Website helping women pay for implants stirring up controversy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Website helping women pay for breast implants stirring up controversy

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A website designed to help women raise money for plastic surgery is growing in popularity, but what exactly is being shared online to attract attention to their cause is surprising.

Althea McCune is one of tens-of-thousands of women on a website called myfreeimplants.com, which is a social-networking site designed to help women raise money for breast augmentation surgery.

Mccune said she hopes the site will be her ticket to the surgery she says will complete her look.

"I'm pretty much happy with what I see. The few things I'm not happy with, I can go on a diet. Or I can exercise. Or I can do this -- do that. Put on a little makeup. There is no way to fix this through exercise and diet," McCune said pointing to her chest.

Women set up profiles on Myfreeimplants.com where they describe themselves, and post pictures to market  themselves to potential benefactors.

Contributors can purchase "message credits" to contact women on the site, who peak their interest, through private messages or video chat or they can make a straight donation.

Everytime a contributor sends a messages, the woman earns $1. Once the woman raises enough for the procedure, the company will directly pay the clinic.

Jason Grunstra of myfreeimplants.com, which is not based in Connecticut, explained that the site makes breast implants accessible to more people. 

"Cosmetic surgery in the United States is a $13 billion  a year industry, usually reserved for the wealthy or those willing to go into debt. Myfreeimplants was established in order to level the playing field," the company said in a statement to Eyewitness News. 

McCune said the site is "not like a dirty thing." 

"The same reason when I walk out of a store and I see Santa jingling a bell, I throw them my change," McCune said. "It makes you feel better."

The suggestive images of scantily clad women popping up all over the site sharply contrasting McCune's claims that contributors log-in out of the kindness of their heart.

Eyewitness News wanted an inside look, so two of our producers set up accounts to see what goes on. Some messages seemed tame enough, while other posts were sexually charged.

From offering naked pictures to suggestive messages, sex appeal seems to be what sells.

Grunstra said the site encourages women to "be sexy, not sexual" while interacting publicly on the site, but what members do in the private messaging is their business.

Eyewitness News talked to Marie Celotto, who is the practice administrator at Restifo Plastic Surgery in New Haven about the site

Celotto confirms that the clinic accepts funding from myfreeimplants.com

"Like what's difference if you're doing free implants.com or whatever you're doing, vs. 'hey, I have a boyfriend, he's going to pay for it,'" Celotto said.

Celotto said women have asked men pay for surgery long before the website was created, but understand why it's drawing attention.

"Maybe it's a little risque," Celotto said. "It's a little something, something."

Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon St. Francis Hospital, Dr. Leo Otake, said the relationship between a patient and their doctor is more important than the relationships between the patient and any contributors, especially when making decisions that could impact your health. 

"There's a perilous path in terms of, in terms of what the consequences can be as a result of that type of interaction," Otake said.

Otake said he stresses that patients should first be concerned if they are a good candidate for surgery and take the time to learn about any risks.

 

Otake said obesity hypertension and other underlying medical conditions "can increase the potential for complications"

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