North Texas

Local Woman Fights Health Insurance for Breast Implant Removal

A North Texas woman is leading the charge in getting help for others who believe breast implants are making them sick.

Lutitia Featherston of Cedar Hill says her implants caused symptoms most doctors couldn't explain and her health insurance refused to cover the costs of removing them but she fought back and won.

Featherston says at one point, she relied on all of these medications to feel as normal as possible.

"Basically, lots of upper respiratory issues, GI issues, feeling tired all the time, low libido, having issues of just being able to function normal, on an everyday basis like a normal person," said Featherston.

She says no doctor could explain her symptoms so she started doing her own research and found hundreds of women online complaining of the same symptoms possibly related to their breast implants.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Breast Implant Illness is a term used by women who have breast implants and who self-identify and describe a variety of symptoms including (but not limited to) fatigue, chest pain, hair loss, headaches, chills, photo-sensitivity, chronic pain, rash, body odor, anxiety, brain fog, sleep disturbance, depression, neurological issues and hormonal issues that they feel are directly connected to their saline or silicone, textured or smooth breast implants.

Featherston says she decided her implants were the culprit of her symptoms and planned to have them removed.

"If I had to pay $7,000 and up, which is what the costs were that I'm seeing from different plastic surgeons, I need to figure out a way to get that paid for," said Featherston. She filed a health insurance claim and it was denied.

Most health insurance policies will only cover breast implant removals if it's medically necessary, according to the National Center for Health Research.

Breast Implant Illness isn't recognized as a diagnosable condition.

"The whole thing didn't seem fair," Featherston said. "I had already lost over $30,000 in pay over the last three years because of not being able to go to work, to the point to where I was basically debilitated, I couldn't even move on some days!"

Featherston appealed three times, backing up her claims with notes from doctors, pictures and medical bills. On her fourth attempt, she says she was shocked and relieved that her claim was approved.

She had her explant surgery and says immediately felt better, but what she didn't expect was the hundreds of women who've reached for help and guidance navigating their own insurance claims.

"It's not a cosmetic procedure," she said. "It's the opposite. We aren't going into look pretty. We are doing in to get them taken out and be healthier."

Because of the large response she received, Featherston has started an Instagram and Youtube account, detailing exactly her journey and the steps she took to get her health insurance to cover the claim.

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