy bear, they do liquefy if they’ve been ruptured long enough.
Also, if you have this micro bacteria and bacteria, you don’t want that opening up in the chest wall. There are a lot of surgeons now because they’re going to do whatever follow the money. More women are coming in to ask for their implants removed. If they haven’t been properly educated on how that has to happen, then these surgeons are like, “Yes, I’ll do that for half the price of everybody else. I can even do it in the office awake.” They make a little tiny incision and pop out the implant and leave open the capsule. These women come back to us months or years later, even sicker than they were before, and we have to go back in and do an exploratory capsule removal.
At that time, talking about taking something out instead of as one piece, it’s potentially broken into many pieces. I watched a video on TikTok that was alarming where a surgeon showed an implant within the capsule and then cracked it because it hardens.
That surgeon still performs breast augmentations. I’m very familiar with him. He did mine. I’m glad that he’s showing those things, but at the same time, I’m always like, “How is this not a conflict of interests? How do you see what is happening inside the body with breast implants and have women coming to you so desperate and so sick and then go, ‘Tomorrow I’ll put some more in?’” The doctor I work with does not place breast implants and hasn’t for years. When he did, he was primarily doing it for cancer reconstruction.
If a patient who had recovered from cancer had a different type of autoimmune issue or had Hashimotos or any of those, he would tell them they were not a candidate for a breast implant because he saw too many issues. For women that had preexisting conditions with autoimmune issues, psoriasis, and different things like that, he would be like, “No.”
That speaks to ethics. I want to mention it for a moment because this reminds me of an earlier episode. I had Dr. Shawn Tassone on this show and I learned about you listening to his show, Confessions of a Male Gynecologist. He also talks about some of these for-profit surgery centers and how they like to do things like install pellets that release hormones at a constant rate for a woman who’s going through hormone replacement therapy. He flat-out will not do them for similar reasons. He sees continual problems. He’s like, “I could be a very wealthy man doing these pellets, do multiples a day inserting these implants.”
He paved the way for these women who were coming in sick from Essure, which is a device that many women use for sterilization. It’s a foreign device in your body. They were having all these same symptoms because it was all inflammation driven by a device. He would remove them, and they would get better. He was like, “I’m not putting them in anymore.”
There’s a lot of money in it, so people keep doing it.
These surgeons, like Dr. Whitfield and Dr. Tassone, are very brave because they are going against the flow of their associations. I commend them. They are on the right side of history.
What’s the first thing you’re told to say? First, do no harm. A doctor is essentially going against a Hippocratic Oath. If they know something can create problems, then yet they still continue to do it. What’s the justification? “This woman wants implants, she’s going to get them from somewhere if she doesn’t get them from me, so I guess I’ll do it.” That’s not justification.
A doctor is essentially going against a Hippocratic oath if they know something can create problems, then yet still continue to do it.
I want to go to two places before we wrap up our interview. First, I want to understand what the recovery process was like and what you ultimately found that would support you on that journey. Anybody reading, if they’re considering going the explant route, if they have implants and they want to stop that whole struggle for them, what would that look like?
The second piece is this. To understand if you wanted to have some breast augmentation, what other options are available? Some people are going to pursue something there because either they might have had reconstruction issues, or they might have been in a situation like you were after breastfeeding. You simply didn’t have much left and you didn’t feel as feminine anymore. You want a solution. I’d like to first talk about explant recovery and then about other options.
I do want to also state that I was doing all the things. I was eating a low-inflammatory diet and taking supplements. I don’t know if I would have been alive had I not been doing that. I know it was helping. The first thing that we tell women who come in wanting an explant is to immediately remove all processed foods from their diet, remove gluten. To eat an organic diet, only use organic or grass-fed wild codfish and protein sources. That’s the very first thing.
After explant surgery, recovery depends on where you go. We don’t use drains in our surgery. It’s very important for you to have a high protein diet because surgery puts your body in a stress state, which is a catabolic state, which is everything’s leaky. You produce a lot of fluid. We’re trying to get you in an anabolic state by increasing your protein to 100 to 150 grams of protein a day, which is a lot. It helps in expedited recovery.
