Many South Florida women who traveled outside the U.S. for breast augmentation may have potentially faulty implants made in France.
As many as 400,000 women in 65 countries may have faulty implants made by a Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP, a French company that was once the worlds third largest manufacturer of breast implants.
"When the company started to have financial troubles a few years ago, the principals cut corners with there product," said Dr. Jorge Perez, a Fort Lauderdale plastic surgeon.
According to a French regulatory agency, the company used industrial grade silicone in their implants and encased them in a shell that was more susceptible to rupture.
"So when you combine a broken shell and a poor quality of silicone inside, that predisposes you to significant problems," said Perez.
Perez said the implants were widely sold in Latin America, where many women from South Florida go for plastic surgery.
"Countries such as Mexico, Columbia, and Venezuela purchased the PIP implants in large numbers and the reason is because they tended to be less expensive," said Perez.
When Mariana Finol went to Venezuela for surgery in 2009, she never questioned the quality of the implants.
"This was one of the best plastic surgeons in Caracas and I trusted that he was getting good implants," she said.
When she heard about the implant problems, she became concerned.
"One day, I saw a friend of mine who sees that doctor and asked her if he used them and she said, 'Yes, I've had friends who've changed the implants,'" said Finol.
Though she dreaded the physical and financial cost of going through surgery again, Finol said there was no question she was going to have her implants replaced.
"I heard they can leak and that's too dangerous," she said.
The French government has advised 30,000 women in that country to have the PIP implants removed and several other countries have issued similar alerts.
The former principals of the company are facing civil and criminal charges.