A desperate mum performed shocking DIY surgery on her F-cup breast implants after claiming she was unable to afford the £3,000 operation to have them removed professionally.
Part-time cleaner Tonia Rossington used a 99p scalpel and a £2.50 bottle of Dettol disinfectant to carry out the extremely risky procedure at home.
Tonia, 49, began to hate her F-cup implants not long after she had them done in 2004 but recently started thinking about taking them out herself as she couldn’t afford to have the £3,000 op done privately.
But also not wanting to burden the NHS with the huge cost of removal, she set about cutting her F-cup boobs out in front of her bedroom mirror while watching a YouTube video.
Incredibly the mum-of-three felt absolutely zero pain after the original op had left her with such severe nerve damage her nerve receptors had stopped working.
Tonia said: "The NHS is under such a huge strain as it is and I didn’t want to add to that.
"I have a pretty strong stomach and knew I could just take them out myself.
"I tried to save for an explant. I was putting money in a jar but something always came up.
"I thought ‘This is never going to happen.’ I started suffering with anxiety and my giant boobs really started to get me down. I desperately wanted them out.
"I knew people would say ‘Well you shouldn’t have had them in the first place’ or ‘Well you had them put in, you live with it,’ so I just decided to do it on my own."
Tonia’s incredible self surgery is understood to be a world first.
The only other woman who has attempted the op herself is American Marlene Hooker, who was so distressed by her implants she slashed one breast open so surgeons would have to remove them in April 1992.
But that woman – high on valium to control her shaking – she only managed to pull some of the silicone from one ruptured implant out before she had to go to hospital.
Tonia, of Skegness, Lincs, initially had the breast op 14 years ago when huge boobs were fashionable, partly down to giant-busted celebrities like Melinda Messenger and Katie Price.
Her husband, 38, paid for her to have the £2,400 procedure in Brussels, taking her from a 36B to a massive 36F.
She had three children and had breastfed , leaving her natural boobs saggy and deflated.
At the time, 5ft 2in Tonia was a size 12 to 14 so the implants, although large, didn’t look too unnatural.
But within a few years, she lost weight and began to hate them.
She said: "At that time, all the big boobs were in fashion and I’d had three children and I thought ‘I want big boobs.’
"For a time I thought they were great, but that soon wore off.
"As I lost the weight they just looked ridiculous. Plus I’d lost some of my own breast tissue so they’d started to sag really badly.
"A year later I started to think ‘Oh God I’ve got to have these in now for the rest of my life.’
" I just thought ‘What can I do?’
"I would cover them up, wear tight bras and high-necked tops. But the last two years I got really serious about wanting them out.
"They affected me mentally and physically. I was constantly trying to cover them up.
"You know you see these women out with their low cut tops flaunting them? Well I wasn’t like that.
"I was wearing bras that were too small to squash them in. I hated them so much. I was ashamed of my own body."
A year ago, Tonia researched having an explant operation done privately and knew she would have to spend up to £3,000, which was an impossibility on her small salary as a part time cleaner at a local secondary school.
She wrote to her GP and said she was suffering depression and anxiety linked to her implants and also told him she had considered taking them out herself.
But a reply letter simply detailed the only ways that surgery could be performed on the NHS in her area – if the implants were ruptured and causing severe pain or if there was capsular contracture, where extreme scarring forms a hard shell around the implant.
So Tonia began to think about doing the job herself. She even mentioned it to one of her daughters, who naturally assumed she was joking.
Tonia said: "When I started thinking about doing it, I googled it.
"There was only one lady who’d tried in America, but she only got one out before she passed out and went to the hospital.
"I was only working part-time and in this country explant is a lot more expensive. I just couldn’t afford it.
"The NHS only do it in really severe circumstances, like if one’s ruptured. You need a really valid reason and you can be on the waiting list for years unless it’s a serious emergency.
