Solicitor and Managing Partner
There are many different factors that can lead to breast surgery not going as expected or promised. The aesthetic may not be quite right, such as the breasts not matching or being asymmetrical. The patient may contract an infection during or post-surgery. Complications such as necrosis of the nipples and prominent scarring can cause pain and embarrassment.
When these and other issues are caused directly by a surgical error, this is considered breast surgery negligence. Below we outline why this can happen, the consequences it has on those affected, and what you need to know to claim for the compensation and answers you deserve.
There are several reasons someone may seek to have breast surgery:
A breast reduction is where excess breast fat, skin and tissue is removed to construct smaller breasts.
This may be a purely cosmetic decision, or might be undertaken to remedy another ailment or condition:
Someone may want to enlarge their breasts, using either breast implants or fat transfer, usually with the goal of improving their appearance. There are two types of implant used in the UK – silicone and saline.
A plastic surgeon may perform a breast reconstruction if someone underwent a single or bilateral mastectomy. This will often happen when someone has undergone surgery for breast cancer in order to rebuild the shape and look of the breast.
A mastectomy is surgery to remove breast tissue either partly or entirely. In the majority of cases this is done to treat breast cancer, removing cancerous cells before they can metastasize and spread to other organs and parts of the body.
A person’s breast may be disfigured or deformed in a variety of ways:
Scarring of the area following open heart surgery
Development of non-cancerous lumps
Breasts being asymmetrical or different sizes
Breasts appearing more tubular or triangular than round
Problems with the sternum
All surgeries, whether for medical or cosmetic reasons, carry a degree of risk. There is no guarantee of a successful outcome in all circumstances, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and other healthcare professionals involved.
However, sometimes complications before, during and following surgery are the direct result of a healthcare professional’s negligence. If this happens to you, you may have grounds to claim for compensation.
If a surgeon does not offer a realistic view of what a procedure can and cannot achieve, or does not make you fully aware of the risks associated, this could be viewed as negligent treatment.
Poor surgical technique can lead to an outcome that you did not want or expect, such as undersized or oversized breasts, lopsided breasts or excessive scarring.
Accidentally cutting or overstretching a nerve or blood vessel may have unwanted consequences if not addressed quickly. This could range from a loss of sensitivity in the nipples to necrosis.
Open surgical wounds and cuts can provide entry points for bacteria and viruses, making infection a potential risk following breast surgery.
Any damage caused to breast implants during surgery could cause them to rupture post-surgery. Particularly with silicone implants, this can pose a risk to your long-term health.
An anaesthetist may use too much anaesthetic during a surgery, placing your health in jeopardy, or too little, which could result in anaesthesia awareness.
An unreasonable standard of aftercare following breast surgery, such as not massaging scar tissue, can cause unwanted outcomes and discomfort.
The consequences of an unsatisfactory breast surgery can affect someone physically, emotionally and financially, ranging from issues with the final aesthetic to long-term health problems:
The outcome following breast surgery may be disappointing and not as agreed upon with the cosmetic or plastic surgeon prior to the surgery:
Breasts are not the expected size or shape
Breasts are asymmetrical
Breasts are uneven or lopsided
Breasts are disfigured
Further surgery may be required to correct these issues and achieve a desired result, which can often be more complicated than the original surgery, adding to the expense and risk.
While scarring is an inevitability following any surgery, an extensive amount or scar tissue can negatively impact the final aesthetic.
When scar tissue around an implant in one or both breasts shrinks too much, this can squeeze the implant and cause the skin to harden around it, leading to ongoing pain and discomfort.
As with all surgeries, it is possible to contract infections in open wounds made during a procedure, which can have major repercussions on your short and long-term health.
If one or both breast implants rupture after only a few months, it could be a sign that an augmentation was performed negligently.
If an implant ruptures, this can lead to silicone escaping into the muscles under the breast, armpit, arm nerves and lymph nodes, which may lead to autoimmune problems, blood clots and other issues.
Excessive bleeding caused during surgery can lead to a haematoma, and a further operation may be required to stop the bleeding or prevent pressure from causing necrosis.