We have a lot of vegetarians and vegans and so they can do that with pea protein. For immediate recovery, ice is the best, non-expensive, most important anti-inflammatory that you can use. We have everyone ice half an hour on and half an hour off for days and it makes a big difference. Also, movement, walking around. We don’t want people laying around in bed. Walking around and getting the lymphatic system going is very important. All of the things, a little bit of sunlight, good filtered water, and getting your greens in. What was the next part?
That’s the heavy part of recovery from explant surgery. It doesn’t sound like it’s rocket science. A lot of what you shared is common sense. It’s interesting that you don’t use drain tubes because that’s so commonplace in breast implant surgery and explant that you would think that would be the norm. You’d have drain tubes.
Many surgeons still do, but it increases your likelihood of an infection. The other thing that I love that Dr. Whitfield doesn’t do is prophylactically put you on antibiotics. He understands that’s going to destroy the gut. We are very gut minded. Most women have an understandably messed up gut microbiome. For me, I’m always like, “They don’t study these things, but you have this up here. Where is it flowing downriver to you?” All of the women have awful issues with their guts. Not doing other things to further disrupt the gut is very important.
I haven’t heard of many surgeons that don’t put you prophylactically on antibiotics. They even want to do that often when you deliver a baby if you have any issues going on.
It’s been proven that that doesn’t prevent an infection.
How about treating it if you have an infection? Your body can also handle a certain amount of bacteria. That’s part of how the system works. That’s commendable. If we’re looking at the alternatives that exist for women who are looking to augment their chest, what protocols does Dr. Whitfield have?
His background is in breast reconstruction, post-mastectomy. For instance, for a mastectomy patient, we would recommend either fat transfer or a deep flap. He doesn’t do deep flaps anymore. That’s microsurgery. That’s where you take tissue from the thigh or the abdomen and you rebuild a breast. It is an amazing surgery for creating a breast mass. That would be what I always recommend for anyone who has had cancer and needs reconstruction.
I’ve had women sit in the office and say they felt worse with breast implants than they ever felt with cancer. That’s what we would recommend. For women who either are wanting to augment their breasts or who have had breast implants and are scared to have them removed and not know what to do going forward, fat transfer is a wonderful option. I myself have done the fat transfer.
I did a very small fat transfer. I’m barely an A-cup. After all the inflammation went down in my body, I didn’t have fat on myself anymore. We had to harvest from a bunch of places. I had to add my implants for so long and because I had such pectoral atrophy and because I’m a low BMI and didn’t have breast tissue to begin with, I was concave.
For me, it was like reconstruction and at least being able to wear a V-neck shirt or anything like that without it looking odd. It was a great decision. I’m very happy. That can even be done locally without general anesthesia. You don’t have to go in for major surgery to do fat transfer, and you’re not going to have issues. It’s your own tissue, your own fat. Everyone wants to say, “I’ll donate fat,” but you have to use your own.
The overall message you’ve shared with our community is so profound. I want to say I’m proud of you for being willing to come up and speak so transparently about your experience. I’d love to know if you have any particular parting thoughts that you’d like to leave our audience with or if there’s a question that I haven’t asked that you wish I had. You could ask and answer it.
More than anything, I want women to realize that they are more than their bodies. I didn’t get a fat transfer for two and a half years. I had to learn to love myself. The way I looked during that time, I wouldn’t trade it. I’m glad I didn’t get to have an immediate fix like, “You took the implants out and put fat in, and I look totally normal.” That was a very transformative time for me.
Women are more than their bodies.
Women who are going through that or who are scared to face that part of explant surgery, if they were someone who didn’t have much tissue, to begin with, do not fear it because it turns out to be the most amazing part of your life journey here. I can see how it was attached to my purpose. Never did I think as someone who was trying to hide everything about my breast as a little girl because I was humiliated and made fun of for it to then having implants that were bigger than they were ever supposed to be.
I was always covering them up to being someone who has shown all of the ugly sides of the pictures of things that I’ve gone through on this and to be openly talking all the time about it. There are so many women that have that journey as well. I feel like we’re all a tribe and that we should all support each other and know that you’re more than your body.
When we are looking specifically at International Women’s Week, that’s a profound message that you are more than your body. Everything upstairs and more. Are there any myths you’d like to debunk before we part as it relates to breast implants?
