'I Regretted My Plastic Surgery So Much, I Spent $8k To Reverse It'

I always tell my daughters that their value has nothing to do with how they look. They're all so beautiful, but their worth isn't defined by how pretty they are or the size of their breasts, that is not what makes a woman special or important.

But while growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, my own body image was very different. I was a teenager in the early 2000s, when being extremely skinny was the height of fashion. All the popular celebrities were super thin, it felt like if you weren't a size zero then you were overweight.

At high school, people would call me the ugly duckling, they said I was the least attractive of all my half-sisters. I was picked on for everything; I didn't have large breasts, my hair was too curly, I had too many freckles and my eyes were too green. I was still very conventionally pretty—I just wasn't blonde with big boobs and captain of the cheerleading team.

Most of the women in my family have larger breasts than me. We're all pretty petite, I'm 5' 6" and the tallest of my female relatives. At school I was never heavier than 120lbs.

Jodie DiFranco
Jodie DiFranco, 29, is a content creator from Cleveland, Ohio Jodie DiFranco

I knew my half-sisters must have inherited larger breasts from their dad's side of the family, but I always thought: "How come I don't have big boobs like my mom." Later I learned that she had implants, so they were never on the cards for me genetically.

I've always been a confident person, but I constantly felt like something was missing. During college I was in a bad relationship, where I lost a lot of weight. I was already small but shed an additional 15lbs, so my bra size became even smaller.

After I graduated in 2015, the size of my breasts was still bothering me, whenever I looked down at my chest I would think about all the mean things people had said to me about my body over the years.

By this time, the pendulum of beauty ideals had swung the other way and having curves had become popular; many women were having surgical fat transfers to change their bodies. Around the same time, one of my family members gave birth to her first baby and shortly afterwards, she decided to have breast implants. They looked amazing. I spoke with my family and friends about potentially having surgery.

While some of them thought I should wait until after I'd had kids, others were really supportive—so I decided to visit the same surgeon as my family member. In 2017, I paid $6,200 for breast implants.

The surgery itself involved a very small incision, only a couple of inches right below the bottom of my breasts. I was back at work the next week, but I was bruised and sore. And, I was really bloated; I looked nine months pregnant. It was insane. My surgeon did a great job, but from the beginning I felt they were too big. I had gone from a large B cup to a double D cup, which was a huge change.

Immediately after the implants, I began to receive so much more attention from men. People had always chatted or flirted with me before my surgery, but it got to a rather obnoxious level.

If I walked into a bar wearing a low cut top, it felt like the whole room stopped and turned around to stare. It was really weird. Women would stop me in the bathroom and say: "Oh my god, you have the best boobs I've ever seen!"

Jodie DiFranco
Jodie DiFranco in hospital after undergoing cosmetic surgery Jodie DiFranco

I was also uncomfortable no matter what I wore. If I chose a t-shirt I would look boxy, but tighter clothing looked very revealing. I felt like everyone was judging me based on whatever outfit I was wearing.

I then got married in 2019 and fell pregnant with my daughter that September. Up until that point I'd had no physical issues with the implants. But as you progress into pregnancy your body and hormones change. It affected my breasts a lot.

When you have implants, your body reacts to the foreign object which you've put inside it. When you have an organ transplant you are normally given anti-rejection drugs, but I didn't have any of those with my implants.

My body formed a kind of capsule of scar tissue around the implant to try and protect itself, but I developed stage four capsular contracture, which means the scar tissue tightens up and compresses the implant. So, instead of being squishy and feeling like a boob, my breasts were hard. Because the implant had compressed so tightly, it was giving me creases around the edges. If you fold a circle it starts to form a point, so the implants were actually starting to push through my skin. They felt like little buttons.

I had chronic neck pain and tension headaches, which were so bad I sometimes had to sleep for the whole day. I had back spasms, pinched nerves in my neck, fatigue and a low sex drive—all of which I believe were somehow related to my implants.

Jodie DiFranco
Jodie before undergoing an ultrasound in hospital in 2020 Jodie DiFranco

When I was breastfeeding my daughter I kept getting horrible mastitis. I was constantly burning up and in pain. Doctors had to check me for breast cancer because they didn't know what the lumps I had developed were, which was terrifying. I had just got married and had a baby, it was really tough.

From 2020 onwards, the issues continued to worsen; my breasts were so painful that I couldn't hold my child or have sex with my husband. Any pressure on them was excruciating and I knew I couldn't live like that any longer, so I started looking for ways to remove the implants.

I saw multiple doctors in different places, all of whom said my insurance wouldn't cover removing them. I saw regular physicians about my health issues and a physical therapist for my neck and my back pain, but nobody could do anything about getting it covered, because it was initially a cosmetic surgery.

All the consultations cost $50 to $100 each time, but the actual surgery to remove my implants was $8,400. When my doctor asked for a photograph of what I wanted them to look like, I showed him my old breasts.

At the end of May this year, my implants were finally removed. The operation was definitely worse than the first time, it's a much more serious procedure.

Jodie DiFranco
Jodie had her breast implants removed in May this year Jodie DiFranco

Afterwards I had stitches on both sides of my breasts and drains coming out of the corners. It was terribly uncomfortable and itchy, I was walking all hunched over like a little old man.

But despite the pain I was in, immediately after the operation I had so much more energy. I woke up feeling like I'd had the best sleep of my life. I felt amazing, like a weight was lifted. I could breathe better and my sex drive was back. I felt like myself again.

Recently, I went for a check up because I was having a few issues. It turns out I also need a nipple revision to cut out additional scar tissue and need to wait a full year for the surgery, so my breasts can completely heal. The cost is covered under my original removal procedure, but it means I'll have to deal with more scarring, more pain and more appointments. It's like a never ending process.

I am so happy I got rid of my implants, my health overall and mental attitude has changed dramatically since removing them. People made me feel like I was not good enough, I was not pretty enough because my value was based on my breast size and that's not true. That's not what life's about, your body has nothing to do with how beautiful or smart or wonderful you are.

Jodie DiFranco, 29, is a content creator who lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, daughter and two step daughters.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

As told to Monica Greep.