breast implant
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 22, 2024 ·  7 min read

‘I died for a minute’: Celebrities Share Their Breast Implant and Plastic Surgery Horror Stories

Plastic surgery is commonplace in Hollywood. After all, celebrities’ appearances are put under a microscope and they feel pressured to look young and beautiful at all times. This pressure isn’t only for celebrities, however; many people go under the knife to improve their looks. Despite the growing popularity of procedures like breast implants, it should not be a decision to be taken lightly. There are potential risks and complications — and no guaranteed results. 

The Popularity and Risks of Breast Implants

In 2020, there were about 252,022 cases of breast augmentations in the United States. It was the second top aesthetic surgery, after liposuction with 296,601 cases. Keep in mind, there were also 86,255 cases of removing breast implants. Remember, plastic surgery is an industry that profits from people feeling insecure about themselves. It racked up about $2,525,670,219 in breast procedures alone in just one year. [1]

Despite the popularity of breast implants, it comes with risks that people should know about before they consider the procedure themselves. Some complications may require additional treatment or surgeries. First of all, it’s important to note that breast implants are not considered “lifetime devices”. The longer someone has them, the higher the chance complications will develop. Therefore, people often have to have additional surgeries to remove the implant and sometimes replace it. [2]

Complications of breast implants include:

  • Scarring
  • Infections, including Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • Nerve damage to the nipples
  • Inability to breastfeed
  • Implant leakage, causing small lumps
  • Hardening of the breast tissue
  • Creases or folds in the implant
  • Implant displacement or rotation
  • Dissatisfactions with the results
  • Breast pain
  • Hematoma
  • Inflammation/irritation [3]

Another complication of note is breast implant illness (BII). This can occur after any type of breast implant. Symptoms can include joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, brain fog, breathing issues, skin problems, dry mouth, dry eyes, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues. Researchers don’t know why some women develop an immune reaction to breast implants, but in many cases, removing the implants improves or resolves the symptoms. For now, more research is required to better understand this illness. [3]

Celebrities Who Opened Up About Cosmetic Surgery

Crystal Hefner

Crystal Hefner

Playboy model Crystal Hefner became an advocate against breast implants in 2016 due to her own harrowing experience. In a post titled “My Breast Implants Slowly Poisoned Me,” she explains that she began to experience a long list of symptoms, including low immunity, intolerances to foods, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, and stunted hair growth. These symptoms started years ago very mildly. She tried to ignore them, but they became more debilitating. She went from always working and exercising to having no energy for them. 

I’ve had days in 2016 when I couldn’t get out of bed,” she wrote. “I’ve felt such despair knowing life was happening all around me but I couldn’t participate.”

She got diagnosed with Lyme disease and toxic mold by her holistic doctor. But when she posted about her symptoms on social media, people began to comment about breast implant illness. Hefner did some digging and found that her symptoms matched others with this illness. So she got her implants removed. 

Instantly I noticed my neck and shoulder pain was gone and I could breathe much better. I know I won’t feel 100% overnight. My implants took 8 years to make me this sick, so I know it will take time to feel better. I also have other illnesses to address, but with the toxic bags removed, my immune system can focus on what it needs to.[4]

Heidi Montag

Heidi Montag

Montag had her F-sized breast implants removed in 2014. “I couldn’t conceptualize the weight of them in my body,” she said. “They felt like bowling balls on my chest. I felt inappropriate. Guys would stare at me really creepily and felt they had the right to because I had such big boobs.” 

Additionally, her doctor informed her that her breasts “were falling through the bottom, and I got scared. It’s super dangerous. They can fall through to your belly button!” 

Montag has had multiple procedures, but one nearly cost her life. Her heart stopped for a minute, but fortunately, she was able to recover. “Cutting yourself up isn’t something I’d recommend…[5]

She opened up about the experience, informing Paper Magazine in 2018 that she nearly lost her life in surgery.

