- Emmanuelle Maria's breasts were burning and globules of silicone gel were protruding into her armpits. Her implants had exploded inside her. Yet her doctors, she says, told her nothing was wrong.
Now, she wants the French government to tell 30,000 women to get their implants removed - at state expense - to call attention to their risks and save others from potential pain and indignity.
Prompted by calls from implant-wearers and leading doctors, French health authorities are considering an unprecedented move: recommending mass surgery to rid the country of a type of breast implant that investigators say was secretly made with cheap industrial silicone whose medical dangers remain unclear.
Governments around Europe are hanging on France's decision tomorrow.
Tens of thousands more women in Britain, Italy, Spain and other European nations are walking around with the same pre-filled implants, made by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP.
Health officials from several European countries held a conference call yesterday to discuss the implants, Portugal's Director-General of Health, Dr. Francisco Jorge, said.
European Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent said no decisions were made, but France informed the others of the situation.
The main concern in France is the risk of rupture - more than 1,000 of the 30,000 such implants in France have burst, according to the French health safety agency AFSSAPS - and uncertainty over what risks the suspected industrial silicone gel could pose when it leaks inside the body.