Vanessa Halstead, who played a cocktail waitress as an extra in Coronation Street, got implants to help boost her glamour modelling career. But she was shocked when her right DD breast suddenly started expanding eight years after breast enlargement surgery.
Soon she was struggling to move, and after having an ultrasound she discovered her breast implant had ruptured.
She has now launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign, Justice 4 PIP Victims, calling for tighter regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry to prevent similar scandals.
Miss Halstead is also providing a much-needed support network for thousands of other women with PIP implants who are living in fear, giving them advice on how to get implants removed and replaced.
'I went for a spray tan one day and noticed my right breast was really swollen and almost the size of my head,' said the 29-year-old from Burnley, Lancashire.
'The next day I set off for a jog and the pain was unbearable. It grew steadily worse and by the end of the week I couldn’t lift my arm and was struggling to move about.'
Miss Halstead, who now runs a promotions business, had implants to boost her from a B or C cup to a DD eight years ago.
She decided to have the operation to improve her figure because competitive swimming had left her looking very broad. The surgery was so successful that after she began a new career as a glamour and underwear model.
On her website, Miss Halstead writes: 'At the time I had no idea my implants were PIP – or of the trauma that lay ahead. A trauma that has been shared by thousands of women since news of the scandal broke.'
She began noticing problems with her implants last October and had an ultrasound three weeks later after visiting her GP.
The scans showed her breast had ruptured but she received no support from the clinic in Manchester which had originally done the surgery.
'When they were fitted, I was led to believe that my implants were covered for 10 years but after the rupture was diagnosed at Burnley General Hospital I was told that the company that put them in had gone into administration and also my notes had been lost,' she said.
'The new company offered to remove the ruptured implant for free but they wouldn’t replace it.
'It was really traumatic, I didn’t want to have to pay for the operation again and I didn’t want to be left with saggy skin after the implants were removed.
'I had also gone up a lot of sizes and I was conscious I would look very different without the implants.'
Eventually she decided to have private treatment to remove and replace the implants, which she had done last week.
She is now using her Facebook site to guide other women through this process and provide them with much needed support.
The Justice 4 PIP Victims campaign is also calling for women to be compensated for the trauma of ruptured implants and the distress of having to have them replaced.
Miss Halstead wants the NHS to remove implants and provide free replacements to prevent women suffering from depression and self-image problems.
|The blue bowl on the right shows Miss Halstead's implant which was still in one piece. On the left is the exploded implant|