They’re going to make you feel like you’re more. Most women feel like they’re going to feel complete, they’re going to be feminine, or they’re going to feel like they are more. I never felt that way. The women that I work with every single day also don’t feel that way. They’re literally there to get their breast implants removed and they’re embarrassed to show the surgeon. They’re not even comfortable with them. They never feel like they’re a part of you.
The idea that breast implants are going to make you feel like you fit in is a myth because then you don’t feel like you even fit in your own body. I always say the best decision I have made for myself in years was removing my breast implants. I’ve never missed them once. Getting your body back is worth it. It is worth anything that I had to go through.
You got your health back.
They are not all there cracked up to be.
I want to thank you again for being so transparent and for being willing to come on the show and tell your story. I also want to share with the audience here that if you are dealing with inflammatory disorders, often these issues are hard to diagnose. What you read from Candice could be very similar to your journey, completely unrelated to something like breast implants. It could be that you have something like Hot Mouth syndrome or something to that effect, which is also tied to inflammation.
So much of what we do, so much of the assault on our bodies that trends towards these hard-to-diagnose and hard-to-deal-with issues are because our system has become inflamed. Those inflamed issues can come from environmental toxins. They can come from an implant or from a poor diet that’s high in processed foods.
They can also be compounded by a genetic issue like having an inborn insufficiency related to the MTHFR gene or APOE4 allele. Knowledge can be power. You are a powerful woman, Candice. Thank you so much. I hope that we’ve inspired people to think a little bit more deeply together about the things that they choose to do to their bodies and also support that reduction in inflammation by balancing their diets. I always say to reduce processed foods and increase whole plant-based foods. If you eat a lot of seed oils, consider reducing those and also increasing your Omega-3s. These two things can help your body get into balance. Again, thank you so much for joining me.
What a treat this has been. I’ve so enjoyed this connection with Candice. I want to be sure to offer you all of the context and the ways to reach her. To find out more about Candice Barley, visit her website, OlisticoLife.com. You can also find her Instagram page, @OlisticoLife. You can always send an email note to me directly through email at Hello@Orlonutrition.com or through our social platforms at @OrloNutrition.
As a reminder to all of you, if you’re tackling inflammation, if you want to increase your omega-3s, if you are trying to best your health, then I encourage you to check out Orlo Nutrition’s omega-3 and immunity-boosting products. All of our readers qualify for an introductory 10% off. You can simply use the code NWC10 at checkout to receive an additional 10% off your order. That is in addition to any sitewide promos that we’re presently running.
You simply use the code at checkout on OrloNutrition.com. If you learn something, I hope that you’ll subscribe on your favorite platform and also write us a written review. This is one of the ways that more people discover the show and so you can help be a part of the solution and help more people achieve the best health that they can naturally. I hope that you’ll join me as I prepare to say my closing words and raise my favorite beverage in the morning with all of you. Here’s to your health.
- This interview with Candice Barley originally appeared on Nutrition Without Compromise, presented by Orlo Nutrition
- Candice Barley
- @OlisticoLife – Instagram
- Melanie Plourde – The Emerging Research World Of Omega-3 Absorption For Brain Health With Professor Melanie Plourde, Université De Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
- Dr. Shawn Tassone – The Real Truth About Hormonal Balance With Dr. Shawn Tassone, America’s Holistic Gynecologist
- How Breast Implants Compromise Your Health and Make You Sick, Rob Whitfield, M.D. on Dave Asprey’s The Human Upgrade (ep. #1043)
ABOUT CANDICE BARLEY
Candice Barley is an actress, producer and mother of three sons who turned into a health detective as a result of being incapacitated from the effects of her breast implants.
After recovering from explant surgery in 2019 and spending the subsequent two years healing from BII (breast implant illness) she began sharing her journey first on the red carpet. She appears on her IG channel @olisticolife daily in her morning stories vlog where she helps educate and empower women with breast implants. Candice works as a patient advocate to one of the nation’s leading BII specialist and explant surgeons, Dr. Robert Whitfield. She uses her different platforms to share resources, products, interviews with expert doctors, and healing protocols.