People Staff
March 23, 1992 12:00 PM

Though many correspondents sympathized with Jenny Jones’s problems with her breast implants (PEOPLE, March 2), many also felt she brought some of them on herself. Several women described the psychological benefits of their own implants.


With great empathy I read about Jenny Jones and her breast-implant horror story. Everything she experienced, from the scar tissue to the red splotches, I experienced. I’ve had six different implants and five operations in 10 years, the last to remove the final set of implants and scar tissue. I salute Jenny’s courage for bringing this “embarrassing” issue to the surface. As I look in my daughter’s eyes as she grows older, I hope I can impart a sense of self-worth so she won’t feel she has to buy into society’s cockeyed view of what perfection in a woman is supposed to be.


While I sympathize with Jenny Jones for the pain and suffering she has endured, I must point out one very important thing: She admits that, to save money, she chose for her first plastic surgeon a doctor who was not board certified. That is like taking your prized Lamborghini to a shade-tree mechanic for a valve job.


Jenny Jones was a victim of emotional incest, not small breasts. Any father who makes the kind of comments hers did is a sexual abuser. For her a psychiatrist would have been cheaper, less painful and more beneficial than a plastic surgeon.


At the completion of my reconstructive surgery in September 1984, I felt normal for the first time since my modified radical mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. I would never presume to tell another woman what to do with her body, and it would be wonderful if doomsayers like Jenny Jones had the same respect for others. Adult women should be capable of making informed decisions and then being responsible for those decisions.


I am sick and tired of celebrities who jump on the breast-implant-bashing bandwagon. The fact is, most implant patients are pleased with their surgical results. A recent national survey revealed that in excess of 92 percent were satisfied postoperatively. Even after intense and obviously biased scrutiny, the FDA advisory panel admitted that there is no conclusive relationship between silicone breast implants and the development of cancer or autoimmune disorders. Not to downplay Jones’s problems, since significant complications can occur in a small percentage of patients undergoing any surgical procedure. The key is to obtain a thorough description of the procedure and its risks and alternatives preoperatively.

WILLIAM SHUFFETT, M.D., Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery Costa Mesa, Calif.

I am sorry that Jenny Jones’s father was a “breast man” and that growing up in the “Jayne Mansfield era” contributed to her overconsciousness about her small breast size. But what about little girls, teenagers and women right now in the ’90s? They don’t need a dad to remind them about the importance of big breasts. From a children’s cartoon character, Jessica Rabbit, parading around with massive breasts, to standing in line at the grocery-store checkout counter, they are bombarded with magazine covers showing women with overflowing breasts bursting out of seductive outfits. This role modeling tells them that a woman needs big breasts to be attractive, sexy and successful. Perhaps the next generation will confront such insanity through boycotts—which in the long run would be a lot more productive and less painful than implants.



If six teenagers in a town of 1,421 are HIV-positive, how in the world is Dona Spence the only one to know about it? Coming from a small town myself, I know that if someone’s aunt’s boyfriend’s sister’s dog has puppies, it’s practically on the newspaper’s front page the next day. It’s virtually impossible to keep anything under wraps. Spence’s whole story sounds incredibly farfetched to me.

SUSAN LINTNER, Rensselaer, Ind.


Your article on model Niki Taylor (Jan. 22) states that “she became the youngest model ever to glean the ultimate plum, a cosmetic contract—in her case a two-year deal….” In fact she is not the youngest. In 1968, a spectacular beauty emerged with a hefty contract from Yardley—Patsy Sullivan, 12½ at the time, who, fortified by an adult deportment, figure and allure, graced the company’s products, advertising and displays the world over. She was also a cover girl for many magazines, including Glamour. Incidentally, Patsy was the third Yardley girl. Her predecessors were Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy.


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