Breast surgery claims fall neatly into two topics, those operations that are performed in order to cure disease, infection or illness and those that are performed to enhance the cosmetic appearance of the breasts. Of course it is possible to combine these operations and rarely is breast surgery performed for the curative purposes without some degree of thought to the reconstruction of the breast tissue or to the issues of cosmetic appearance following the event. In spite of what many solicitors may tell you, a claim can be made for damages for the negligence as well as contractual repayment / refunds.
Regardless of the reasons for surgery, the end result can have a devastating effect on the patient. Ultimately the individuals body image and their feelings of confidence and worth are often so closely intertwined that they cannot be separated.
In such circumstances the injury is rarely just physical and has emotional and often long lasting psychological effects.
Breast augmentation — sometimes refereed to as mammoplasty — is surgery to increase breast size or redefine breast shape. It involves placing breast implants underneath existing breast tissue. For many women, this augmentation is simply a method to achieve a degree of confidence in appearance. For others, it's part of rebuilding the breast after operations have been performed for various conditions.
There are of course risks associated with the procedure and here we list some (ignoring the risks that are present for all surgery), this list is far from exhaustive:
The Risks of Breast Augmentation
There is the risk of the scar tissue, distorting the shape of the breast or even the shape of the breast implant. This is generally referred to as "capsular contracture" and if it cannot be cured through manipulation (daily massage) it will require a further operation, usually to remove the implant and replace with a new implant that is wrapped in a "dermal matrix" which mimics the surrounding tissue and allows the capsule to move freely even if the scar tissue impinges on it.
Pain associated with either the scar tissue or with the strain on the breast tissue from adjusting to the implant.
Loss of sensation in the breast or in the nipple. This might be the result of the compression of small nerve fibers in the chest wall or the tissue of the breast. It might also be because the delicate nerve fibres within the breast have been damaged by surgery.
Implant Rupture / Implant Leakage - rare these days but occasionally still manifesting itself. All breast implants have an outer, silicone shell that can potentially develop a tear or hole usually referred to as a rupture. A saline implant also has a valve that can fail, which can then cause a leak. The risks of such leakage through damage are of course magnified by the duration that the implant has been in situ but there are instances of damage occurring during surgery that have gone unnoticed.
Nipple repositioning and imbalanced appearance. Generally with breast implants the results are favourable. The appearance of the breasts whilst initially effected by local inflammation from the procedure, settles down and the breasts appear symmetrical, however, this cannot be guaranteed. The process involves implants being placed beneath existing breast tissue, therefore, there is always some variation from the way the body reacts to this imposition. This variability can lead to the breasts being off symmetry and the nipples no longer being aligned. The results can be very disappointing.
Cancer - it is thankfully rare however, there is now an established link between those who have had breast implants and the development of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare cancer of the immune system.
Non Cosmetic Procedures
There is of course, always the danger of surgical error, infection, nerve damage and poor cosmetic outcome even if you have not opted for a cosmetic or plastic procedure. The reality is that non cosmetic procedures on the breast are still just as susceptible to negligence as cosmetic ones. The typical reasons for surgery are :
Removal of Cysts or Fibroadenomas
Bleeding, cracked, leaking / discharging nipples
Prophylactic removal of breasts
Removal of Cancer Infected tissue
There is an inevitable amount of statistical likelihood of surgical negligence in these operations as there are many thousands of such operations every day. It would be extraordinary if there was no associated problems. If you feel that you have suffered negligence through surgical error and you think you may have a claim then get in touch today with one of our solicitors for a completely free no obligation chat about your circumstances and what has gone wrong, we can advise you of the best route forward, wether that be a complaint, an investigaiton or a no win no fee claim.
The Only Way To Proceed
We know that many clients will try and take up the issue of the poor surgery direct with the surgeon, however, be aware:
the costs of refund and corrective surgery may only represent a small fraction of the costs of a cosmetic claim.
These clinics will know the true costs and you do not. In the heat of a dispute you may say something you wish you had not and you may lose your chance to claim.
Just seek professional help from the get go and know that you have taken the safest route.