"Even if I’d had gone with the NHS I knew it would be a long wait and I’d got it in my mind that I just wanted them out there and then."
So on Friday, March 16, Tonia decided enough was enough. She went into Skegness and bought a small bottle of Dettol, surgical gloves and a knife from a DIY store.
"At this point I was still thinking "Are you mental?" Tonia insisted.
"I came home and I lay awake at night just thinking ‘I’m going to do this tonight.’
"I was still trying to talk myself out of it. I kept saying to myself ‘Don’t be crazy. You’re not thinking straight.’
"Anyway it got to teatime and I got some ice cubes out of the freezer and put them in a plastic sandwich bag and tied it up like an ice bag.
"I went upstairs, I got the mirror in front of me. I sat there for a while and thought I’d just cut a little bit to see if it hurts.
"I put the ice underneath where the original scar is. I lifted my boob up and held the ice there for five minutes until I couldn’t bear it any longer.
"After a bit I pinched the skin and I couldn’t feel anything. I thought ‘Oh, this doesn’t hurt. Great!"
Tonia said she could tell the implant was ruptured when she began operating on hersef.
She said: "God it was awful. The implant had clearly ruptured.
"Then I came to something that looked like a pocket, which I’d read about.
"You get a breast pocket which forms around the implant. I came to that and thought ‘Oh s**t, I’ve got to get through this now. Seriously I’m not joking, there was no pain. It was unreal.
"And I was looking at myself in the mirror thinking ‘I’m dreaming this. Am I really doing this?’
"Then I saw the implant and that’s when the adrenaline kicked in."
Tonia pushed down on her implant – which was fortunately above the muscle – and the whole thing popped out of the hole.
She then took a deep breath and did the same with the left implant, which was intact and came out straight away.
The mum-of-three then put some makeshift dressings under her boobs and put on a bra to keep them in place before driving herself to the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincs.
Before leaving, she left her husband, who was working a night shift, a note to say she’d had to go to A&E but not to worry.
Shaking, she handed the A&E desk clerk a note detailing what she’d done.
At first they thought she meant she’d removed her contraceptive implant, but doctors couldn’t believe it when she said: "No, my boobs!"
They squirted saline in the ruptured side to remove the silicone and changed her dressings and she was discharged at 1am without stitches as it was thought the scars would simply heal themselves.
She has since had a scan at the Pilgrims Hospital’s breast clinic which shows that none of the silicone is still inside her body. Her scars are healing well.
She says her experience carries a serious message for anyone considering implants.
She said: "I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done. I think it raises awareness of exactly how desperate some ladies can get.
"If I want to say one thing, it’s don’t get implants, ever. I see these adverts on TV for MYA and these girls bouncing around on horses saying ‘I got breast implants and life is great!’
"And I just think ‘You’ll regret it!’ I wouldn’t advise anybody to get them.
"And once you’re desperate to get them out you basically get ‘Well you paid to have them put in, so you should pay to get them out.’
"That’s why I felt that I didn’t really want to go through the NHS because of that stigma attached to it. To be honest I think the NHS should only pay for explants in emergencies.
"I didn’t want to end up costing the NHS loads of money and I just hated them so much I wanted them out there and then.
"I probably saved them thousands. The nurses at the hospital even said that in A&E, trying to lighten the mood.
"Now they’re gone I just love it. I’ll be honest, they don’t look pretty…there’s a lot of saggy skin.
"But I would never have implants again. They were the worst mistake I ever made."
Plastic surgeon Dr Naveen Cavale, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said it was possible that previous surgery had affected the nerves at the bottom of Mrs Rossington’s breasts, preventing her from feeling pain.
But he said performing an explant at home was extremely dangerous, with a risk of hitting arteries, infection and excessive bleeding.
He added: "She has been amazingly lucky to get away with it."
A spokesman for NHS England said the policy on the removal of breast implants was determined by the relevant clinical commissioning group where the person is based.
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