Venezuelan women are "so desperate" to undergo breast implant surgery that they are "turning to devices that are the wrong size or made in China, with less rigorous quality standards," The Associated Press reports. AP notes that while Venezuela once had implants that were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, currency controls have prohibited many local businesses from importing foreign goods, including breast implants.
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates that 85,000 breast implant surgeries were performed in Venezuela last year. But even though thousands of Venezuelans may be affected by the shortage, "no one is giving the frustrated women much sympathy, especially not the government," AP reports. And the shortage is affecting more than those women awaiting their first surgery — some women, like Lisette Arroyo, have waited months to replace ruptured implants, enduring pain while waiting for the new procedure.
"This country is not what it used to be," Arroyo told AP.