“I died for a minute. With that much surgery, I had to have 24-hour nurse care and Spencer (Pratt) didn’t want to leave my side. I was at a recovery center and had Demerol to deal with the pain because it was so extreme. My security guards called Spencer and told him, ‘Heidi’s heart stopped. She’s not going to make it.’ And I easily could’ve (died). Cutting yourself up isn’t something I’d recommend…” [5]

Yolanda Hadid

Yolanda Hadid with husband

The former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star suffered from Lyme disease, which led her to remove her breast implants and fillers. One of the implants had ruptured and leak silicone into her chest cavity, worsening her Lyme disease symptoms. 

“The minute I got on the show (‘RHOBH’), I got sick. I’ve never worked on that show with a normal brain,” she said in 2017. “I was always struggling and always trying to hold on, and keep my job.”

Adrienne Bailon

Adrienne Bailon

The Real” co-host explained that she got her implants at a young age. “When I was 19 years old I actually did get breast implants, probably one of my greatest regrets,” Bailon said in 2014. “I went from having an insecurity that I didn’t have big breasts to now looking like a porn star. And I was like ‘Uh, this is not great.’

She got the implants before her work on “Cheetah Girls 2” but got them removed later on. “It was not the smartest decision for my career and just for myself,” she said. “It was wanting to feel like a woman.”

Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

The Little House on the Prairie alumna opened up in a blog post titled “A Tale of Two Titties.” There, she announced she was having her breast implants removed. “A. I am concerned for my health and 2. I don’t like the way they look or feel,” she explained in the post. “Frankly, I’d like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I’ll end up with two black eyes.”

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen

On Instagram in May 2020, Teigen announced her surgery to remove her breast implants. She explained that her implants “have been great” but she wants to feel more comfortable in her own body. In fact, she had gotten the augmentation when she was 20. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen)

You can’t set these expectations for people that everything is perfect,” Chrissy said. “Everyone filters their sh*t, edits, or Facetunes so you forget what normal faces or bodies look like. It’s not fair and it makes you jealous of other people’s bodies. It’s lying to people by omission. But also, while you want to teach your kids to be comfortable in their own skin, you want to tell them everything you can and let them decide.[6]

Feeling Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Above all, cosmetic surgery is a personal decision but it should always be an informed one. Everyone wants to feel attractive but it’s impossible to escape the unattainable beauty standard pushed by the media. But remember that the “beauty ideal” differs from time period to area of the globe. In reality, beauty is subjective and there’s no type of beauty that will appeal to everyone. So try to drown out the barrage of manipulated photos of “ideal bodies” and focus on what makes you feel good in your own skin.

How our culture defines beauty makes it impossible to keep up with. Women are overly sexualized. I know from the worst kind of experience,” Crystal Hefner wrote in an Instagram post after an almost fatal fat transfer surgery on October 16. “To this day I need to write reminders of why I’m worthy that have nothing to do with my physical appearance to convince myself that I’m enough

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Crystal Hefner (@crystalhefner)

Remember, looking beautiful and feeling beautiful are not unanimous. More often than not, the people we think look perfect are actually extremely insecure. Fitting the “beauty ideal” will not instantly make you feel good about yourself. You only get one body in your life, so learn how to love it instead of constantly beating it down.

Keep Reading: Backlash over ‘true love’s kiss’ in Disney’s New Snow White ride due to ‘lack of consent’


  1. “Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics 2020.” The Aesthetic Society.
  2. “What are the risks of breast implant surgery?Medical News Today. Bethany Cadman. April 25, 2018
  3. “Risks and Complications of Breast Implants.” FDA
  4. “Crystal Hefner Shares The Health Problems Breast Implants Can Pose.Forbes. Bruce Y. Lee. July 24, 2016
  5. ‘I died for a minute’: Crystal Hefner, Heidi Montag, more share plastic surgery horror stories.USA Today. January 30, 2021
  6. “35 Celebs Who’ve Opened Up About Regretting Cosmetic Surgery.” Women’s Health Mag. Georgia Davis. June 8, 2020