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Danielle Staub Had Breast Implants Removed; Says They Were “The Biggest Mistake I’ve Ever Made In My Life”

Danielle Staub has her breast implants removed on Friday, October 25. It was her fifth breast surgery overall for the Real Housewives of New Jersey star and Staub hopes it will be her last. “I regret getting them in the first place, 100 percent. The biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life,” she told PEOPLE. “Nobody wants to look that way anymore. I haven’t wanted it for decades.”

“Do you know what it feels like to be stuck with a device in your body and look a way you don’t want to look?” she asks. “Mentally, I felt like I was trapped. I didn’t have a choice, I had to heal and couldn’t change it right away. And I hated them; hated the way they looked, hated the way people looked at me with them. I feel so relieved to have them out and to enter this new chapter of my life.”

Staub reveals the reason she decided to remove her DD breast implants was mainly due to health reasons. The last implants she had — the ones she had put in right before season 2 started filming in 2009 — had led to various health problems.

“I had asked for a C when I went down, and I woke up with a DD,” Staub says. “And nothing felt right. My breasts, they immediately felt cold and numb. I literally had no body temperature on my chest for years. They felt impacted, I felt ripples underneath them. And my skin was so thin around my breasts, you could see through it. It was like a couple of pieces of paper. I did not enjoy them at all.”

“I thought it was normal, I thought everybody had that,” Staub adds. “And it wasn’t until I met Dr. Stephen Greenberg until I learned that wasn’t.”

Dr. Greenberg, who spoke about Staub’s procedure — with her persimmon, says when he gave Staub a sonogram the night before the surgery, it was clear to him that the surgery was long overdue.

“I’ve been working 25 years. I’ve seen everything, done everything, and corrected everything from others. And Danielle had a mess,” Dr. Greenberg told PEOPLE. “She had a lot of scar tissue in there, deformed breasts, and one of her implants was ruptured, which caused a lot of pain. We had to take out all the old silicone, clean out everything — the scar tissue — and really reform her breasts. It just required starting from scratch.”

The in-office procedure took about an hour, and recovery only a few days. In the place of Staub’s larger implants, Dr. Greenberg put in new silicone gummy bear implants. “These are a different type of silicone from the old fashioned ones,” he says. “They don’t ooze or leak.”

Staub says she had “a blind trust” with Dr. Greenberg “automatically” upon meeting him, and even allowed him to choose the replacement size implant.

“The way they treated me, I felt like family,” Staub said. “Other doctors, when I talked to them, they yes’ed me to death. Dr. Greenberg? He was very honest with me about what he could and could not do. My whole intention was not to have to put another implant in, but sometimes it’s irreparable. I don’t have any tissue left, so there’s nothing else to do. So we went from removing them for my health purposes, to having to put something in, and I trusted him when I was under for him to give me as small as possible.”

Dr. Greenberg chose a size B. “You have to listen to the patient and then you can determine what fits best for them,” he says. “I do many many interviews with my patients. Danielle wanted a very natural look, so I knew that’s what would fit her best.”

Meanwhile, Staub was thrilled with the results. “I had tears in my eyes,” she says, of seeing herself for the first time. “I had so many years of complications and so many years of people overshooting what they would deliver. I’m so, so happy.”

Staub first breast implants surgery happened in 1992. “They were saline. They looked like I was entering the room long before — my boobs entered before me,” Staub recalls. “It felt like my boobs were sagging, they were like water balloons. I hated them, even though that was probably the best of all the surgeries until now.”

The next two surgeries, which were back-to-back, came 10 years later — after one of her implants popped. Her doctor had mistakenly left gauze inside her chest, which resulted in a staph infection. Staub had to undergo another procedure. “I was at risk of losing my breasts,” she told PEOPLE.

Then came the DD implants, which she calls “a disaster from the start” was during her season of RHONJ. “I was under much scrutiny on RHONJ at the time and it was a very embarrassing for me because everyone was saying things about my body and my boobs,” she says. “If you remember, they were ignorantly saying that I had a ‘square t–‘ on the show, mocking me. And I’m not certain anyone understands what that does to someone’s self esteem. I felt shame and ridicule. It was vicious and cruel, to make fun of another woman and body shame her like that.”

The mother-of-two takes responsibility for her past body choices. “I blame myself for getting my implants in the first place,” she says. “I could have said no. I was fully capable of saying no, but I didn’t.”

The Bravo reality star reveals she's glad all worked out in the end — especially working with Dr. Greenberg. “The universe kind of brought everything together to me,” Staub says. “It feels great.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images