It is completely understandable to feel angry, sad and disappointed if your breast surgery did not go as expected – particularly if you had undergone the procedure in hopes of overcoming body image problems.
This emotional distress can spiral into psychological damage, including:
Phobias relating to body image and going outside
As qualified and specialised medical negligence solicitors with over 20 years experience, we are experts at handling breast surgery claim cases.
Our credentials and established reputation mean that hospitals and trusts are willing to work with us, and often recommend us, to seek fair outcomes for claimants to receive the compensation they deserve.
Trust us with your compensation claim and contact us today to see how we can help you.
During any surgical complication claim, we work to establish three key elements:
A healthcare professional breached their duty of care towards you
You suffered pain, injury, loss or damage during your treatment
The harm you endured was directly related to the breach of duty
As part of our investigations into your claim, we engage with independent, impartial cosmetic surgeons and/or plastic surgeons. Their insight helps us to establish whether the care you received was negligent, and if you had been given realistic expectations.
We will also speak to relevant experts on how much your circumstances changed compared to if your surgery had gone as expected. This is crucial in quantifying a fitting amount of compensation.
In addition, we thoroughly investigate all available evidence to support your claim, including:
It is impossible to quantify an average settlement amount for a breast surgery claim, due to the breadth of outcomes that can occur and this impacts someone now and going forward.
To see an example of breast surgery compensation claim we supported and the result we achieved for our client, read our case study on Miss H, who received an unsatisfactory result when she underwent plastic surgery to reduce the size of her breasts:
If Miss H had suffered a more permanent injury as a result of the negligence such as nerve damage leading to partial paralysis, it is likely her settlement would have been larger.
The compensation awarded following a successful breast surgery claim can help towards numerous costs, including:
Paying for another private surgeon to correct the problem caused
Damages for any pain and suffering caused to the claimant
Financial losses incurred due to the fallout of the surgery, such as loss of earnings for additional time off work
Any aids and equipment the claimant requires due to their injuries
Any adaptations to the claimant’s home or vehicle
Any therapies or psychological treatments the claimant requires as a result of their trauma
We would typically expect a breast surgery negligence claim to take anywhere between two and five years to reach final settlement. However, every case is unique, and the duration will largely depend on the stance taken by the defendants and how long it takes to gather evidence from impartial medical experts.
As specialist cosmetic surgery claims solicitors, we have the experience, connections and medical understanding to ensure your claim is conducted as efficiently as possible. We feel passionately about pursuing a claim as quickly as possible to ensure you achieve the right outcome.
Like other forms of medical negligence claim, a breast surgery claim will typically need to be made within three years of the injury being realised. However, there are exceptions (which include but are not limited to):
Claimants under the age of 18 have until their 21st birthday to make a claim
There is no time limit for a claimant who is mentally incapacitated
If your injury did occur over three years ago, we would still encourage you to contact us. It is at the Court’s discretion which claims are allowed to proceed regardless of time limitations, and we can advise you on whether your claim is likely to be accepted.
At Gadsby Wicks, our solicitors specialise solely in medical negligence, and we have the experience and expertise to advise your breast surgery claim from start to finish.
It costs nothing to start your claim – simply complete our online form or contact us directly. We will be in touch to gather your details, and you will be allocated one solicitor to guide your claim from start to finish should we agree to take on your case.
We have supported claims in Essex and East Anglia for close to 30 years
You can fund your claims on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis – you do not pay us anything unless you win your case, and you pay nothing as your claim progresses
96% of our cases settle without going to court
We were the first law firm in England to have two or more solicitors recognised as accredited clinical negligence specialists by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
Four of our specialist solicitors are further accredited by The Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme
If you or a loved one have suffered physically, emotionally or financially due to negligent care before, during or following breast surgery, we are passionate about ensuring you achieve the compensation you deserve. Speak to us today and secure your right to justice.
If you or a loved one have experienced breast surgery problems caused by negligence and would like to speak to someone about your options, our team is here to listen and advise you on your next steps.